DU In Chaos: Over 400 Fail In Semester Exam, Is The Evaluation Process To Blame?

Posted on July 3, 2015 in Campus Watch, Education

By Prerna Grewal:

Semester results have often played with the expectations of many students. Our own predictions are hardly ever in sync with the actual scores. The surprises might be pleasant or otherwise, but the recent error in DU semester results is more of a shock. NDTV reports that at least 410 students of Delhi University colleges have failed in the Sociology examination triggering protests.

DU protest
Picture used for representational purpose only

Many of the 4th and 6th semester students of Delhi University have received an ER (Essential Reappear) in their respective interdisciplinary courses. The range is as diverse as 12 students receiving an ER in Principles of Economics in Ramjas College to an entire class (with the exception of three barely passing) receiving ER in Sociology in Shivaji college. Similar cases have also been reported from colleges like Rajdhani and Kalindi. The consequences of what most likely seems to be an error, could be worse for the final (6th) semester students.

In accordance with the rules of the current semester system of Delhi University, a student can reappear for an exam only in the next alternate semester. For the final semester students, therefore, this implies the loss of one year. Neither can they pursue post-graduation nor apply for a job. And it’s all the more frustrating when the fault isn’t one’s own, but a probable error by the university itself.

This isn’t the only time when students have suffered due to the negligence on part of the University. Many people in the past have lost out on an entire year as the university provides no provision for an immediate or relatively faster chance to reappear. In the case of revaluation too, the problem persists for those who intend to go for post-graduation. The admission process is faster than the arrival of results.

For many, the time after graduation can be stressful and characterized by uncertainty as it’s the time when they strive to seek admission for further studies or look for a job.  It is a phase of transition from three carefree years to another major step in the outside world. If this anxiety is compounded by such errors on the part of the university, it can be very troubling for the students.

In January 2014, the University Express published a post with some examples. Consider the following cases.

• Anvita Mathur, who was then a 2nd year, B.Sc(H) Instrumentation from Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences said, “In my course, from 45 students, 28 have an essential repeat in analog electronics, and almost all of them have been failed by 1 or 2 marks. Since most of them agreed that their performance did not warrant these marks, they have applied to the university for revaluation”.

• Another course and college where a similar issue occurred was Institute of Home Economics where out of 24, 15 got an essential repeat in two subjects in which they asserted that their examination never went that bad.

• Two students of B.A. Programme in DCAC did not get their result for their Economics paper. “N/A” was mentioned in the marks column for the paper.

• Vrinda Pal, who was then a 2nd year B.Com(Hons.) student from Shivaji College informed how she had been marked ‘fail’ in her corporate law paper from the first year, in which she had actually passed. Further, upon checking with her old marksheet, she realized that there was an error in her marks in Financial Accounting from the 1st semester too.

These cases cited above show how lack of efficiency by the administration can prove to be detrimental for the students. What is disappointing is the constancy of this inefficiency. As a masters student, I have also at times been warned by my professors to always tally the internal marks published online. This shows how constancy in errors has led people to anyway expect some discrepancy.

Over the years, there have also been cases where Professors have had to check answers on topics they are obviously familiar with but haven’t been in touch with recently. In such cases, it is worth considering how justified one’s marks are. This proves to be especially crucial in the case of subjective papers with detailed answers.
Delhi University therefore needs to come up with certain alterations in their evaluation process. First of all, professors should be given only those topics for evaluation which they have been dealing with while teaching and have therefore been in touch. Secondly, there should be a fast track system for final semester students which allows immediate reattempts and revaluation. Finally, measures should be taken to ensure efficiency of the administrative department. Given the current scenario, the discrepancy between anticipation and actuality in case of mark sheets is not a surprise.

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