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Trends and Issues in Education
“Internal Versus External Examination”
Roll Number: 15061701-005
Master of Philosophy
Dr Bashir Gondal
Department of Education
University of Gujrat
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Internal versus external examination
Internal examination: meaning, nature, merits and demerits
External examination: meaning, nature, merits and demerits
2. Concept of examination……………………………………….………………...1-2
3. Aim of examination system……………………………………….…….............2
4. Qualities of a good examination and eligibity test……………….…………..…3
5. Internal examination / external examination…………………….……………...3-4
6. Disadvantages of internal assessment………………………….…………….…4
7. Process of external assessment conduct…………………….………………….4-5
8. Importance & objectives of external assessment………………….……………5
9. Advantages of external assessment…………………………………………….5-6
10. Disadvantages of external assessment…………………………………………6-7
11. Difference between board exam and school based exam?.................................7
12. Suggestions for improvement of internal and external assessment……...........7-8
13. Supplementary examination…………………………………………………..8
14. Evaluation of the examination system………………………………………..8-9
15. Examination for special purpose…………………….……………………….9
State of the in Pakistan and some other selectedcountries…………………..9
1. Examination system in Pakistan………………………………………….9-11
2. Views of national experts about examination…………………………….11
3. Schedule of examination………………………………………………….11-12
4. Conduct of examination……………………………………….…….……12-13
1. Punjab education commission……………………………...……………..13
2. The examination system in India some problems and their
3. Drawbacks of examination system in India………………………………14-16
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INTERNAL VERSUS EXTERNAL EXAMINATION
1. Internal examination: meaning, nature, merits and demerits
2. External examination: meaning, nature, merits and demerits
The process of educating and examining the growing human child is as old as
man himself. Only its form and method have changed from time to time, the primitive
man was taught by example and tested through confrontation with the actual life
situations. In the early civilized societies formal instruction was limited to a gifted
and selected few: The sage, the philosopher and the religious preceptor taught and
tested orally by questioning the disciple.
For purposes of appraisal usually two terms are used, namely; examination and
evaluation. The term examination aims at ensuring that the matter learnt is adequately
fixed and properly recalled. This is a narrow significance and usually relates to class
room situations in which emphasis is laid on the learning of a few facts and skills. But
the term evaluation has a wider connotation.
It relates to finding out the mental, moral and social changes that have come about in
the personality pattern of a student and are directly affecting his behavior. Evaluation
has a direct reference to the goals of education and therefore, must take into
consideration broader implications which have ramifications into the growth and
development of the personalities of the students.
CONCEPT OF EXAMINATION
“It is He who hath made you (His) agents, inheritors of the earth; He hath raised you
in ranks, some above others; that He may try you in the gifts He hath given you; For
thy Lord is quick in punishment; yet He is indeed oft-forgiving, most Merciful”. (Al-
Quran. vi: 165). Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some
loss in goods or lives or fruits (of you toil). But give glad tidings to those who
patiently persevere (Al-Quran.ii:155).
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The term “examination” is derived from the term “examen” which means the tongue
of a balance, and it is ordinarily used to denote a systematic test of knowledge or
skill, which is carried out under the authority of some public body or conducted by
the teacher themselves (Wilbrink, 1997). It measures the students’ capabilities
against a required standard and determines his skill of answering the questions under
the conditions imposed upon him by the examiner. Examinations tend to check
whether the prescribed objectives are obtained or not. Whether the students has grasp
full command over the contents of education or not, whether the selected method of
teaching is fully worked or not. Thus the examination system remained an integral
part of our teaching learning process.
Examination is a measuring instrument intended to verify both a candidates’ value
and value of teaching he has received. It is an indicator of the training given and
received. It is to measure what has been accomplished during the period of study to
weigh each candidate’s sum of knowledge and appraise his ability. It looks like
target, incentive, motive or stimulant. “It provides motives for the teacher and a spur
for the pupils. Examination conditions and orientates the entire teaching process”
AIM OF EXAMINATION SYSTEM
The aim of our examination system is to judge the achievement of students in
different areas such as personality development, creative thinking, and love for
Islamic values examinations are the only tools for measuring these aspects.
