A widely used pattern for question papers is Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) pattern. Despite its popularity, over the years, experts have found few errors with regard to this pattern in the context of the Indian education system.
What and How
On the 29th of October, 2015, the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry appointed a committee which was entrusted with task of formulating a plan to stop using the Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) pattern and adopt more questions which required descriptive answers. This has been considered to prevent cheating. EP Kharbhih headed the committee and it submitted a report earlier this year. Other members of the committee included K Chaudhary, CBSE Controller of Examination; Department of Pre-University in Karnataka Joint Director, Ranganathan; Professor Y Sreekanth, NCERT and the Chairman of the Council of Higher Secondary Education, C Arthur (in Manipur).
The committee suggested that the question paper should have a weightage of 100 marks for subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics. The paper should contain descriptive type questions, short answer type question and also include questions that required very short answers. These three type of questions will be divided and appear in 2:4:8 ratios. For the practical examinations, the weightage for the paper should be divided into 70:30 ratio wherein 70 marks is for the practical experiment and 30 marks is for the theory.
To ease the tension in the examination hall, students would be allowed to read the question paper for 15 minutes before answering it. The practice of open-book examination remains banned for the class 12 examination. The students will be given 3 hours to complete the paper. The difficulty level of the paper would be as follows: difficult questions – 25 percent of the paper, average questions – 40 percent of the paper, easy questions – 35 percent of the paper.
The committee also suggested that the question paper for class 12 examinations should be uniform across the different states. This will ensure that the competition level remains same across the country. A member of the committee said that they recommended a common question paper for all states to ensure that the performance of students from various boards can be compared.
Another suggestion given by the HRD ministry which this committee (headed by EP Kharbhih) turned down was the implementation of open-book examinations for secondary and senior secondary examinations.
Secretary of the Board of Intermediate Education of Telangana, A Ashok was the head of another committee appointed by the Ministry of HRD. This committee was responsible for analyzing the question of whether a common syllabus could be introduced across all states for classes 11 and 12 (for students who have opted for the science stream). After analyzing the issue thoroughly, the committee came to the conclusion that 70 percent of the curriculum could be made common to all states whereas the remaining 30 percent can be decided by the respective state boards.