SEBA plans to go Digital with Evaluation
• SEBA to begin digital marking of answer scripts soon
• The decision was taken to prevent any damage to records and to ensure faster checking
• Before this, digital evaluation for only Mathematics paper was being conducted
• More than 4 lakh students will appear in HSLC exam in 2018
• Answer scripts will also feature dandy watermarks and other security features to prevent counterfeit
• For the first time this year, admit cards too will bear additional safety measures
The Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) has plans to evaluate answer scripts of all subjects digitally in the future, officials said.
Currently SEBA has been conducting digital evaluation for only the mathematics paper of the High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) examination.
The board is planning to completely digitise the answer sheet evaluation process in order to prevent any tampering or damage to the records.
More than four lakh students in total will appear from across the state in 2018 for the Class 10 board examination which will be held around the second week of February.
“If we receive a positive response from all stakeholders regarding digital evaluation this year, we will then further extend the process to other subjects and will eventually completely digitise the marking procedure,” said controller of examinations at SEBA, Nayan Jyoti Sarmah.
He added that digitisation will make the entire marking process less time consuming and error-free. In this regard, district-wise training will be provided to examiners by technical personnel one week before the beginning of evaluation, to ensure accuracy and effectiveness. Digital checking would also help in faster declaration of results, said officials.
Another official of SEBA said that they have an existing set up of computer labs where digital evaluation of Mathematics paper is conducted currently. “There are 11 specialised evaluation zones for Mathematics all over Assam. Out of this, two evaluation centres have been set up in Guwahati,” he said.
In total, SEBA has set up 852 evaluation centres for checking of all papers of 2018 HSLC exams.
Further, the size of the monitor screens for evaluators will also be larger this time “to eliminate any scope for errors.”
In 2016, around 600 matriculation examination answer scripts got destroyed in a fire at a school in Jorhat. Widespread protests by student organisations and parents of candidates across the state followed the incident. The government had also ordered a CID probe into the matter.
Officials said that the digital database will ensure that the answer booklets are secure and not prone to any physical damage.
This time onwards, SEBA will conduct the practical examinations for 12 of its vocational subjects before the theory papers, in the third week of January. Earlier the practical exams were conducted after the theory exams.
In a first, admit cards to bear safety measures
From this year onwards, the authorities have also introduced additional security measures in admit cards to eliminate the rampant proxy cases during examinations which have been discovered over the years.
“Some of the new features include high resolution border, micro lining, watermark and copy and check which cannot be replicated in counterfeit admit cards,” said an official from the examination department of SEBA adding, “For the first time, we have also laid special emphasis to ensure fool-proof security of admit cards this year.”
Officials said that last year in Jiadhal High School examination centre in Dhemaji, examination officials caught 14 proxy cases with fraud admit cards. Following this, the results of all the candidates found cheating was cancelled.
In another instance in 2016, a candidate tried to generate a fraud registration card in Kamrup (Metro) District. “Since all the database is maintained online, he requested me to manually enter his details in the system. I then conducted a thorough check of his credentials and found that it was a fraud case,” said Sarmah adding that he immediately informed the police and registered a case.
Dandy watermarks on answer scripts
With a view to keep a check on fraudulent practices by candidates during the examination, SEBA has introduced a first-of-its-kind watermark feature in the answer booklets from this year onwards called dandy watermarks. Officials say that Assam is possibly the first state in the northeast to introduce dandy watermarks.
Calling it as “One of the highest forms of security features,” the authorities said that it is not possible to generate it easily or duplicate, as these watermarks are produced as a result of a highly technical process. Also, the dandy watermarks cannot be replicated when the answer sheet is photocopied or scanned, adding an additional layer of safety.
It takes more than 10 days to generate these watermarks on the answer paper rolls, said officials. Apart from these watermarks, the answer scripts for the 2018 board examinations will also have other distinct safety measures like ruling of the papers, SEBA logo on each sheet and page numbers mentioned on the booklets. Further, two graph papers will be pre-attached to the Mathematics answer booklet.
The SEBA first introduced certain basic security features in 2015 including the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) and changing the size and quality of answer scripts to high grade material, so that they would not be easily available in the market. Since then, the examination department has continued to upgrade these measures to make the exam process hassle-free.