Ramjas Teachers To DU: No Online Examinations, Mark On Internal Assessments And Previous Semesters
Ramjas’ Department of Statistics has suggested an alternative mode of evaluation which they say is based on recently-released UGC guidelines.
The teachers of the Department of Statistics, Ramjas College, have written to the head of University of Delhi’s statistics department, dean of examinations and the principal, expressing their concerns regarding holding the final examinations online. They have suggested an alternative mode of evaluation.
Citing two circulars sent by the university on May 13 and May 18 regarding conduct of online theory examinations for the third year students of the university and online evaluation of practical papers of all students, the faculty members have highlighted the issues in conducting such examinations in online mode.
Issues With Online Examinations - Theory
The DU teachers are worried that “this kind of hurriedly held online examination” may lead to an unfair process of evaluation, which may have serious repercussions for the students in future.
Since the exams are conducted remotely, it can't be ensured whether each student has answered the paper themselves and “chances are high that students may not honestly provide the answers”. This mode of examination will give undue advantage to students who have better access to e-resources and internet facilities.
Conducting examinations in online mode does not serve the purpose of examination, which is to test the knowledge and skills acquired through a continuous teaching learning process.
The teachers feel that online classes can “never” substitute classroom teaching, especially considering that the current courses of Delhi University are essentially designed for classroom teaching. They feel that the students will have difficulty gaining the same level of learning and understanding in online classes as compared to physical classroom teaching. This is especially true for the highly technical syllabus of the undergraduate honours programme in Statistics -- BSc (H) Statistics. This kind of technical content is very difficult to teach and comprehend in online mode of instructions, teachers have said.
The teachers say, “In such a situation, rushing into the decision of conducting online examinations without wider deliberations with the stakeholders can only accentuate the existing problems.”
Issues With Online Examinations - Practical
Besides not being technically-feasible, the problem with conducting online practical examinations is that the practical papers are computer-based and require expensive software packages like SPSS, R and C++. The students owning a personal laptop or computer at home would not have these software packages.
Also, since the classes were suspended mid semester due to lockdown, the syllabus of many practicals have not even been completed.
The online examinations require uninterrupted internet connections, or even electricity supply and this cannot be ensured, especially for students who are currently in their home towns and villages.
Pleading that the Delhi University must “provide an equal opportunity for all students to access a fair, friendly and inclusive teaching, learning and evaluation process,” the teachers have requested the university to reconsider their decision regarding online examinations.
Instead, the teachers have suggested another mode of evaluation in place of online examinations which they say “are along the lines of the recommendations in the UGC guidelines on examinations in view of COVID-19 pandemic issued in April 2020 (refer pages 5-6, point no. 5)”.
Alternative Mode Of Evaluation
The teachers have suggested that 75 percent of the end semester marks should be taken as the average of total marks obtained in all previous semesters.
For students of final semester, the teachers have suggested “No paper specific marks to be allotted”. Instead, the overall marks can be allotted wherein the sum of internal assessment (IA) of all papers of the current semester will be given 25 percent weightage of the total marks and the average of total marks obtained in all preceding semesters be allotted 75 percent of the total marks. The final year students can be given an option of “improvement exams” to improve their percentage in the final semester, whenever it is feasible for the university to conduct offline examinations.
The students of other semesters should be promoted to the next year. The same formula, as explained above for grading final year students, can be used in marking them or the university can wait till it reopens to conduct offline examination.
They say that the “essential repeat and ex-student cases can be deliberated upon and decided in consultation with the stakeholders of the university.”
The teachers have appealed to the university to consider their concerns about online examinations and the suggested alternative mode of evaluation.