Covid-time exam makes top scores cakewalk at GTU
The pandemic has been throwing several challenges at educational institutes which ranges from adopting virtual teaching to conducting online examinations. But the students of Gujarat Technological University are not complaining at all. They have reaped a lot of benefit from this unforeseen change - the varsity has reported an almost four-fold jump in meritorious students in a five-year period, with more students than ever scoring CGPA of 9 or more in the Bachelor of Engineering and Diploma Engineering courses.
While some may call it a stupendous improvement in the quality of students, many believe that GTU has only softened its evaluation criteria. Online exams in MCQ format have helped more students get high scores in engineering branches.
As per the statistics shared by the varsity, 0.67% students got 9 and above CGPA in degree engineering in 2015-16 (summer 2016 exam) and the figure saw a four-fold rise to 4.5% in 2019-20 exam held during the pandemic time. For Diploma Engineering, an increase of around 8% to 11% has been registered in the same period.
Officials at GTU ascribed high scores of students to the "cream of students" making it to the final year. "Students with a backlog of subjects to clear and who struggle to cope academically usually lag behind in completing the courses. The change in the exam format is another reason for students faring better," said an official. Interestingly, it was in 2019-20 that GTU saw the steepest rise in the number of students scoring 9 or more CGPA, from 2.15% to 4.5%.
The varsity has also been claiming that online exams were strictly proctored and there were fewer chances of cheating as cameras monitored students constantly through front cameras of the registered devices for online exams.
A student who appeared for an online exam in 2019-20 said, "It was for the first time that we appeared for online exams. All I can say is that there were many innovative ways to know answers from others if one did not know them first-hand. In short, cheating did not vanish in the online mode of the exam. This is one of the major reasons for the increase in the number of students scoring better."
GTU VC Navin Sheth said the major reason was the fact that the exam format changed from descriptive to multiple-choice. He said, "Coupled with MCQs, a general format exam where students had the choice to select only 7 questions to answer out of multiple options also worked in their favour. Earlier, students had no such choice and had to attempt all questions."
As per the statistics shared by GTU, BE registered 74.78% result in 2018 and diploma engineering reported a massive increase of 10% in result in three years - from 79.62% to 89.51% in the same period. In the Diploma Engineering result, the most striking part is that not only did the number of students scoring CGPA 9 or more increase, those scoring between 4.5 CGPA and 6 CGPA reduced drastically. As per the statistics, from 22% in 2015-16, the students registering an average score came down to only 3% for Diploma semester 6 batch that appeared for exam in 2019-20.
Bhaskar Iyer, Principal of a diploma college, said leniency in exams worked in favour of students. "Questions were easy as the exam format was new. Also, online and MCQ-based exams are like open book exams. So, scores were bound to increase and the number of bottom scorers was bound to go down," he said.