Exam Season

DU Mulls Over ‘Open Book’ Semester Examination

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As the Delhi University mulls over the best method to conduct semester examinations, we are seeing new suggestions every day. The latest one being Open Text Book Assessment or OTBA.

According to The New Indian Express, the Delhi University is considering conducting an ‘open book’ examination for the final semester. These recommendations were made by the working group committee for examinations following a meeting on 8th May.

The examinations have been a talking point for students, particularly third year students, as well as teachers. Preceding this several other suggestions have also popped up be it online examinations, delaying of the examinations, use of internal examination to cancelling of the semester exams altogether.

This model of tests just like the previous ones had been exposed to criticisms and counter criticisms. “It is not a very good idea, Open book exams are meant not only to test the conceptual understanding of the students but also their ability to apply these concepts in real life situations. They are best suited in disciplines that require testing based on direct reference to written materials. Students are evaluated on the basis of understanding rather than memorisation,” said Pankaj Garg, mathematics professor and INTEC convener.

According to the teachers, neither students nor teachers are trained for such exams. “Clause 3 of UGC guidelines clearly says the university can conduct semester exams as per ordinances, rules and regulations. There is no provision of open book online exams in the ordinances. The Academic Council (AC) meeting should be held to discuss and take decisions on the UGC guidelines,” said Ratnesh Rajan Saxena, an AC member.

Previously the proposal of conducting online examinations had met with heavy criticism. Many students as well as teachers argued that neither students, to a great extent, nor the university has any infrastructure to conduct an online examination of over one lakh students.

Abhinandan Kaul, a student of St. Stephen’s College, says, “The idea of open book tests is good one since it would imply evaluating students on their understanding and analytical skills rather than their memorisation abilities. However, it isn’t an idea that can possibly be implemented in context of our university. Since neither our teachers nor have we been trained for such examinations. Further there are other major obstacles too like the lack of internet facilities or books with students.”

The university has to come up with a concrete plan instead of an array of infeasible suggestions as soon as possible. As because of these examinations future careers of many students are at stake.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat

Aniket Singh Chauhan

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Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.

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