<![CDATA[While the news of students scoring 99 per cent in the first semester result of Economics left the student community baffled and teachers appalled, DU Beat went to the so far faceless students who scored the near-perfect marks and asked them how it felt for them. Here is what they had to say...
Shreysi Mehndiratta, who has scored 98%, stood second in SRCC. “I was just not expecting these marks. Although the exams went well, no one expects to get in 90s, not in Economic Honours at least.” She added, “I can’t really say if DU is doing this just to prove that the semester system is any good because I’m not sure if the result has been the same for all the courses.” On asking her how she changed her mind from engineering to Economic (Honours) even after having science without Economics in school, she said, “I always had an interest in the subject (Economics) and I got the marks to get into the best college for the course.”
Rachit Dua, one of the students who scored 99%, is studying in SRCC. When asked about the result he said, “I was expecting somewhere around 95%, but definitely not a 99%. The paper’s difficulty level was quite normal. It wasn’t very difficult and it wasn’t even easy.” On asking whether he thinks it has been done to vindicate the efficacy of the semester system, he said, “Well, It can be. You never know.”
Gaganpreet Kaur Chadha of SRCC who also scored 99% said, “I was expecting somewhere around 85% as that is the highest anyone expects in Economic Honours, from what I’ve heard. The 99% was quite a surprise really.” When asked further about the unusual result she said, “I think the checking must have been very lenient as there are so many who have scored well. And the papers were also quite easy. So I too feel that this has been done by DU in order to show that changing to the semester system was the right thing to do.”
Milan Bindal of Hindu College is the third top scorer. She said, “Was I expecting this result? No! In previous years, the top scores had gone up to 90. I was aiming for a 92. My only objective was to secure first rank in the University. To be honest, the result is a little shocking. Although I do think students have been rewarded this time for their efforts; moderating doesn’t mean you deduct marks that students deserve in the first place. There was tremendous pressure on us from day 1 and I think that has helped our result. I couldn’t get through SRCC by one mark and I’m glad I joined Hindu College. The faculty has done a great job in giving us a lot of extra time apart from the college hours. The exams were easy and I don’t think we’’ll have such scores in the coming semesters. Also social networks like Facebook don’t fascinate me and I guess that helps me remain focussed. I want to do my majors from London School of Economics.”
<![CDATA[When Delhi University decided to ditch the existing annual system for the internationally accepted semesters, it was depressingly oblivious to the revolution it had sparked or at any rate, to the sheer magnitude of it. The University did claim that adopting the semester system would bring it closer to international colleges but it couldn't possibly have known that only one semester in, DU would instead, be competing with CBSE. One can forgive CBSE for feeling insecure given that its monopoly over numbers-dangerously-within-kissing-distance of the cent percent has been torn to shreds. While it takes the premier board for secondary education a year to churn out its ninety something prodigies, DU has managed three such crops in half that time.
Believe this; as many as three Economics Honours students have scored a mortally depressing 99 per cent in the first semester examination. Certain professors did not believe the reports that emphatically proclaimed the same by the respective dailies they pursue and patiently waited for a note in the Errors and Omissions section, and when none came promptly filed an RTI for investigation into the whole affair. Nor can one blame them.
Meanwhile the University which had had to deal with numerous protests against the semester system was quick to attribute this anomaly to the success of the semester approach. Unfortunately this theory has few takers. Besides, Economics is considered to be the most trying of courses in the University where only six months ago students struggled to cross the 85 per cent barrier. Given this, a mere change in the scheduling of teaching and examination can hardly explain the astronomical jump.
Neither would one find the answer in the Darwinian Theory of Evolution. The theory does state that organisms evolve overtime to better deal with their environment but the same theory categorically rules out such adaptations overnight. To conclude, evolutionary theory would explain why a hundred or so years from now, all and sundry might secure a 90 per cent but in this case, the theory falls flat.
This brings us back to the University. The University obviously has the capacity to induce such a jump and the motive too. It needed something to redeem itself and support its decision to implement the semester system. Thus many people are of the opinion that the University itself has engineered the fiasco. If such is the case, the University must surely be cursing itself. Is it totally oblivious to the first and the most important law followed by all cheaters the world over, to wit, ‘never get a ninety’?
It is very clear why the University cannot make a habit of playing a Santa for its students. Colleges the world over follow a certain calibration of marks and if all of a sudden students start scoring 99 per cent regularly; that calibration may not apply to DU. LSE for example admits students scoring above 70 per cent. I cannot see the college continuing to do the same for DU unless the current crop of first years proves to be full of raving geniuses, our University scores might lose all their credibility.
<![CDATA[The news of three students securing 99 per cent marks in the Economics (Honours) course in DU, which left students in varying degrees of awe and disbelief, is now being approached in a probing manner by the University’s teachers. Professors from colleges including SRCC, Miranda House and St Stephens are now considering filing RTI applications to review the answer sheets of students who obtained the highest scores.
Apprehension within the teaching community is not limited to students getting near-perfect scores, but also whether the students getting high scores are meritorious enough. "It’s not just about the 99 per cent alone. Though that is fantastic enough, we are seeing students getting marks in the 80s and 90s, the same students who did not show this kind of potential in the classroom”, said Ms Nandini Dutta, an Economics teacher at Miranda House.
She added, "But, of course, we have nothing against the students. We will be the first ones to be proud when we see such results. However, it seems a tad unlikely for an honours course". Maximum marks for first year BA(H) Economics students have not exceeded the 90% mark in the last two years.
Ms Dutta further went on to exclaim that it was reported that only 3 students had obtained perfect score (75/75) in Statistics after the evaluation of the answer sheets. However, the University-issued results have more than 160 students achieving the perfect score. Statistics is one of the subjects in the BA(H) Economics first semester course. The teacher put forward the hypothesis that this could be explained by the University’s practice of ‘moderating’ papers, that is giving grace marks to students to make them pass or if they fall short of first division by two or three marks.
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She said the reason the teachers are filing the RTIs is to ask the University if this practice is now being used to boost students’ scores like this. “What we need now is to ask the VC what is happening, what is leading to such a scenario today”, she stated.