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There were also instances of answer sheets in which students were not awarded marks but totalling was done. | Representational image: iStock

Karnataka | After exam row, evaluation anomalies add to students' woes

Schools have lodged a host of complaints, including improper evaluation, interchange of answer sheets, some pages not being evaluated, and totalling errors

There seems to be no end in sight to the uncertainty and confusion surrounding the board examination of classes 5, 8 and 9 in Karnataka as complaints of anomalies in evaluation work have started surfacing now.

The matter of holding the board exams for these classes was earlier embroiled in a legal battle with the matter reaching the Karnataka High Court as well as the Supreme Court.

By the time the state government completed the examination process, it was the end of March. However, the Department of Primary Education and Literacy, in a rush to announce the results of these classes, hastily started the evaluation work in the middle of the examination and sent the answer sheets back to the respective schools.

Schools in shock

However, a section of the schools was shocked after receiving the evaluated answer sheets.

They lodged a host of complaints, including improper evaluation, interchange of answer sheets, some pages not being evaluated, not awarding marks for correct answers, and errors in totalling marks. There were also instances of answer sheets in which students were not awarded marks but totalling was done. There were also papers in which total marks were given without mentioning marks for each of the answers.

D Sasikumar, general secretary of Karnataka State Association of Private Primary and High School Management Boards, revealed the anomalies in the evaluation of answer sheets. Speaking to The Federal Karnataka, Sasikumar said, “The government should have conducted the examination in a proper manner. We demand that the education department should immediately announce re-evaluation and announce the results only later. Let the government take this issue seriously and initiate corrective measures.”

Litany of complaints

Explaining the pitfalls of hasty evaluation, he said, “We have come across instances in which bundles were sent back without evaluation. In other cases, half of the papers were evaluated and the remaining half were left as they were, even though the total score was given.”

He said the Student Achievement Tracking System (SATS) software for uploading scores has not been upgraded for compilation of exam score. “The court had given specific instructions about these exams last year. However, the education department procrastinated for a year and woke up at the end of March. Due to irresponsibility of the department officials, now the children and the school managements have to suffer,” he said.

“All these irregularities have been brought to the notice of the top department officials as well as the evaluation department director. It doesn't matter if it is late, we have requested a proper re-evaluation and justice for the children. If the department gives the same result in this matter, it will be unfair to the children,” he added.

The Federal Karnataka tried to contact BB Kaveri, Commissioner, Department of School Education and Literacy. However, he did not answer the call.

Loopholes galore

“The possibility of such lapses in the evaluation process cannot be ruled out,” a high school teacher involved in the evaluation process told The Federal Karnataka. “This time, the department did not make proper preparations for the evaluation process. There were examination on one hand and evaluation on the other. Besides, election training was also being held at the same time. So many assessors did not report to duty. In addition, it was made mandatory for each evaluator to evaluate 80 answer sheets per day. Also, no allowance has been given for assessment this time," the teacher said.

“At the last moment, inexperienced teachers, untrained teachers from private schools, and finally primary school teachers were deputed for 8th and 9th class evaluation. Besides, at some centres, science and mathematics subjects were assessed by language teachers without subject teachers. Similarly, we saw that Kannada teachers evaluated English paper,” he added.

“Also, in some assessment centres, the answer sheets of subjects like Hindi, English and Maths were bundled without marking, just putting a right mark and signed by the assessor. In a way, the respective schools were hinted to put up as many marks as they want on those answer sheets,” he revealed. Federal Karnataka also has copies of semi-evaluated answer sheets in its possession.

Tall claims

The State Primary Education and Literacy Department, whose slogan is “Every child should get quality education”, has defended its decision in court, saying it conducted these examinations as a benchmark for measuring the quality of children's education and learning.

However, the serious allegations being made about the evaluation have put a big question mark on the department’s claims.

In view of these facts, there is a possibility that the result of classes 5, 8 and 9 will be delayed. However, if the department goes ahead to announce the results on the scheduled date without any delay, it won’t be doing justice to 28 lakh children who appeared in these exams.

(This article was originally published in The Federal Karnataka.)

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