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Issues in Examination system in India UPSC NOTE

 Critical issues in India's examination system at both school and university levels

  • Every examination season, the media reports scandals that engulf some universities or even school boards

  • The credibility of the examination system is linked to the standard of the certificates that the examination/school boards issue. 

  • The lack of credibility of the examination system in educational institutions affects educational standards because learning is conditioned by the proposed examination system. 

  • Teaching and learning should prepare a student to face any type of examination

  • On the contrary, if the examination pattern is known, say by testing mostly memory, then teaching will ensure that students only prepare for rote memory. 

  • This is the general pattern. 

  • Further, inflation of marks and achieving a very high pass percentage are the key objectives of the education administration. 

  • Consequently, the talent search cost for employers rises. 

  • A credible examination system is one of the key ways to improve the standard of education.

Decentralization Challenges

  • With more than 1,100 universities, 50,000 affiliated colleges including 700 autonomous colleges and a total enrolment of 40.15 million students.

  • India has numerous higher education examination systems with diversified modes of assessment. 

  • There are also 60 school boards for secondary and higher secondary levels of school education,

  • Certifying more than 15 million students every year

  • Secrecy and standardisation are considered to be the hallmarks of good examination boards. 

Decentralised system

  • In India , 1,100 universities, 50,000 affiliated colleges including 700 autonomous colleges and a total enrolment of 40.15 million students.

  • India has numerous higher education examination systems with diversified modes of assessment.

  • There are also 60 school boards for secondary and higher secondary levels of school education, certifying more than 15 million students every year. 

  • Secrecy and standardisation are considered to be the hallmarks of good examination boards.

  • Secrecy without proper checks and balances and audits leads to scandals

  • Standardisation through uniformity in examination kills experimentation in assessment and curriculum. 

  • Rather, the credibility of assessment and standard of education can be ensured only through transparency in teaching and assessment.

  • In educational institutions, the summative examination is to test and certify a student’s learning

  • Its validity over time and its comparability across institutions are meaningless today. 

  • This inconsistency of the examination system is cause for concern.

  • An examination is supposed to have tested certain scholastic abilities, from memory to application and creation of knowledge and critical thinking.

  • There are complaints that the examination boards test only memory. 

  • So, teachers in turn coach students to memorise answers and score marks rather than teach them higher order thinking.

  • There are many instances where we come across question papers that have grave flaws such as language errors, errors in conceptualisation, irrelevant questions and questions that do not test higher order learning. 

  • The evaluation of answer scripts is indiscriminate, and the grades do not reflect the differences in students’ learning achievements. 

  • The employability of a graduate depends on higher order learning, while examination boards do not certify students on those skills.. 

  • Our institutional examinations fail in this.

  • Employers disregard institutional certification and have their own rigorous assessment of a candidate’s academic achievements and suitability for employment. 

  • This in turn has created a coaching market for competitive examinations and skilling.

Solutions and Recommendations

  • If minimum standards of learning outcomes are specified, there are numerous ways to achieve them. 

  • Academics in every branch of knowledge write on curriculum design, pedagogy and assessment systems. 

  • Research in teaching of subjects in both schools and colleges is vibrant

  • There are subject specific and skill specific assessment processes. 

  • Continuous assessment through the course leaves the entire assessment process in the hands of the teacher. 

  • Though this system is often riddled with subjective and lenient assessment, proper documentation and real time oversight with participative process of students’ assessment of teachers should make it better

  • Summative assessment and evaluation should also be made transparent, with checks and balances.

  • The use of technology in assessment enhances credibility

  • The setting of question papers can be standardised in terms of academic content, and evaluation can be standardised with checks and balances

  • The market provides a variety of software solutions to every aspect of assessment, for both centralised and distributed systems of assessments.

  • All sorts of negligence, fraud and academic inadequacies and other quality issues should be codified, and corrective measures/punishment also should be linked to such codes.

  • Transparency in accessing the evaluation process by students and measures to address their grievances should be in place.

  • An external audit of assessment systems in universities and school boards is essential. 

  • Such audit reports should cover all the processes based on established principles and benchmarks set by educationists to ensure reliability and consistency of examination systems

  • Grading examination boards in terms of transparency, reliability and consistency should be a part of audit reports. 

  • Such audit reports should be released soon after the completion of every major cycle of examinations, say as half-yearly reports.

  • We expect university degrees and school board certificates to reflect the learning achievements of students, and examination boards should assess students comprehensively.

  • Grades should distinguish students by their academic attainments

  • While the confidentiality of the process and consistency in grading with uniform standards are desired features of examination systems, the real features are transparency in process and credibility by adhering to at least minimum acceptable standards.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Issues in Examination system in India UPSC NOTE
Issues in Examination system in India UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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