Kerala reform panel suggests switch to internal evaluation for colleges, universities

Kerala Higher Education: Panel suggestions include a uniform grading system, at least 40% weightage to internal assessments, timely declaration of university, college exam results.

Kerala reform panel suggests switch to internal evaluation for colleges, universities Kerala Higher Education Reform Commission proposes an eventual shift to internal examinations (source: Shutterstock)
Atul Krishna | Aug 30, 2022 - 4:32 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The Kerala Higher Education Reform Commission on exam reforms has suggested a “gradual changeover” to an internal evaluation model for more efficient evaluation in universities. It also said in its interim report that degrees should be awarded and made digitally available within 30 days of result declaration.

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Among other recommendations, the commission proposed a uniform grading system in universities, unique student identification (USID) for each student, and separate examinations for persons with disabilities.

The commission noted that examination processes in universities are “hindered by the large number of external examinations conducted in a year”. The panel also noted that evaluation procedures adopted by universities are “complex and unscientific”.

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“Even though efforts to implement Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based support systems in the conduct of examinations have been initiated by the universities, lack of complete re-engineering and scientific restructuring of the processes involved has resulted in software-supported operating modules that fail to deliver the expected objectives of automation - precision, speed and transparency,” the commission said.

It also said that the improper design of the current evaluation system is getting in the way of implementation of outcome-based education (OBE) in Kerala universities. Proposing a shift to internal evaluation from the existing centralised model, the commission notes: “evaluation is successful only if the evaluation of a student is conducted by the teachers who interact with the student over the course period”.

With this shift, the universities will only be responsible for curriculum and awarding degrees.

Kerala Colleges: Uniform grading pattern

The commission recommends that all universities follow a uniform grading pattern. A 10-point scale as suggested by the University Grants Commission (UGC) can be adopted and used also for PhD course work.

The commission recommends increasing the weightage of internal components to at least 40 percent in evaluation for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Most universities now follow an internal to external examination ratio of 20:80, the report said.

The commission suggests written tests for half the internal components and adopting three different assessment tools for the remaining half, leaving the departments and board of studies to decide which three.

It also recommends that internal assessment results be published at least two weeks before the end-semester examination starts.

The commission recommends that the duration of end-semester examinations be decided by the credit component of the courses. For instance, courses with four credits or more shall have three-hour exams; three-credit courses, 2 hours 30 minutes; two-credit courses will have two-hour exams; and one-credit courses, 1 hour 30 minutes.

Practical and project work will be evaluated on a daily basis and these will count toward the 40% weight to internal evaluation. The remaining 65% marks will be awarded by an external examiner.

There shall be no minimum passing requirement for internal assessment. The commission also recommends that universities stop awarding marks for attendance.

Kerala Higher Education: For disabled students

The commission also proposed exploring the possibility of using assistive technologies for disabled students taking exams. These can include material in Braille, computer and voice recorders.

The report says that universities should ensure “minimum assistive technology and other infrastructure” including a ground-floor examination hall. It even recommends that universities explore the possibility of conducting separate exams and adopting separate evaluation methods for this group.

Kerala Colleges: Results, marksheets, complaints

The commission also emphasises on completing evaluations on time. It recommends that printed marksheets, including provisional degree certificates, should be made available within 15 days of publication of results and degree certificates within 30 days.

The commission proposes to introduce on-screen evaluation for speedy results.

“In such cases high speed scanner systems may be deployed in all examination centres. Alternatively, Universities may also consider mechanisms to scan the papers by students themselves from the examination hall using mobile phones. The security and technology aspects for implementing these technologies must be worked out. If needed, Barcodes or QR codes may be implemented for more efficient management of answers scripts,” it said in the report.

The commission said that it has observed “unprecedented delay” in the completion of the thesis evaluation process in most universities, with this delay going up to more than 12 months in some cases. It proposes that a time of three months be introduced by all universities for thesis evaluation.

It also proposes that universities implement a mechanism to periodically audit the process of examinations every two years.

According to the commission’s recommendations, students applying for revaluation will get a digital copy of their answer sheets if the student wishes to subject it for further revaluation.

The commission also proposed implementing a three-tier grievance mechanism – at the college, department and university levels – for concerns regarding examinations and evaluation.


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