Process of scaling of marks

Dear Editor,
Through the columns of your esteemed daily, I would like to highlight the process of scaling of marks in UPSC optional (mains), which APPSC can adopt to do away with discrepancy in awarding marks in arts and descriptive science subjects.
The methods of marks moderation for the optional paper in UPSC are described below:
The personnel engaged in evaluation of answer script consist of Head examiner and other examiners. The head examiner is also the paper setter. If the numbers of papers to be examined are less than 350, the head examiner checks all the copies but if the number exceeds this limit then for each additional 300 copies, an additional examiner is appointed. The head examiner convenes a meeting of all the examiners in the UPSC premises within seven days of the conduct of an optional subject. All of them are asked to prepare model answers for all parts and sub parts of the question paper. These questions and answers are then thoroughly discussed. At the end of the discussion, the head examiner with the consensus of the additional examiners issues final guidelines.
After this the examiners examine all the copies within a specific time frame. Once this is over, all the copies are arranged in vertical stacks (examiner-wise) with the head examiner. The head examiner then conducts a sample survey.
In the sample survey, he chooses 20 copies from each stack (examiner). These 20 copies are – 5 which scored the highest in the stack; 5 which scored the lowest in the stack and 10 selected randomly. The head examiner then conducts upward or downward moderation of the marking of these copies, if the need be. If the discrepancy or deviation in any of the stack(s) is found erratic, he moderates the entire stack then.
Once the subject scrutiny is over the UPSC resorts to a statistical process known as normative linear regression and brings all the subjects on a common plane.
This is a snapshot of scaling process in optional subjects in UPSC. If APPSC adhere to it in letter and spirit, outstanding result could be achieved. In 2011 mains, many sociology students got above 140 marks. But the same students got 80-100 average marks in the 2015 mains. Many reported that their performance was better in 2015 than in 2011 mains. Obviously, moderation brought down their marks. But it was done for progressive good and to give level playing field to all the other optional subjects. I suffered the same fate by opting sociology as one of the optional in 2011 and 2015. Sociology was only subject that was regarded as high marks fetching subject for the arts students. But moderation has curtailed the scope of sociology in particular and arts graduate in general.
In this regard I request our commission to look into the matter and make proper and just scaling of marks of all the subjects like it did to sociology. However, subjects like maths, engineer, statistics; accountancy is different ball game all together where the final answer is the final score. With competent person like Taloh as the chairman of APPSC, we can expect a positive change very soon.
Civil service aspirant



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