The idea of continuous evaluation of a student’s performance in Delhi University’s new foundation courses has not panned out as planned, or so it seems. Teachers are finding it increasingly difficult to grade students on class presentations as the number of students is far more than the expected for such exercises.
Since over 70% of the marking for such foundation courses are based on project works - to be marked by the mentors - a big class size automatically means that teachers are not be able to pay individual attention to all the students and the marking is not very accurate.
Most classes for such foundation courses of the university comprise more than 60 students. These students should ideally be split in groups of five but teachers are forced to divide them in larger groups of 10. The students have to then prepare projects on a variety of topics and have to present them in classes.
“Is it possible for each student to speak during the limited time we have for presentations? The class size is too big and the semester is too short for all students to be covered,” said a teacher at Ramjas College, where 84 students are part of one section for foundation courses.
According to experts, the model of having students work on projects and presenting them in class was meant for smaller institutions.
A number of colleges across the world did follow a similar practice, but their class size is smaller compared to Delhi University classes.
The foundation courses in DU were envisaged with the aim of teaching students the basics of the world around them through a hands-on experience. According to the suggested projects in the textbooks, students were supposed to undertake field trips and teaching was supposed to move beyond the classroom — things that is not feasible in the current system.
Senior DU professors claim that the new model will force teachers to mark students based on a very cursory assessment of their skills, making the whole process of continuous assessment a farce.