Examinations are frequently employed in order to keep the students constantly
stimulated to high level of achievement. Examination system may be internal or
external. The success of which depends on the reliability and the validity of the
Page and Thomas (1978) explain the concept of examination as “(1) Assessment of
ability, achievement or present performance in a subject (2) instrument of assessment
can be log essay or mixed form of assessment may be used for qualifying for entrance
to professions and higher education.”
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QUALITIES OF A GOOD EXAMINATION AND ELIGIBITY
INTERNAL EXAMINATION / EXTERNAL EXAMINATION
1. To make the completion of the main secondary school courses, examination should
be conducted by teachers themselves who know the pupils and conditions of work
Certificates should be issued under the authority of the school. These schools should
give a full and comprehensive picture of pupils’ achievements in various phases of
school life (Govt. of Pakistan, 1959).
2. The system of examination should be reorganized and the award of certificates be
bases on the performance of the students in the public examination conducted by the
Universities/ Board of Secondary Education (seventy five percent of the total marks)
and school records, including the results of periodic test and also appraisal of his
habits and general behavior (twenty five percent) (Govt. of Pakistan, 1959).
3. The teacher on the notice board as well as in the pupils, progress report, should record
result of periodic tests in the school (Govt. of Pakistan, 1959).
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4. The importance of public examination at the secondary stage should reduce. But to
abolish these examinations at the secondary stage of our educational history will not
serve the purpose (Govt. of West Pakistan, 1969).
5. Boards’ of secondary education may consider the desirability of permitting some
selected school to hold their own examination and these be recognized of corticated
issued by the Boards (Govt. of Pakistan, 1971).
6. The sessional or internal evaluation marks should not be taken into account in a
public examination (Govt. of Pakistan, 1966).
7. The Secondary School Certificate and Higher Secondary School Certificate
Examination should be combination of internal evaluation and public examination.
The scores obtained in both should be recorded side by side on the certificate (Govt.
of Pakistan, 1971).
DISADVANTAGES OF INTERNAL ASSESSMENT
The teachers within the school may give hints to students about internal assessment
so it is not learners are not challenged by the internal assessments. Learners need to
be challenged by the assessments.... but as for external assessments students are
expected to know everything because there is no hint. It requires students to compete.
PROCESS OF EXTERNAL ASSESSMENT CONDUCT
Selection of paper setters and reviewers.
Setting and moderation of question papers.
Printing and packing of question papers confidential nature of printing work.
Selection of examination centers
Appointment of superintendents and invigilators and staff for the fair conduct
of examination at centers.
Supply of stationary to centers.
Distribution of question papers to examinees under the supervision of the
Posting of police personnel at the centers.
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Packing of answer scripts and sending them to Board’s office or examining
Deployment of special squads for checking unfair means.
Assignment of fake of fictitious or secret roll numbers to answer books at the
On the spot evaluation at some specified centers where head examiner and
examiners mark the scripts.
IMPORTANCE & OBJECTIVES OF EXTERNAL ASSESSMENT
To award the students with Degree/Certificate
To maintain standard of education
To place the students in merit.
For Comparison of student’s abilities
To evaluate the progress of Institution
Selection for Higher education
To get employment
Popularity/Standard of educational institution.
Selection of intelligent students.
Evaluation of teacher’s performance
Evaluation of objectives and curriculum.
Creation of good habits in students
Satisfaction and happiness of parents
ADVANTAGES OF EXTERNAL ASSESSMENT
1. External assessment helps in developing competent person from practicing.
2. It justifies the decision as to whether they should move up to the next class or
be awarded a degree or diploma.
3. External assessment is useful in determining the abilities of a student before
developing a plan.
4. External assessment is designed to detect and locate faults and problems
which often are overseen by internal systems
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5. The vital advantage of an external assessment is that it makes easier to
compare diverse situation and conditions and articulate their judgments about
the equality of measures.
6. It also assists in following positive values.
7. A team of experienced assessors leads you through the structured review of
how well students are doing, bringing fresh perspective and objectivity to the
8. Performance in educational institutes is increasingly judged on the basis of
effective learning outcomes.
9. External assessment provides Information which is critical to know whether
the School system is delivering good performance and to providing feedback
for improvement in student outcomes.
10. External assessment is the best way to evaluate and revaluate the course of
11. It can be used as a good device for motivating students.
12. It brings about a change in the attitude, interests and appreciation of students
and teachers towards school programmes.
DISADVANTAGES OF EXTERNAL ASSESSMENT
1. Much narrower range of assessment opportunities: less diverse assessment;
one exam per year.
