June 1, 2021 5:50:14 pm
The Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) has successfully accomplished a pioneering initiative by digitally evaluating over 48,000 scanned answer sheets of the Group-1 services main examination, with confidentiality and security as the prime features. The Commission authorities said this was a new paradigm in the government recruitment process, particularly in filling up the top level posts.
A three-stage process, embedded with necessary checks and balances in the digital software, ensured a fool proof evaluation of the answer sheets and awarding of marks in a transparent manner, they said. The APPSC issued the notification in 2018 for filling up 165 notified posts under various Group-1 services in the state government.
Of the 9,679 candidates qualified for the main examination, 6,782 wrote all the required seven papers in December last year. Incidentally, the main examination question papers were given digitally on tabs with a unique passcode, in a first-of-its-kind initiative by the APPSC. “Of those who appeared for all the seven papers, 326 qualified for interview in the regular stream and another 75 under the sports quota, in 1:2 ratio. Forty-two per cent of those who qualified for interview were from the Telugu medium and the rest from English,” a top official of the Commission told PTI here on Tuesday.
This time the Commission adopted a liberal approach and selected candidates for the main examination in 1:50 ratio as against the earlier restriction of 1:15. “Our objective was to ensure everybody got a fair chance since the number of posts was limited. With the entire process digitized, and the evaluators remaining anonymous, scope for any sort of manipulation has been completely eliminated,” the official, who did not wish to be quoted, said.
In the three-stage process, each answer sheet was evaluated twice by different experts and the average score of the two has been taken into consideration. A third evaluation was also planned in case of a variation of 15 per cent in the marks but “we had not one such case.”
An expert who oversaw the process noted that question-wise evaluation criteria were prepared for each subject in consultation with the Commission. “This ensured uniformity in the evaluation and left no scope for reverse mapping. In the second stage, quality controllers checked the marks and totals for any discrepancies and extra marks, if any, were taken off,” the expert from an Indian Institute of Management said. A chief examiner then verified if the evaluation matched the set criteria for clearance, upon which the final marks were entered into the master record. In the subsequent stage, the Chief Controller of Exams checked the master record to ensure data consistency.
The CCE also conducted a random check of the top 250 answer sheets before the entire master record was delivered to the Commission. The final summary report was then prepared based on the master record as per the format prescribed by the Commission.
The APPSC authorities aver that it was the first time the entire process has been completed in a hassle-free and fool proof manner in a span of four months. “Everything has been done remotely and only using barcodes. Unlike the manual process, where the chance for any manipulation or mix-up was high, the digital evaluation left no such probability. Importantly, it has completely eliminated the chance of any disparity,” the Commission official asserted.
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