Hemali Chhapia-Shah TNN
Mumbai: One of about every four Mumbai University students who applied for revaluation in 2012 and early-2013 went on to clear the exam, raising serious doubts on the quality of assessment. RTI data reveals that in 2012, 14,586 of the total 68,653 candidates who applied for revaluation were declared to have passed. Similarly, in the first half of 2013, of the 43,256 students who applied for revaluation, 10,509 cleared the exam.
The situation was similar even for basic totaling of marks. In 2012, of the 912 who applied for re-totalling, 546 (close to 60%) passed. In 2013, of the 525 who demanded that their marks be counted again, 286 cleared the exam (see table).
“Exams are critical for students and it is important for the university to appoint evaluators who realize that they need to take utmost care while assessing every paper. These scores determine the rest of their life__ which college they can enroll into for higher studies or the career they can take up, or the organization they can join,” said RTI activist Vihar Durve, who obtained the data.
However, candidates who apply for revaluation include those who failed in the initial assessment and want to clear the exam and those who feel they deserve a better score. “While separate data for both kinds of candidates is not currently available, experience shows that almost 75% apply to clear the exam,” said a former controller of examinations.
RTI data points to the aggregate numbers across semesters and disciplines, but a former dean said a large portion of the problem lay with the technology stream. If data is analysed closely, he said, one would notice that the success rate of students in applied mathematics and mechanics for firstsemester engineering students will be close to 1%. “However, after the revaluation result, the pass percentage mysteriously shoots up to about 90%,” he added.
University officials said the problem is also pronounced for programmes like BMS, BMM and engineering, most of them being offered at private institutes, which do not have qualified full-time faculty members.
“Many of the new unaided courses do not have qualified examiners. Often, we have noticed that assessors don’t even follow the answer key that is provided. The problem is extensive in engineering, followed by commerce courses,” said another dean.