It all started when the Institute released two lists of pass students for CA Finals in Nov 2017 exams. Students were in fix whether they cleared or did not clear the CA Examination. Students raised the issue before ICAI but didn’t receive any satisfactory response from their side.
However, after May 2018 CA Final and IPCC results, a lot of students again raised the issue of discrepancies in their marks and errors in the answer sheets checked.
A lot of faculties raised the student concerns and the pertinent issues on social media platforms and demanded reforms in the present ICAI Examination system.
Post this, on 10th September 2018, ICAI released a notification forming a group to reevaluate the present examination system. This group will help raise student issues and find their most feasible solutions for improving the present system of examination.
Now, I understand that it’s about time that we talk about reforms required in the evaluation process by ICAI. It’s not the first time when we are talking about changes and improvements in the ICAI procedures and required transparency for evaluation of answer sheets by ICAI.
Let’s get straight into what are the changes that we expect from ICAI:
1. Standardization in Evaluation:
One of most important things needed in CA Exams and their evaluation is the need of standard marking scheme, proper standards of exam evaluation and set of clear and strict guidelines for examiners assessing student answer sheets.
Standardization should also include clear marking procedure for right answers, stepwise checking and proper review of answers checked by examiners.
Because when we talk about standards we have everything in place such as Auditing Standards, Accounting Standards but there’s serious need of Exam Checking Standards which are still not there. At present, there is no standard or scheme, publically available, to help students know how their answer sheets are evaluated and how they can correct their mistakes from the same.
2. Review of the Checked Answer Sheets:
It’s not a new thing that mistakes were found in the evaluation done in the answer sheets. But still, it is ICAIs responsibility to review, recheck and confirm the quality of the checking done by examiners.
Every now and then you will find answer sheets shared on social media with discrepancies in the checking even for completely correct answers. Using whiteners and making corrections in the answer sheets is not a new thing. In the end, this all will result to a degraded reputation of the profession and less number of students enrolling in future.
3. Following International Exam Patterns and Standards:
Most of the National and International Exams are conducted in Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) mode then why can’t we conduct CA Examinations through similar mode. It will clearly help reducing the human biasedness involved in the checking and will make the evaluation process more transparent.
4. Making a Center Specific Location for Evaluating all the answer sheets:
All the big examination boards like CBSE and other examination bodies maintain a specific location as a center to Invite all the examiners at one place and check all the answer sheets. This totally works as Quality Check for the evaluation done by the examiner.
5. Allowing students to apply for rechecking of their answer sheets:
Whether its CBSE Examinations or any other professional examinations, candidates are always allowed to demand reverification / rechecking of their notebooks specifying the question that they want to be rechecked.
6. Transparency in Evaluation Process:
As Chartered Accountants, we all are taught to be Independent and Unbiased. We’re taught to be maintain proper transparency in our work but where is the transparency in the marks awarded to students on what basis?
For same answer, two different students, are being given different marks. Even when answers are similar to what is given in the Suggested Answers.
7. Proper Grievance Redressal Mechanism:
You, as a student, make a call to any student department of the Institute and get a machine like a reply “server’s down” or “this is not the right department/number, please call xyz number”, “your query is irrelevant” or something similar reply. For emails, it gets even better, considers yourself lucky if you get back a reply from the Institute.
It’s time that ICAI takes the issue more seriously and creates a proper grievance mechanism for all the student-related issues.
At the end, we would say that Now, It’s time. It’s time for ICAI to change. It’s time to be more transparent about checking procedures followed, marking scheme followed. It’s time to be more standardized in terms of evaluation procedures and guidelines for examiners. It’s time to answer all the right questions in a student’s mind which are there because of obsolete evaluation structure.
If you’re a student or someone who aspires to be a Chartered Accountant, then please share it with your friends and make your voice heard to the Institute.
The article has been written by Prajjwal Kaushik who is a Chartered Accountant and currently working as Assistant Editor with CAclubindia.com.