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Setting and evaluation of a question paper

Posted on 12/04/2015 by Dailyexcelsior

Prof. S. S. Verma
Paper setting and evaluation at every level of education whether for each class or
each school/college/university or for common examinations or tests at
district/state/national level is an integral part of our education system and hope that
it will still remain so in the times to come. Question paper and its evaluation have
been and will remain an integral part of education whether for continuous
evaluation system or for semester/year end examination system all over the world
to rank students with their performance towards learning and to qualify their entry
Recently, question papers of English, Physics and Mathematics setup by educational
experts of CBSE, New Delhi for class XIIth students appearing all over the country
are under debate for their level of toughness and lengthy contents. Such news
always appear in the media concerning to various boards, colleges and universities.
Such endeavors (i.e., paper settings and evaluation) become more important when
students taking common examinations have to be rated with different educational
backgrounds and educational boards setting different question papers and being
evaluated by different people all over the country. In India, where there are number
of education boards, dealing independently with question settings and their
evaluations and then students competing for common entrances like JEE (Main)
where board examination marks play a great role, in spite of the moderation
formulae designed by CBSE, New Delhi, injustice faced by students from different
Paper setting for national level tests (subjective or objective) is a great art and
many Ph.D. thesis, & research papers have been written on the topic along with
various administrative and educational policies being framed on the issue of paper
settings and their evaluation. Above all these, this task is still being carried out by
human and is a person specific. Paper setters and evaluators, sometimes forget
that they are dealing with educational life and career of students who have burned
their mid night oil in the preparation for these examinations. They go for very
lengthy and difficult paper settings and strict evaluation for which they have all the
explanations like to curb copying in examinations, bring out only the genuinely
intelligent students but forget that they are forcing many of the students towards
mental depression. Later on, due to public outcry, governing bodies of these
examinations generally go ahead with making committees to suggest means and
modes for providing relief to suffering students which generally come out either
It is better to take pre-examination precautions in order to avoid post examination
chaos. It is important at the first hand itself that paper setters and evaluators with
qualities like unquestionable integrity, with vast educational experience of those
subjects at the required level of schooling, genuinely & moderately authoritarian

and with rational thinking should be selected. Moreover, papers should be drawn
from 2-3 paper setters and then a committee constituting educationists with above
mentioned qualities should decide on the final form of question paper. Guidelines
for paper setters and line-wise evaluation criteria should be provided to evaluators
with centralized paper checking with one question or part of it per evaluator.
Question paper setter and evaluator should fulfill their assignment with great
Before setting a question paper, each paper setter should put himself in the shoes
of the examinee and then frame the type, level and duration of the questions.
Toughness level of question paper should be such that 50% of it can be attempted
by even an average student, next 20% by good students and rest 30% by intelligent
students. The length of questions should be strictly such that it must be solved by
an intelligent student even 10-15 minutes before the total time allowed for
examination. Further, strict rules should be framed for evaluation of question
papers at every level and there should be counter checks for question paper setting
Question paper setter and evaluator should fulfill their assignment with great
honesty, dedication, integrity, seriousness and moderate feelings. In any case, they
should not challenge the existence of the examinee; rather they should motivate
and help the examinee to express him so that students do not lose the faith in
examination system in particular and education system in general. Though the
seriousness of these things discussed become immaterial with respect to the
population in the country going for education but still it is great challenge to our
education system, its planners and pillars (teachers) to pay attention so that things
do not go haywire.