As part of the choice-based credit system (CBCS) in Delhi University’s undergraduate courses, Students would have to score more than 100% marks to get the top ‘O’ grade (‘outstanding’) in some subjects under the “relative grading” system that is introduced. It is one of the many bizarre anomalies noticed in the first semester results and confirmed by the university’s exam branch officials. This system was designed by the University Grants Commission to convert absolute marks awarded by examiners into letter grades and grade points, as required by CBCS.
The UGC-devised formulae was used to do the marks-to-grade conversion. It compromises the mean score in an exam and fixed multiples of the standard deviation (value changes with paper) to assign score ranges called ‘windows’ to each letter grade (O, A, A+ etc). For a student to get an ‘O’, their score has to be equal to or greater than the sum of the mean and 2.5 times the standard deviation — a formula that has made ‘O’ unachievable to students of Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences and Biochemistry. Those teachers who figured this out believe the problem may extend to other subjects — especially the sciences and less-subscribed optional papers and subjects, as batch-size matters for normalization.
A student’s grade is linked with the performance of examinees across DU and has little left to do with individual performance, thus the results have led to massive confusion. As per the rule, marksheets state only one grade per paper — exam, practical test and internal assessment taken together. However the application form for re-evaluation, however, still demands marks in theory papers which is adding to the confusion. Any new system comes with its bag of disadvantages but we can hope that such irregularities are soon sorted out.
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