JEE not the right way to select engineers: former IIT-Kanpur director

JEE not the right way to select engineers: former IIT-Kanpur director

Open-book, take-home exams are experiments. India needs a cadre of test designers who can set questions while keeping in mind what they want to test students for and same should be conveyed to graders, said Sanjay Dhandhe

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There is no correlation between the exam-setter and evaluator. India needs a cadre of test designers, says Dhade. (File Photo)

The Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) — one of the biggest entrance exams for engineering aspirants — is not the right way to access students, according to Sanjay Govind Dhande, former director of the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur. “JEE cannot fully assess intelligence of a student. Engineering is not just about PCM (physics, chemistry, mathematics). It demands student to be a creative person as well. Important aspects including composition, ability to communicate and understand a summary are not checked through this entrance exam. We need to include assessment of creativity and visual intelligence in the JEE,” Dhande told the

This year, reports suggest, over nine lakh candidates have applied for the JEE Main-I scheduled to held in January. JEE Main II will be held in April. Dhande said rather than making exams an “event-based drama”, India needs to have more creative ways of assessments. “With the number of aspirants growing exponentially for the JEE and fewer seats to offer comparatively, the system has become way too stressful. The questions are becoming more and more difficult each year,” he said.

It is easy to set a difficult paper but how much effort is been put to analyse their creativity. “While setting an exam, the exam planner should have a clear idea of on which parameters this test is supposed to test a candidate on. This needs to be well conveyed to both exam setter and grader (the one who is checking the paper),” said Dhandhe on the sidelines of the fourth annual India Association of Test Publishers (IATP). According to him, there is a lack of such connection in the present scenario and hence India is in a desperate need of a cadre of test-designers.

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Calling for decentralisation of the assessment system, he said that the assessment across institutes, schools, universities and competitive exams are conducted based on an event (exam). Instead, India needs daily personalised, individual assessments for every student.

“We need teachers’ training as an efficient guide needs to know psychology, psychometric testing etc. For this, we need to revamp the B Ed and M Ed courses as the current curriculum are completely dilapidated,” he said.

The best way to assess students, according to him, is through a “Kaun Banega Crorepati”-like format which includes gamification, time constraint, rewards, assessments and a standard difficulty level. While Dhande called for innovative ways of assessments, he also said, “Open book exams, take-home exams etc are all experiments. There is no size fits all. The basic goal is to teach students how to learn and think and this can only be done if the teacher is well-trained.”