How do you get an upgrade on your marks in a Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) exam? Well, the solution seems rather simple: just opt for revaluation. In fact, this has been the talk of academic circles for a while now, but one canny engineering student has decided to put some fact to the speculation. He’s done his research and come up with the numbers to prove his hypothesis that marks after revaluation are far too often higher than what one originally scored.
The research has been endorsed by the former VTU vice-chancellor K Balaveera Reddy, who says, “Officials are minting money at the cost of students’ futures. It is true that there is a big golmaal [scandal] in the VTU evaluation and revaluation system.”
The student (who wished to remain anonymous) conducted his case study using his own batch of 130 students. “My friend, who is a topper, failed in a particular subject in the sixth semester and his aggregate marks came down to 69 per cent. He wasn’t allowed to attend the placement drive in August this year because he didn’t reach the prescribed cut-off for most companies [70 per cent] and also because he had a back-paper to clear. However, after revaluation, his marks changed from seven to 53! Not only did he pass, but his aggregate also improved. By the time the revaluation results came in, however, the drive was over,” says the student, talking about what inspired him to take up the study. “He missed an opportunity and his career was ruined. He will graduate without a campus job offer,” he adds.
“This is not a one-off incident. There are many other students who suffer in this manner.
This prompted me to conduct this study and develop a program that can be used to do similar case studies in other colleges,” he says.
According to his study, conducted on a sample of 130 students, on average, a student who spent Rs800 for revaluation of two papers (the cost of revaluation is Rs400 per paper) saw an average increase of nine marks. This corresponds to one percentage point increase, when considering the total.
According to statistics revealed by the study, of 17 students who applied for revaluation in one particular subject, 10 (59 per cent) got an increase in marks. To put the size of the issue in context, there are approximately 4,50,000 students at the university.
“On average, at least 40 per cent of the students [per subject] got their marks increased after revaluation. Was every third copy wrongly evaluated,” asks the student.
There are instances where students have been given an increase of as much as 29 marks in a single subject, he points out.
“For the same subject, the average increase in marks among students who applied for revaluation is 12,” he says, adding that it is highly improbable that all these answer papers had genuine valuation mistakes. “Many students have stopped applying for revaluation, even though they know it will help improve their percentage. This is because it is not enough if you do it for one semester or one year; it is the aggregate that counts at the end of the course. Though we know that the marks will, in all probability, increase after revaluation, paying Rs400 per paper is not a small amount,” he says.
The student says the script he developed is available to anybody who wishes to perform similar case studies in other colleges under VTU.
Reacting to this, Reddy said, “This problem has become worse since VTU adopted digital evaluation. This is probably the reason why a former vice-chancellor didn’t allow a team of government-appointed experts to enter the campus to check records. Digital valuation is the best way to mint money, as there are no signatures showing who has revaluated the answer scripts. There is a nexus between a section of students and corrupt VTU officials.“