Open-book exam likely for engineering

If accepted, open book exams will allow students to take notes, textbooks and resource material into an exam hall.

An All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) instituted committee on examination reforms has recommended “open book examination” for engineering programmes. The report is being examined by the AICTE and the HRD ministry. If accepted, open book exams will allow students to take notes, textbooks and resource material into an exam hall.

The panel said the open book system was being proposed as the traditional pattern of examination often led to rote learning. These reforms are part of the systemic changes the apex regulator of technical education is undertaking, including curriculum changes it had undertook recently.

According to the report, the academic quality of examinations and question papers in Indian engineering education system had been a matter of concern for a long time.


The changes suggested by the committee include introduction of educational experiences to teach and assess professional outcomes including open-ended experiments in laboratories and project-based learning modules and internship experiences, among others.

“A wide range of assessment methods (term papers, open ended problem solving assignments, course/lab project rubrics, portfolios) need to be employed to ensure that assessment methods match with learning outcomes,” the report said.

The committee was of the view that open book system was especially useful in testing skills in application, analysis and evaluation. “Open book examination is similar to time constrained written examination but designed in a way that allows students to refer to either class notes, textbooks or other approved material while answering questions so they are less demanding on memory and hence less stressful, questions can emphasise on problem solving, and higher order thinking,” it said.
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Apart from open book exam, the committee also recommended varying difficulty levels of question papers according to the capabilities of students, testing their different cognitive skills.

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