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Role of Internals in Engineering Education!

  •     
              Sanjay Kashi
            Asst. Prof., ECE
                     KITE

       In Schools and Intermediate Examinations, the marks scored by the student are evaluated based on the performance in board examinations only. All the assignments, periodical tests conducted by the colleges serve only as a measure of preparation of the students. However, in engineering courses, evaluation of the performance of students is a shared responsibility between the University to which the college is affiliated and the College in which the student is pursuing engineering degree.

           In fact, in all the professional courses, the model of evaluation is the same with varying levels of the shared responsibilities in terms of marks. This model of evaluation of students is adopted in the professional courses mainly because the faculty teaching the subject has the responsibility to prepare the student for employment readiness and internal marks serve as a mechanism of feedback to the faculty about the abilities of the student and his/her level of understanding the subject.
          In B.Tech courses, a student is evaluated for 25% of the marks by the faculty handling the subject and for 75% by the University. These marks are called internal marks and external marks respectively. Therefore, internal marks play a major role in engineering studies, because the faculty expects the student to perform better. Internal assessment is throughout the semester. It shall be based on internal examinations, assignments (such as home work, problem solving, group discussions, quiz, literature survey, seminar, term project, software exercises etc.) as decided by the faculty handling the course. However there is no credit given by the universities for regularity in attending the class work which is an important parameter in most of the foreign universities and other measures like regularity in the class.

    Assessment in Theory Subjects in JNTU

           Marks allotted for internal continuous assessment and university semester examinations shall be 25 marks and 75 marks respectively with a maximum of 100 marks for each theory subject. The weightage to award internal continuous assessment marks should be as follows:
    Objective Test papers from University (minimum two) - 10%
    Subjective Test papers from College (minimum two) - 10%
    Assignments (minimum two) such as home work, problem solving, group discussions, quiz, literature survey, seminar, term-project, software exercises etc.

    - 5%
    Continuous Evaluation in laboratories
           Laboratories are conducted on a weekly basis as per the regulations applicable to the students. About 0ne-third of the marks in the lab sessions are allocated as internal marks. University has prescribed a test to be conducted for a portion of marks and remaining being awarded for continuous evaluation. For example in JNTU pattern, 25 marks are allocated for lab internal marks out of which, 10 marks are allocated for lab internal test. Though there is no stipulation on how to award the remaining 15 marks, better academic practices must be established by each department. For example, the distribution of marks may consider the following components while awarding these 15 marks:
    a. Regularity of the student in attending the lab sessions
    b. Record work submitted and regularity of submission
    c. Observation book
    d. Viva-Voce
    e. Proper etiquette and dress code
    How important are internal marks?
           Internal marks play a critical role in the evaluation of a student’s performance. They serve the twin purpose of reflecting the confidence level of the student in understanding the subject, his/ her ability to follow what is being taught in the class, apart from reflecting the overall percentage of marks in the subject. While the marks scored by a student in the external examination reflect the performance of the student in terms of pass or fail in that subject, internal marks decide quality of the result in that subject, How important are internal marks can be explained with an analogy. All know that a bike runs with petrol. However, the Vechicle cannot move even an inch if 20-25 ml of lubricant oil is not added to this. What a 20 ml of lubricant oil can do to the bike, can be done by internal marks to the student. To further make the things clear, a comparative table of range of marks in internal Vis-a-Vis external examination is given below. The table illustrates how much internal marks can impact the marks. As can be seen, a decent score in internal test can put the student in 90% and above category. In addition to this, a planned preparation for internal exams can assure a good preparation for the University exam also.
    Range of marks in IA Less than 10 10-15 15-20 20-25
    Range of marks in end Exam 30 marks 40-50 50-60 60-70
    Total Score in the Subject 40 Just Pass 50-65 65-80 80-95
    How to improve your internal marks: A student needs to take some steps so that his/her marks in internal examinations are decent. Following are some guidelines for improving in performance in subjects.
    Regular attendance to the college: Do not miss a class. This ensures that there is continuity of learning and every concept of the subject is understood properly.
    In time submission of assignment: Submit the assignment in time. This ensure the preparation for both internal and external examinations, apart from giving good fundamentals about the subject. Further, it inculcates the sense of punctuality.
    Correct preparations of your seminars: Search for supplementary material on the topic of seminar. Gather information from primary, secondary as well as tertiary sources, prepare a good notes of your understanding, get it evaluated by the faculty and then present it to the group of students as well as faculty. This exercise ensures that the knowledge about the concept is explored, noted, prepared, evaluated and then presented. This gives additional benefit of confident public speaking, excellent communication skills, apart form making score more marks.
    Proper interaction with faculty: Subjects listened to in the class room require further reading when the student gets doubts. All these doubts must be noted and got clarified by the faculty concerned. It is not necessary that doubts be got clarified from the faculty handling the subject only. In fact, it's a good practice to get additional inputs from another faculty as well. Unfortunately, this healthy trend is not seen in practice for various reasons and apprehensions prevailing in the minds of the students.

    Planned preparations for internal exams: A properly planned work plan wherein the student studies each subject twice in a week ensures a comprehensive preparation for all the forms of examination and no special approach to the internal examinations.