practical exams


According to officials, Delhi University has declared that students who do not pass their practical exams will be mandated to attend additional classes. Such students will need to retake their classes for a complete semester before they can be deemed to have passed, the University announced.

The University of Delhi has made it mandatory for students who fail their practical exams to attend additional classes, according to officials. Students will have to retake their classes for an entire semester before they can be declared passed. This decision came into effect in the academic session of 2022–2023 after the University adopted the new continuous evaluation scheme in 2020.

“The practical examination requires continuous evaluation and hence calls for students to attend continuous classes.” – Delhi University official

To give greater importance to continuous evaluation and tutorials, the University has updated its assessment structure for undergraduate students. Under the new assessment system, the internal assessment ratio has been modified to 30:70, and the theoretical examination ratio has been modified to 45:55. The activities conducted under this approach will be evaluated for 30 marks for continuous assessment and 10 marks for internal assessment.

For continuous evaluation, a student must have at least 66 percent attendance. If a student fails the practical exam or does not meet the required attendance, they will need to take admission again to appear for the classes and pass the course. The previous system allowed failing students to register as ‘ex-students’ to reappear for the exams. However, the new system requires students to attend classes and pass the practical exams to move forward.

The University has, therefore, decided that students who fail the practical exam need to retake their classes for one semester to pass. Additionally, those who fail practical exams through continuous evaluation will only be eligible for readmission to retake that practical examination.

An example cited by officials was of an M.Sc. student who was unable to attend a class for a particular subject due to illness but still took the exam. The student’s mark sheet would show an ‘Essential Repeat’ in the practical section. However, a practical examination cannot be cleared without attending regular laboratory classes.

“Consider an M.Sc. student who couldn’t attend his classes for a particular subject because he fell ill but still took the examination. His mark sheet would show ER (Essential repeat) in the practical section.” – Delhi University official

Thus, the University has made it clear that students who fail their practical exams under the new assessment structure will have to reappear for additional lab classes. The new assessment scheme places greater emphasis on continuous evaluation and tutorials, with modifications made to the internal and theoretical examination ratios.

Read also: Fearful of Failing Language Exams, First Year Students Reapply for CUET

Featured image credits: DU Beat Archives

Aryan Vats
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Practical classes are supposed to help the students relate to and execute the matter they acquired while reading theory in textbooks. This helps in attaching an additional dimension of reality to the theoretical fraction of studies. Other than just helping the students acquire the knowledge better, the drill of practicals should be able to invoke interest in the students’ mind. The practical classes’ help students get intimated with the application of the subject, to experience it in real-time. Understanding of a subject cannot always be expanded within the four walls of a classroom. Theoretical knowledge is of no use unless it is tried and tested in the field. Hence, practicals aim to ensure complete impartation of knowledge in a wholesome manner. 

However, in the contemporary times, the methodology of conducting practical classes is redundant. The rigorous method of conducting these non-theory classes is stealing the charm of the practice. Overloading the students with numerous experiments within a semester’s time frame adds to the burden of the curriculum. Students do not put much effort to understand the experiment, but just focus on updating the practical files and getting it verified by the supervisor. Students get reeled in the process, sometimes without gaining as much as an ounce of the practical knowledge. This renders the whole system of ‘learning by doing’ monotonous.  

Sometimes there is inconsistency and lag between the theoretical knowledge and experiment in the students’ mind. There are instances when a student is absolutely clueless about the experiment and the governing principle underlying it. Performing an experiment without the knowledge of the basics and background makes it counterproductive. It is crucial to have a solid understanding of concepts before attempting an experiment.

In a lot of government funded institutes spread across the country, labs are not well equipped to perform an experiment meticulously. Apparatus and gadgets do not work precisely. This creates a major hurdle in performing the experiment. 

There are labs which are being maintained and supervised by under-skilled lab technicians. They fail to guide the students properly which creates a lot of chaos and confusion.

Due to the synergistic impact of the above-mentioned factors, practical exams are a major headache for the students concerned. They have only increasingly become rigorous and problematic. The practical exams are progressively becoming like theory exams with no restricted real elements. They have not been imparting knowledge; rather these practicals are overburdening students. Practical exams should provide respite from the monotonous lectures; however, status quo reflects a different story. These exams should be designed in a way that inculcates teamwork among students. The University should see that experiments promote self-learning and students essentially gain from such an exercise.

Feature Image Credits: Daily Bouncer

Sandeep Samal

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