‘Right marks for wrong questions’ HPSC’s new policy irks candidates | india | Hindustan Times
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‘Right marks for wrong questions’ HPSC’s new policy irks candidates

The decision has raised several questions. Hitender Rao reports.

india Updated: May 14, 2012 01:20 IST

The decision has raised several questions. The Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC) awarded marks for "inaccurate or erroneous questions” to candidates who appeared in the Haryana Civil Services (Executive Branch) and other allied services preliminary examination held on March 25. The commission's controversial move, which seems to be against the tenets of fair play, is likely to be challenged in a court of law.

Unfair play

For instance, if five questions of political science (optional subject) paper are incorrect or inaccurately framed, then the candidates appearing in the preliminary exam with political science as an optional subject would get five grace marks, according to the commission's logic.

In comparison, if there was no error (or fewer errors) in the question paper of another optional subject, say physics, then the grace marks given in political science would seriously affect the interests of candidates appearing with physics as optional subject.

"This would adversely affect the fortunes of many as there are several candidates having same marks at the cut-off. These grace marks for inaccurate questions will give an unfair advantage to many," said a candidate who appeared in the exam.

HPSC chairman Manbir Bhadana, however, said this was the best way the commission could have settled the issue. "Nothing unusual has been done. We could not have scrapped the entire examination," Bhadana said. "We adopted a uniform pattern to satisfy all candidates. There was no other way."

Sources in the commission said most mistakes and inaccuracies, at least seven, were in the general studies paper. Papers of several optional subjects also had inaccurately framed or erroneous questions. The HPSC chairman, while defending the decision, said that since all papers had such questions, grace marks were given to all candidates. "This brought parity for everyone,'' he said.

However, many candidates beg to differ. "Even the benefit given to all candidates for wrong questions in the general studies paper, which was common for all the candidates, is discriminatory," said a candidate, who did not wish to be named.

“If there were no wrong or inaccurately framed questions, then all candidates would not have got the same marks.”

For instance, if wrong questions were from general science, grace marks would give undue advantage to candidates weak in that particular subject, he explained. While declaring the results on May 4, the HPSC said, “...benefit of marks has been given to all candidates in their respective subjects as per recommendations of paper setters."