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Varsity scurry over errors in test papers

Flooded with complaints of “out-of-syllabus” questions from students, Calcutta University (CU) on Wednesday decided to take measures to check the errors in question papers of major under-graduate examinations.

The CU authorities took the decision on the basis of inquiries conducted by the university to probe complaints lodged by examinees. Several candidates of BA and B.Sc Part II examinations 2003 had alleged that some of the questions in the psychology, Bengali, maths and physics papers were not from the syllabus.

When preliminary investigations by the university authorities revealed that the grievances of the students were “justified”, CU officials asked the heads of the boards of studies in all the four subjects to conduct thorough inquiries to confirm the complaints. Accordingly, the respective boards held a string of meetings with the paper-setters and moderators over the past couple of days.

“At the inquiry meetings, paper-setters and moderators in psychology, Bengali and maths have admitted that some of the questions were taken from chapters that had not been included in the Part-II syllabi,” said Suranjan Das, CU pro vice-chancellor, academic affairs.

“We will take necessary steps to compensate the students and also ensure that such errors do not occur in future. Appropriate measures will be taken against those responsible for the mistakes,” said Das.

He promised that he would sit with the officials of the examinations department and chalk out the measures.

According to the university rules, said sources, questions are framed by paper-setters and checked by moderators. Officials feel that the out-of-syllabus questions could have been overlooked as paper-setters and moderators were not thorough with the contents of the latest syllabi. Steps would also be taken to ensure that teachers are allowed to set papers only if they are familiar with the syllabi, they added.

Sources in the university, however, said the detection of so many out-of-syllabus questions in a single examination has embarrassed the authorities.

The university conducts nearly 600 under-graduate and post-graduate examinations every year. University students alleged that minor mistakes in both levels of examinations are reported almost every year.

“So far, the mistakes had not been so glaring. But this time, the problem is serious because most of the out-of-syllabus questions of Part-II carried a lot of marks,” said an examinee in Bengali.

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