Wednesday, June 14, 2017

RTI query reveals shortcomings in evaluation at Anna varsity

The Hindu: Chennai: Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
With the Anna University having released exam results on Friday, thousands of students are likely to apply for revaluation and review, bringing crores of Rupees in revenue to the university’s coffers.
A response to a Right to Information (RTI) query by a former student of the university has revealed that the institution received as many as 18,13,600 answer scripts for revaluation and review over eight semesters between November 2012 and April 2016.
Over this period, the university received payments adding up to ₹71.62 crore for carrying out revaluation and ₹6.87 crore for review.
Students have long been complaining about the evaluation standards at the university as they end up spending a fortune on photocopies, revaluation and then review. This has been a cause of concern for students and parents alike, as a good academic track record is essential for a good placement. The university allows students to get a photocopy of their answer sheets before applying for revaluation. According to the RTI reply, the Anna University has earned a revenue of ₹54.13 crore from photocopies in the same period.
Karthi Natarajan, a graduate of the Anna University's constituent college in Panruti, said that in his RTI query, he had sought access to details about the amount spent on revaluation department-wise, which was denied. A senior professor at the university said that about 40% of students who take the exams would seek revaluation. And of those who seek revaluation, the RTI reply reveals that about 60% end up securing higher marks.
According to university officials, there is a 5-10% chance of error in evaluation, given the large volume of students.“Each teacher corrects as many as 30 papers in three hours. An examiner spends around eight hours a day correcting papers,” an official said.
University officials admit that there could be lapses in the way the papers are evaluated, and that it could lead to rare instances of students receiving very high or very low marks during revaluation.
“Around 1.5 lakh students take the exams each year. Each student would be appearing for eight subjects, barring arrears,” said the Controller of Examinations, G.V. Uma. If the difference between the original score and the revaluation score exceeds 15 marks, the paper is sent for another round of evaluation. “The highest mark is awarded to the candidate,” explained a professor. “Theoretically, we should take action against erring teachers, but we do not go that far as the students are our primary concern,” said a professor.
The answer sheets of students of affiliated colleges, which form the largest chunk, are evaluated by a pool of professors from the affiliated colleges. Anna University professors only evaluate the papers of students of the university’s departments.
Unsatisfied with the revaluation, as many as 19,793 candidates applied for review during the period covered by the RTI reply. A candidate can apply for review only after revaluation. Even after review, 5-10% of the students are dissatisfied, and seek further review, officials said.