AICTE to implement Open Book Examination in Technical Institutes

The India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) will soon be rolling out the Open Book Examinations. The Institute has approved the recommendations sent as early as April-May 2018 for implementing the Open Book Examination as part of policy reform. According to an NDTV report, the statutory body is likely to be rolling out the new examination methodology most probably from 2019 itself, quoting an official statement by the media outlets, the NDTV report said.

Considering the recommendation of the panel which stated that, written exam encourages rote learning in students, AICTE has decided to adopt the ‘less stressful’ exam pattern for Indian engineering education system. ‘Open book examination is similar to time constrained written examinations but designed in a way that allows students to refer to either class notes, textbooks, or other approved material while answering questions,’ reads the examination reforms policy released by the AICTE on November 20, 2018, noted the report.

‘The questions in open book exam must take advantage of the format, and give more weightage to the application of knowledge, critical thinking and use of resources for solving real complex engineering problems,’ the report further added. In May 2018, open book exam was first recommended for engineering students. ‘The recommendations have been submitted to the Ministry of Human Resource Development and are being examined. If the recommendations come into force, students would be allowed to carry their books, notes and other study material in the exam hall with them,’ the report said, then. In August this year, the AICTE had invited suggestions from stakeholders in this regard; the report pointed out.

As part of educational reforms, a panel consisting of Professors Ashok S. Shettar, Rama Krishna Challa, Sanjay Agarwal and Upendra Pandel had made a gamut of recommendations. In its preface, they said, “The globalisation of the world economy and higher education are driving profound changes in the engineering education system. Worldwide adaption of Outcome-Based education framework and enhanced focus on higher-order learning along with professional skills necessitates a paradigm shift in traditional practices of curriculum design, education delivery and assessment. In recent years, globally, sweeping reforms are being undertaken to bring about essential changes in engineering education regarding what to teach (content) and how to teach (knowledge delivery) and how to assess (student learning).

Examinations or student assessment of students play a pivotal role in deciding the quality of education and the academic excellence of examinations (question papers) in Indian Engineering education system has been a matter of concern for a long time. This report attempts to bring out recommendations for reforms in examination system to meet challenges on emerging engineering landscape. The recommendations are presented in four sections.

  • In the first section, the critical drivers for examination reforms in Indian engineering education system are discussed.
  • The second section brings out strategies to be adopted to align assessment with the desired student learning outcomes. A two-step method is proposed for mapping the examination questions course outcomes.
  • In the third section, it highlights the necessity of designing question papers to test higher order abilities and skills. Application of Bloom’s taxonomy framework to create the optimal structure of examination papers to examine the different cognitive skills is discussed in detail.

Challenge of assessing higher order abilities and professional skills through traditional examination system is brought out in section four. Several educational experiences and assessment opportunities are identified to overcome the challenges. Appendices contain the supplement material that is helpful for varsities or colleges to implement recommendations.

At this juncture, reforms in examinations are critical for the improvement of the quality and relevance of Indian engineering education. Therefore, it is hoped that the Report will be of use to the universities and colleges to bring out the much-needed change. The cooperation received from AICTE officials in bringing out the Report is gratefully acknowledged.”

Image source:  Konstantin Dyadyun

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