Digital evaluation set to bring in transparency in examination systems

digital-evaluation-rep-reuters Representational Image | Reuters

We keep hearing about flaws in evaluation, re-evaluation requests across the country across different school and college examination boards. This is an area that is much talked about, but as far as addressing such evaluation issues is concerned, not much has happened. Off late, digital evaluation is expected to usher in a change in the overall examination system in the country as students are bound to benefit from the transparency it offers.

Bengaluru-based firm, Merit Trac has been working in this field and has tied up with many universities and boards to work towards bringing in digitisation in the evaluation system. Though digitisation of multiple choice examinations has been practised for quite sometime, it is being extended even to descriptive exams as well.

“Digitisation of evaluation for both entrance and term exams is called 'Onscreen Marking' and is beneficial to students as well as the University,” explained Gopal Devanahalli, CEO of Merit Trac and senior vice president at Manipal Global Education. “It improves the speed of the declaration of the results as answer scripts can be evaluated online by evaluators as they do not need to be physically sent to the locations where evaluators are present. It also reduces errors in marking as technology identifies any discrepancies (scoring a question for more than the total possible etc.) The university is also able to monitor the quality of the evaluation better. Also, requests for re-totaling, re-evaluation etc can be addressed very quickly.”

Under the onscreen marking system, the answer scripts are first scanned within the institution’s premise and then a secure transfer of electronic scripts to the data centre takes place. Marking software hosted at the data centre is used and the scripts are made available to evaluators through the Internet in a secure mode. Interestingly, the evaluator then evaluates the answer scripts on screen and marked scripts are then converted to PDF form with annotations with supervisor controls through workflow. The result is published followed by instant readiness for subsequent evaluations when needed. Currently, Merit Trac is working with the Mumbai University, Manipal University and the Kerala Technical University to digitise their evaluation process.

Prof. Vrishali Bhat, controller of examinations at the T.A. Pai Management Institute in Manipal, is of the view that even in the traditional classroom mode of learning, digitisation of evaluation can offer multiple tangible benefits.

“The entire examination can be conducted in an asynchronous manner bridging the physical gap between the institute, faculty and the student. This also allows innovation in both the kind of questions asked as well as the nature of responses that can be elicited from the students. The results can be conveyed quickly and there can be easy preservation of records from a regulatory stand. This also lends itself to mining of the results which in turn can provide greater insights in designing more effective teaching learning environment,” Bhat told THE WEEK.

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