Open Book Examinations (OBEs) answers run into over 50-page scripts with uniform handwriting creating concern among the professors of the University of Delhi (DU)
The University of Delhi conducted its Open Book Examinations (OBE) which commenced on 30th November 2021. However, many teachers while going through the answer scripts reported frauds, cheating and trickeries.
Sandhya Sharma, an associate professor and history teacher at Vivekananda College, was baffled while evaluating 70 answer scripts of the university as she noticed that unlike earlier wherein examinees used 32 pages to write their answers, now they were using and submitting 50-60 pages of answer scripts. Moreover, earlier students used to get tired and hence their handwriting worsened after two answers but now most students were submitting 12-15 pages for a single answer with uniform and similar handwriting.
This is clear cut fraud. To give an example, the students write the full rubric instead of answering the points raised by the question. It is clear that the students have access to an answer, they have assignments prepared and only scan and upload them as answers in the OBE.Sandhya Sharma to TOI
A Philosophy teacher at the university, Vijay Kumar Bilyan while recalled his last evaluation assignment and expressed how long the answer scripts were, which was not really believable as being written in the prescribed hours. He expressed to have received answer scripts with almost 22-23 pages for one answer and almost 90 pages for the whole paper. This OBE system which was introduced post the COVID-19 outbreak gave students 4 hours to write and upload their answer sheets. In this time period, many teachers of the university raised concerns over the length of the answers submitted, similar content and uniform handwriting.
Even with numericals, 98% of the answers are copied from the same source and have identical sentences, same solutions, even with the same mistakes. Despite this, as evaluators we are forced to give good marks to everyone.A Commerce teacher to TOI
Other teachers had also commented and questioned if this examination system is just and fair for assessment and performance.
OBE in its current avatar is a colossal waste of human energy. So many people across the university are investing their time and effort in administering an exam that tests nothing.Nidhi Bhandari, English teacher to TOI
Many teachers want the university to have a meeting with stakeholders and frame new guidelines and regulations to avoid such frauds in the examinations. Thus they have been enforcing that the teachers must be able to assess and decide the criteria of awarding marks as the existing system clearly defies the purpose of testing one’s knowledge and capabilities. On the same lines, teachers argued on the fact that class X and XII students were called in an offline setting for their exams, so even the university students can be called for the same.
Using between 15 and 27 pages for one answer and 70-100 pages in total, the evaluators of the university are contemplating whether OBE is a viable method to assess and mark the performance of the students. Though DU has asked messaging app Telegram to block groups that were helping students during OBE, yet many issues have been faced post that. An official responding to these concerns did acknowledge and say the university will look into the matter stated by teachers.
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