Whether to align with the self-painted image of a good child who didn’t cheat in exams or to go with the flow of OBEs is the dilemma of integrity that grips us all as we move towards another installment of Open Book Examinations.
Remember that nasty kid from school who wouldn’t cheat in exams? The one who swore by the big word – “ETHICS” – and chose to be on honesty’s side always, trying to be the good kid, currently wondering what are they doing in the age of OBEs?
Being the same kind of student, OBE doesn’t come as an easy task for me. Even after being mocked in school for obstructing all the fun, cheating was never an option in my approach. However, with the onset of the new virtual mode of learning, what does one do when the education system itself calls for this practice? How do you silence the roar of ethics and validity when across the university there is a stream of OBE that flows indifferently; one that has surrendered thinking about the learning needs of its students.
Open Book Examinations: the name itself calls for books being opened during exams. Even if we try to dodge the questions of their efficiency, how does one deal with the questions of self-integrity? A simple reply to such a dilemma may be to give exams in the way it was conducted conventionally. But the unknown secret of OBE is that no one knows how to ace it, and that’s why it should be handled the way its name goes – with an open book. In some instances, long answers seem to work, whereas, in others, just the bare minimum does the task. But that’s not all, then come in those students who often pre-write their answers and manage to submit 12 sheets for a single answer itself. When learning is pushed off the cliff, the banal competitiveness increases.
During the course of the year, colleges even went ahead with awarding the best-performing students who aced a decent GPA. Was it a sarcastic step to mock students who prided on getting good grades in OBE, or an effort to approve of this mockery of education? We would never know if it’s either, or none, but one can surely guess for themselves.
Since childhood, we have been taught notions such as ‘good children are those who perform well in exams.’ However, the past understanding of how we perceive exams has gotten dismantled. Being a second-year student who hasn’t yet appeared in a single examination in the truest sense of the word, feeling doubtful of my capabilities is the single consistent feeling that invades my mind.
Our education system, which has always tested students on their ability to score well in exams, was already skewed to the core. But to add to it, we had the fate of being what is called ‘the Covid batch’. Now we are left hanging by a thread, at the end of which dangles a degree; a certification that is only nominal in its essence. And what of learning? Nothing belongs to it from our end.
The guilt of OBE is, therefore, something that engulfs me and my notes app these days as I upload all the readings on a drive to copy-paste from them in the upcoming examinations, while wondering about what I actually learned during my year in this highly reputed university.
Feature Image Source: Augustin Zwiller