The problem with the grading system Delhi University has used for the first semester of choice-based credit system goes beyond the immediate confusion it has created. In this system of relative grading, rewriting an exam will be akin to rewriting the CAT or the JEE. Even the second time around, the grade will depend on the performance of others.
“Things like re-exams will have no meaning because again the grades will depend on the rest of the batch. This will bring hardship to students, lead to more depression,” argues executive council member and physics teacher Abha Dev Habib. Teachers also argue that considering the wide range of abilities that the extremely diverse student body of DU brings to the class, the system is unfair to both those who have to work hard to do well and those who are already placed well academically. The top students are either being denied top grades or sharing their grade with dozens of others; and those lower down the ranks may fail in spite of scoring above 40 because relative grading has pushed up the pass-score. And since the grade has little to do with the score, students are also finding it difficult to decide whether to go for a re-test. A re-evaluation may not yield any change either.
The stiff competition that relative-grading promotes will also mean students will be even less reluctant to give time to extra-curricular activities and sports than they already do. “With the semester system, the schedule is already very tight. What about those students who’ve taken admission through ECA (extra-curricular activity) or sports quota? Not everyone who comes to DU wants to compete that hard,” observes Dev-Habib.