AICTE-regulated engineering, technical colleges may soon conduct open-book exams, pending HRD ministry review
An All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) instituted committee on examination reforms has recommended “open book examination” for engineering programmes.
An All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) instituted committee on examination reforms has recommended “open book examination” for engineering programmes. The report is being examined by the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry. If accepted, open book exams will allow students to take notes, textbooks and resource material into an exam of any engineering and technical institute regulated by the AICTE.
The panel, formed in January, said the open book system was being proposed as the traditional pattern of examination often led to rote learning. These reforms are part of the systemic changes the apex regulator of technical education is undertaking, including curriculum changes it had undertaken recently. According to the report, the academic quality of examinations and question papers in the Indian engineering education system had been a matter of concern for a long time.
According to a report in the Times of India, the changes suggested by the committee include the introduction of educational experiences to teach and assess professional outcomes including open-ended experiments in laboratories and project-based learning modules and internship experiences, among others. “A wide range of assessment methods (term papers, open-ended problem-solving assignments, course/lab project rubrics, portfolios) need to be employed to ensure that assessment methods match with learning outcomes,” the report said.
The committee was of the view that open book system was especially useful in testing skills in application, analysis and evaluation. “Open book examination is similar to time constrained written examination but designed in a way that allows students to refer to either class notes, textbooks or other approved material while answering questions so they are less demanding on memory and hence less stressful, questions can emphasise on problem-solving, and higher order thinking,” it said.
Apart from an open book exam, the committee also recommended varying difficulty levels of question papers according to the capabilities of students, testing their different cognitive skills. The committee has recommended the use of the so-called Bloom’s taxonomy framework to set examination papers that are well balanced, testing the different cognitive skills of students without the papers being perceived as either tough or easy.
Experts welcomed the move but cautioned that such reforms need to be implemented with care. “Exam reforms cannot be done in isolation; it has to go with teaching reforms,” said Pradipta Banerji, a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai told the Hindustan Times.
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