AICTE engineering students may soon carry books to examinations

New Delhi, November 24: Come 2019 and engineering students from All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) approved colleges may soon get an opportunity to carry their books to examinations under AICTE’s new open book policy.

AICTE has advised colleges to either ask less number of questions that encompassed two or three concepts or allocate more time for the exam under open book policy. As per the suggested guidelines, this will be less stressful for a student as it would focus less on her memorizing ability and will encourage application-based learning and develop problem-solving abilities in students.

Assessment of outcome-based learning

Ashok Shettar, chairperson AICTE committee on examination reform and vice chancellor KLE Technological University told a leading national daily, “The way we conduct exams traditionally only assesses students based on their ability to reproduce knowledge. Through these guidelines, we aim to reform the way we assess our students. We are aiming to match the assessment system with the outcome-based framework our education and industry has adopted based on performance indicators. The guidelines are expected to be implemented from the next academic year.”

“If we have to say 12 indicators for our engineering graduates,” said Shettar, “half of them do not belong to technical traits. Our traditional system is unable to access students based on these soft skills including teamwork, communication skills, et al.”

To implement the same, the AICTE will soon start training teachers from engineering institutes from all across the country. “Open book exams will be allowed in designed and systemic manner. It will not be allowed in all the exams,” Shettar added.

Interestingly, the policy also advises academicians to “set the question paper in a way that requires students to do things with information available to them, rather than merely locate the correct information from the book”.

Apart from the open book, the Examination Reforms Policy also states several reforms like mandatory internships, research, students projects etc.

Has to go hand-in-hand with teaching reforms: Experts

Experts welcomed the move but cautioned that such reforms need to be implemented with care. “Exam reforms cannot be done in isolation; it has to go with teaching reforms,” said Pradipta Banerji, a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay. “Unless we do that we cannot achieve much.”

Talking about the latest guidelines, Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) Vice-Chancellor Dr Karisiddappa said, “Open-book examination is not a new concept. There are universities and private colleges, which are already following it. AICTE has given its approval for three reforms, we will analyse this and take a call on this. We have to tread with caution in implementing it. It should be implemented in the next revision, after four years. It requires a completely different approach to set the question papers and conduct the examination. We will start working on it now.”

A wide range of assessment methods (example; term papers, open-ended problem-solving assignments, course/lab project rubrics, portfolios) need to be employed to ensure that assessment methods match with learning outcomes.