VTU digital evaluation fails transparency test: ex-VC

Dr K Balaveera Reddy, former vice chancellor of the Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), has said the digital evaluation system (DES) introduced by the varsity for evaluation of answer scripts is neither tamper proof nor transparent.

Reddy’s remarks come in the backdrop of the recent announcement by controversial vice chancellor of the VTU, Maheshappa, that DES had been introduced for evaluation of answer scripts commencing from the December 2011/January 2012 examinations in seven centres across the State.

He had also announced that the results of three lakh students (after evaluating approximately 18 to 20 lakh answer scripts) would be announced in three days.

In a letter to Governor H R Bhardwaj, who is the chancellor of State universities, Reddy said that in the absence of any signature of the examiner on a particular answer script, an evaluator cannot be held responsible for erratic evaluation or a few answers not being evaluated due to oversight.

A majority of the meritorious students draw neat sketches using pencil/blue ink pens/colour pens in the answer books. These figures are sometimes not visible clearly after scanning. Hence, digital evaluation may not be proper, the former vice-chancellor said. 

Reddy said that under DES, answer books can be sent to the colleges or the homes of the examiners where they can evaluate them. Hence, there will be no confidentiality under the system, he said.
 
The former VC said digital evaluation requires cutting the stitched portions of the answer scripts and scanning about 10 to 50 answer scripts at a time.

Cutting the stitched portions of the answer scripts amounts to tampering them. Scanning for digital evaluation requires the answer books to be handled by the technical staff of the varsity. This may damage the answer books, leading to their tampering.

The answer books need bar code labels to be pasted on them before cutting the stitched portions and scanning them, he said.

After cutting, there is scope for replacing the inside pages with those from other answer books. New pages may also be added with the intention of helping some students. Thus, there is scope for misuse of the revaluation facility, he said.  Also, the scanned answer scripts could be transmitted on the Internet and are amenable for hacking. So, DES is neither tamper proof nor transparent.

It has been claimed by the VC that DES is fast and results can be announced in a record period of three days.

Even if 400 teachers at each of the five evaluation centres evaluate at the rate of 50 answer scripts per day, a total of one lakh answer scripts can be completed in one day.

At this rate, at least 18 days are required to evaluate 18 lakh answer books per semester, Reddy pointed out. He has requested the chancellor to review the DES and initiate suitable action.

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