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Edu institutes adopt different exam methods
 In Covid times, educational institutions in the city are adopting different modes to assess their students. While arts and science colleges may again conduct online tests where they would send question papers online and receive answer sheets in posts, the engineering colleges prepare for a proctored online test announced by Anna University.
IIT Madras has decided to conduct semester exams in pen-and-paper mode at all India centres in which the students have to write the exams in centres closer to their residences.
Experts point out that the different examination modes shows the lack of common guideline to conduct exams during the pandemic and lack of resources to some institutions.
The Syndicate of Madras University on Friday decided to conduct upcoming semester exams online for 180 minutes. Learning from previous experience, the university decided to send question papers to individual colleges and the colleges will take responsibility to distribute the papers to candidates. The resolution said the answer sheets will be received by way of hard copy from the students for evaluation.
Principals said there is no way to monitor whether the students are writing the exams without copying from textbooks or with the help of others. Madras University which is facing severe financial crisis does not have resources to conduct online proctored tests. Professors said they cannot conduct online tests for all subjects. However, autonomous colleges are trying to monitor their exams through apps for the duration of 90 minutes.
“We are monitoring students by appointing one invigilator for 20 students. But, there is a need for innovative assessment instead of traditional pen-and-paper mode tests,” said Thomas Amirtham, principal of Loyola College.
Around 93% of students appeared for the proctored online test conducted by Anna University for final year students. “Like last time, the university plans to conduct a 60-minute online test for engineering students. However, this time, students will not have more options as the colleges covered the syllabus in online classes,” an official said.
Many students were held for suspected malpractices activities and results of many of them are yet to be declared. However, the university used artificial intelligence to monitor students.
For the first time, IIT-M is going to conduct the pen-and-paper mode exam at all India centres. “The online tests have been conducted for 54% of courses. There are certain types of courses where online exams cannot be conducted. For only those courses, offline exams are being conducted,” said Jagadeesh Kumar V, dean, academic courses, IIT Madras.
“No student is forced to take exams. If a student doesn’t want to write, he or she can write when they coming back to campus,” he said.
However, academicians demand the universities hold exams offline on campus in view of reopening of the colleges.
“The government has permitted the colleges to reopen classes for UG final year students, PG students and research scholars. So, the exams could also be conducted offline. Conducting exams without supervision would make mockery of the exam system,” said E Balagurusamy, former V-C of Anna University.