UPSC Process of Evaluation of Mains Exam Papers

The UPSC Mains results announcement always spawns a mixed bag of emotions among the candidates who took the exam. While some say the results were as per their expectations, others are either pleasantly surprised or downright shocked at the results. A lot of people opine that the UPSC is very secretive about the general process of evaluation of the UPSC civil services exam papers. But in response to an affidavit, the UPSC had revealed its entire evaluation process. The IAS prelims exams are evaluated by a scanner and computer as it is entirely objective in nature. The methodology for evaluation for the UPSC mains papers are explained below:

  • The mains exam papers are manually evaluated by examiners.
  • There is one Head Examiner and many Additional Examiners.
  • All the answer booklets are coded with fictitious numbers before the evaluation process commences.
  • The Head Examiner evaluates random/sample answer sheets before the Examiner’s meeting.
  • Immediately after the Head Examiner evaluates the random answer booklets, the Examiner’s meeting starts. Here, all the examiners discuss the papers and agree on standards and yardsticks to assess and evaluate the papers.
  • Now, each additional examiner is handed a random answer booklet (that was already evaluated by the Head Examiner) for evaluation. Tentative marks are also awarded by the additional examiner. Then, the papers are scrutinized for totaling errors or other errors like missed portion for evaluation, etc., by the scrutiny staff.
  • After this, the Head Examiner meets with each of the additional examiners and compares the evaluation with his own. Reconciliation of marks is done wherever necessary and the final marks are decided and awarded.
  • The evaluation should ideally be uniform after the above steps. But in practice, variations are invariably seen owing to some examiners being strict and some being liberal.
  • To guarantee uniformity, the Head Examiner re-examines a few booklets that each additional examiner had examined. He may then revise or confirm the marks awarded by the additional examiner as the case may be. It is based on this revision that the quantum of marks for moderation for the remaining answer booklets are determined for each examiner.
  • If an additional examiner’s evaluation is deemed too erratic, all the answer booklets allocated to that examiner are re-examined by the Head Examiner or allocated to another examiner whose evaluation standards match the Head’s.
  • Moderation is applied to each candidate based on the above steps.
  • The scrutiny staff constantly checks for totaling errors, etc.
  • Inter-examiner moderation is done to reduce subjectivity in the evaluation because of different examiners. Moderation is also done to reduce subjectivity due to the difference in the optional subjects. It is only after this step that the final marks are awarded to the candidates. In no stage of the evaluation process, the identity of the candidates is revealed.

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