Examinations, that were meant to assess students’ learning abilities, has over time become a tool to decide their future. As its importance has grown, it has giving rise to many ills, corrupting the very examination process itself, thereby threatening the education system.
The news of leaked question papers, error-filled assessments and miscalculations have been doing the rounds for some time now. With the exam season approaching, such unpleasant news have again made headlines with the CBSE question paper and the SSC exam paper leaks. The growing unrest could escalate into outrage among people around the country. Besides these two major paper leaks, there have been instances of board examination question paper leaks from other parts of the country as well. Corruption is unfortunately rampant in India across industries; however, the question paper leaks, wrong assessments and delays in result declaration only create havoc in the lives of students. Boards and universities take many precautionary measures to secure the examination process to ensure a transparent and authentic system for students. But, in most cases, as witnessed earlier, these steps fail to provide a fool-proof security for the process and ends up slowing the education cycle.
Of late, the education system has witnessed massive transformations in terms of tools and techniques used, and platforms of delivery. A research was conducted to find the impact of technology in education which showed that about 68% of the examination bodies being keen to leverage technology to increase transparency of the system since 75% of the students believed in the same.
The technology of ‘Just In Time’ question papers has made a remarkable change in the examination landscape. In this, the question papers are set in association with schools. However, no one, not even the principal knows what questions the final paper contains. The Controller of Examination receives a one-time password just 15 mins before the exam starts, to print the required number of question papers, and the papers are then printed in a room under CCTV surveillance. Hence, there's no room for question paper leaks through this system.
On-Screen Marking (OSM) or digital evolution is another such technology that can help in scientific assessment through online marking and correction where the answer scripts are scanned and are marked on the basis of the methods used in the answer. This process also rules out the possibilities of miscalculations since the copies are corrected page-by-page and each individual page is marked before moving to the next one. The chances of missing out on giving marks or overlooking answers are avoided with this technology. OSM brings in efficiency, transparency and improves the quality of evaluation, thereby avoiding any delays in declaring results.
A university or board has to take the responsibility of providing adequate security to the examination process so that the students don’t have to go through the pain of delays and cancelled exams. With the evolution of technology, the possibilities of leaking question papers and chances of wrong assessments have also increased, wherein evidence of students leaking questions over WhatsApp forwards and Facebook posts can be seen. Technology alone can curb these problems and secure examination from the ever-rising vulnerabilities.
Adopting these technologies will not only curb the chances of wrong assessments and paper leaks, but will also help the institutes; universities and boards build a reputation among the competitions. Also, this will help the institutes retain student’s trust in the system.
(Mr Gopal Devanahalli is the CEO of MeritTrac. Views expressed are personal)