Faulty, inexact questions stump BCom students at BU

Account for about 70 marks; varsity says 'no fault'

Faulty, inexact questions stump BCom students at BU

Having just endured a spate of blunders in the evaluation of their answers papers in the last semester, students at colleges affiliated to Bangalore University (BU) have a fresh problem at hand.

The question papers for odd semesters have become a nightmare for BCom students for at least two reasons: Lack of clarity and out-of-syllabus questions. The problem was found in financial accounting and advanced financial accounting papers of first- and third-year BCom respectively. The exams were held in November and valuation of answer papers has just begun.

Ashika G S, a first-semester student at MLA College, 15th Cross, Malleswaram, is among hundreds of students who struggled to answer the question paper. Ashika did remarkably well in II PUC, scoring a perfect 100 each in accountancy and statistics and 99 in business studies, her family members said.

But the first-semester exam in BCom came as a shock to her. “Section A (of the question paper) was fairly easy; problems began with section B. The questions had no clarity and some were out of syllabus. I did not know what to do but attempted them nonetheless,” she explained, adding that she was completely depressed after the exam.

Her father, Shantharam GM, a commerce teacher at BEL College, then scrutinised the paper and found several errors in the questions. “I have been part of the board which drafts question papers for PUC exams. We take utmost care while framing the questions. But this paper came as a shock,” he told Deccan Herald.

‘Copied blindly’

Prof K R Nayak, a retired teacher who also analysed the paper, said the errors accounted for about 70 marks. “Even teachers cannot answer the questions as the details given are inadequate. Many questions seem to have been copied blindly (and incorrectly) from other books. The valuation is done based on one scheme of answers. Students stand to lose in the end,” he said.

Question numbers 5, 6, 8 and 10 in the BCom III paper were those where erroneous information was provided. In one question, the loss of sale of furniture is cited without mentioning its original cost, Prof Nayak pointed out. “Accounting is considered a scoring subject. But if crucial details are not mentioned in the problems, there is no way students can solve them.” In a question in a BCom I paper, it is mentioned that records are destroyed by a fire. In the later part of the question, it is stated that “the balances are ascertained from the records available.”

“If the records are destroyed in the fire, how are they available later?” Prof Nayak asked. These are but two instances. There are various issues in questions 1-8 in the first semester paper, he added.

Jayappa, a member of Bangalore University Commerce Teachers’ Association, conceded they too had learnt about the complaints, and there were problems with accounts and financing paper in BCom I and in financial management paper in BCom III. But students also faced other problems in the examination. Many first-semester students joined only in October and attended classes just for a month before the exam. “I would be surprised if many of them managed to clear the papers,” Jayappa said.

‘Panel to look into plaints’

The Chairman of Board of Examiners for BCom (I and III semesters), Janardhan of MES College, said an expert committee would be formed before valuation begins to look into the complaints. The valuation pattern would be decided and students’ interests protected, he said. Nothing about grace marks has been decided as of now. He, however, denied they were errors. “It is not an error. There are questions that have not appeared in previous year papers. Students find difficult answering out-of-pattern questions.”

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