It wasn’t long ago when I heard my cousin, who was on the other side of the phone, almost choking and gasping for breath. Reason? The medical entrance examination that she had appeared for– the one for which she had locked herself inside a room for months and cut all ties with the world – was cancelled on the grounds of a questionable paper leak.The incident came in as a big blow to my sister and thousands of other meritorious and hardworking students who spent innumerable sleepless nights, preparing for the life-changing examination. Unfortunately, their efforts went down the drain because of the ‘mafias’ who did not think twice before fulfilling their selfish motives.
It fills my heart with sorrow to think that the Indian examination system is actually full of flaws. The inference is drawn from the alarming rise in the number of cheating and paper leak cases recorded across the country lately. Let’s go back in time to make a note of the incidents that literally flooded the headlines in the recent past.
- May 2017: Five Rajasthan University (RU) examinations were cancelled after a special operations group (SOG) busted a paper leak racket that involved RU professors and college lecturers.
- May 2017: Complaints of cheating erupted post theAll India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) MBBS entrance examination. Findings pointed towards the suspicious involvement of officials of a coaching centre in Uttar Pradesh.
- July 2016: The Engineering, Agriculture and Medical Common Entrance Test (EAMCET-II) conducted by Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad was leaked in Telangana.
- March 2016: CBSE Class 12 mathematics question sheetgot leaked in Jharkhand.
- March 2016: The Pre-University (PU) chemistry examination,taken at around 975 centres by over 1.74 lac students, was cancelled for the second time when the authorities found that it had been leaked.
But why has the process of conducting exams fairly in India been such a Herculean task? Well, to begin with, the written examination system has to be put under scrutiny. It is because in the majority of cases that involved fiddling with the question papers, it was found that they were based on the traditional paper test system. But has anyone wondered why? It probably could be because cheating in a written examination is fairly easier as exam partakers have convenient access to those who actually make it. Moreover, questions printed on a piece of paper are not locked on a server with a special password.
The only sensible solution to combat this challenging situation, especially in a country like India, is to scrap cumbersome and unprotected written papers and make the process absolutely automated. Computerized examinations, thus, is a step that introduces transparency in the entire examination process. Unlike the old and vulnerable manual procedure of conducting exams, computerized examinations considerably save time, give accurate results, and eliminate the need for manual intervention. It is worth a mention that testing and assessment companies like Prometric play a significant role in transforming the malicious testing scenario prevalent in our country. Prometric caters to the three main components of an online examination efficiently. These are:
- Exam creation
- Exam supervision
- Exam marking
As opposed to the traditional method, every step in the process is backed by secure and advanced software, processes and global standards that ensure exam questions and evaluations are not influenced or compromised at all. Let’s delve deeper into the advantages of computerized examinations and how it is better than the traditional paper mode.
Secure and confidential
Confidentiality of an exam is extremely crucial to retain its value. Keeping that in mind, computerized tests are prepared by a special team of experts in a secure environment. Moreover, computerized testing systems help ensure that unlike easily-permeable written question sheets, the content of computerized examinations is safely stored in a database, which can only be accessed by authorized members.
For many computerized tests, there is no fixed pattern of questions. That is because the automated test generators are programmed to pick questions from the database randomly. Also, there is no provision of taking screenshots, going back to the previous screen, or changing the answers once submitted. This prevents students from peeking over an acquaintance’s answer sheet, like they do in a regular written examination.
Easy to access
Computerized exams are not location-specific. For instance, leading testing companies like Prometric have 8,000 test centres located all around the world. Participants can easily choose a venue in the vicinity most convenient to them. Moreover,a fully automated testing system makes it easier for exam partakers to appear for the test when it is easiest for them.
Apart from being convenient for the participants, computerized tests provide flexibility to the examiners as well.While advanced testing systems still require invigilators, they do relieve the examiners of some of the laborious task of invigilating thousands of students who take the same exam at different testing locations. Moreover, examiners are no longer required to prepare the test in multiple languages as the task is executed by the automated system itself.
In addition to the above mentioned benefits, computerized tests help in saving a lot of time. The whole process of conducting computer-based examinations strikes out lengthy formalities involved at every stage, be it the preparation, execution or evaluation of the exams.
No wonder examiners from all across the world are moving towards computerized tests rather than relying upon the notorious paper tests. And why not? The new and advanced testing procedure certainly creates a seamless examination system that is free from any biases or discrepancies.