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Internal blues

Delhi University’s move to moderate internal assessment marks hasn’t gone down well with students and teachers, reports Swaha Sahoo.

delhi Updated: Oct 12, 2008 23:27 IST
Swaha Sahoo

The strategy to work hard for internal exams and score high marks has backfired for many Delhi University students. In a move meant to bring parity among colleges, the university has moderated the internal assessment marks of its students.

So students in colleges like Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), Lady Sri Ram (LSR), Jesus and Mary College (JMC) and St Stephen’s — some of the top rung colleges of the university — have lost marks.

“I lost out the top position for BA Programme by one mark because the university moderated my internal assessment marks for Philosophy. They decreased it from 22 to 18,” said Sonia Ahuja, final year student of BA Programme at JMC.

“Why are they punishing me for scoring well. I worked very hard on my projects and also have above 95 per cent attendance,” said Ahuja.

At LSR, an entire class saw a scaling down of internal marks in two papers. “We don’t understand why our marked have been scaled down. We take internals seriously and most of us have done equally well in the theory exams,” said Amal Gupta, second year student of Math (H).

Teachers across colleges are also questioning the basis on which marks have been moderated.

“The university initially said since marks were being inflated in many colleges, there has to be parity between internals and theory paper,” said Jyoti Darbari, HoD, Mathematics at LSR.

However, marks of all students in a class has been moderated irrespective of their performance in the theory exam, she said.

“Some students have lost 12 marks which is quite a lot. And how can the performance of one student set the standard for others?” asked Darbari. What many students do not know is that from this year onwards, moderation of internal assessment marks is no longer linked to their performance in the final exam.

The university is now following a band system. It takes the average score for a particular paper in a college and then compares it to the average of the university in that paper.

Suppose the highest score for Business Economics paper is 25/25 and the lowest score is 5/25. The university can subtract from the highest score or add to the lowest score to ensure all marks lay within a common band of, let’s say, 10 to 20.

“Moderation is done to take care of extreme cases,” said M.L. Singla, Dean of Examination. “There is a huge difference among colleges. Some give very high marks whereas others are more stringent,” said Singla.

He added that there was no consensus among colleges regarding internal assessment. But many teachers feel internal assessment is a huge burden, both on student and teachers, and should be scrapped.

“We don’t understand the formula the university is following. The best thing would be to scrap internal assessments,” said Rajiv Jha, reader of Economics at SRCC.

Singla said it was early to take any drastic measures. “It has been only four years since internal assessments began and we are trying to work out the best formula for it,” said Singla.