OBE FRAUD: DU TEACHERS RAISE CONCERNS OVER 50-PAGE ANSWERS

The University of Delhi has been conducting OBEs i.e. Open Book Examinations ever since the pandemic knocked on our doors. While DU is ensuring that the protocols are followed strictly, however, fraud cases are brimming as the Nov- Dec UG semester got over recently.

Evaluating 70 answer sheets of Delhi University’s online open-book examinations (OBE), the associate professor at Vivekananda College, Sandhya Sharma, noticed that unlike earlier where students used a maximum of 32 pages to write their answers, now students were submitting 50-60 page scripts. Also, earlier, the students would tire and their handwriting would worsen after the first two answers. However, Sharma told TOI that in most of the 50-page answer scripts, the handwriting was constant and uniform handwriting.

“This is clear cut fraud,” Sharma exclaimed. “To give an example, the students write the full rubric instead of answering the points raised by the question. It is clear that the students have access to an answer, they have assignments prepared and only scan and upload them as answers in the OBE.”

With between 15 and 27 pages for one answer and 70-100 pages in total, DU evaluators are not wondering whether OBE is at all a viable means of assessing the performance of students. They say that the university should give teachers the option to score students on a case to case basis. Philosophy teacher Vijay Kumar Baliyan recalled his last evaluation assignment and said, “I had answer scripts with 22-23 pages for one answer, almost 90 pages for the whole paper.”

A commerce teacher remarked, “Even with numerical, 98% of the answers are copied from the same source and have identical sentences, same solutions, even the same mistakes. Despite this, as evaluators, we are forced to give good marks to everyone.”

Nidhi Bhandari, an English teacher, opined, “OBE, in its current avatar, is a colossal waste of human energy. So many people across the university are investing their time and effort in administering an exam that tests nothing.” DU had asked messaging app Telegram to block groups that were helping students during OBE.

Another teacher argued that when class X and XII students were appearing in person to write exams, DU too should call students for the tests. In response, a university official said, “For now, OBE is the most viable option during the pandemic because assessments are necessary. But we will look into the matter.”