2. Removes assessment entirely from teaching and learning; stressful conditions
may lead to students not demonstrating real capacities.
3. Limits validity by limiting scope of assessment, e.g. difficult to assess
interaction skills in exam environment.
4. Even with double marking, examiner’s judgments can be affected by various
factors (task difficulty, topic, interest level, tiredness, etc); little opportunity
for assessor reflection / review.
5. Fairness can only be achieved by treating everyone the same, i.e. setting the
same task at the same time for all students.
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6. The only feedback is usually a grade at the end of the course; no opportunities
for interaction with assessor; no chance to ask how to improve.
7. Examination is purely summative, and does not serve any teaching-related
purpose; effects on teaching and learning may even be negative; may
encourage teaching to the test and a focus on exam technique, rather than
8. Teachers play little to no role in assessment of their students and have no
opportunity to share their expertise or knowledge of their students; students
treated as numbers.
9. Teachers have no opportunity to build their assessment skills; get little or no
feedback on how to improve as teachers.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BOARD EXAM AND SCHOOL BASED EXAM?
Board exams: In board exam the question paper is prepared by the respective board, and
the checking of the copies are done by the teacher appointed by the respective board.
School Based Exam: In school based system the question paper is prepared by the
school by the advice of board, and the checking of copies are done in school itself
followed by the cross checking of the same board school within a city.
In school based system the question paper is prepared by the school by the advice of
board, and the checking of copies are done in school itself followed by the cross checking
of the same board school within a city. The difference between school based exams and
board exams is that the school based exams are the internal exams conducted by the
individual schools at the school level and the exam papers are evaluated by the school
teachers whereas in board exams the exams are conducted by the respective board at the
state or national level and the exams are evaluated by the any other school teachers.
SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT OF INTERNAL AND
Employees of examining bodies to be controlled
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Secrecy sections should be fool proof
Appointment of Examiners
Change in examination point of view, It should not be objective, It should be
mean to achieve objectives
Reform in question papers
Marking of Answer Scripts
Ban on helping books and guess papers
Amalgamation of Internal and External exam
Oral test should be taken
Amalgamation of subjective and objective type test
Record of students
Question paper should be based on curriculum rather than text book
1. Supplementary/compartmental examination should be available only for those
students who fail in on e subject should appear in the next regular examination (Govt.
of Pakistan, 1966).
2. Those who fail in the terminal examination should be allowed to appear as external
students. After three attempts, they should be declared to have passed and marks
obtained be shown on the certificates, diplomas or degrees (Govt. of Pakistan, 1973).
3. if a student does not score satisfactory marks in a subject or subjects in public
examination in the subject or subjects any number o f times. However, if the
performance of a student in not satisfactory in the, internal assessment, as considered
by the head of the institution, he should not be allowed to take public examination
(Govt. of Pakistan, 1977).
EVALUATION OF THE EXAMINATION SYSTEM
1. The credibility of examination results has been grossly eroded due to large scale,
2. The basic purpose of most students to pass the examination is to obtain high marks
by fair or foul means.
3. The current system defeats basic targets of education which are acquisition of
understanding and application of knowledge.
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4. The pattern of question papers with wide range of choice encourages and facilitates
selective study and rote reading rather than understanding and application.
5. The type of question papers develop unhealthy practices such as proliferation of
guide books, made easies, guess papers and tuition work.
6. Malpractices, cheating and even terrorization can be indulged in without adequate
7. There is little protection provided to the personnel concerned with various stages of
EXAMINATION FOR SPECIAL PURPOSE
A system of general and special aptitude examination for the specific purpose of
selecting persons for admission to professional institute for awarding scholarships and
for recruitment to all cadres of service should be introduced (Govt. of Pakistan, 1979)
Establishment of Bureau of Examination
All Pakistan Commission be appointed to survey the prevailing practices of
examinations at various levels and its recommendations should be implemented. The
Central Govt. set up the Bureau of Examination. This Bureau should have a branch in
each province (Govt. of West Pakistan, 1969, Govt. of Pakistan, 1975).
Admission to the post secondary institutes should be based on (a) S.S.C Certificate
(b) cumulative record up to class X and (c) entrance test and interview by the
institution concerned. Requirement for admission to different types of courses should
also be specified by them (Govt. of West Pakistan, 1969).
3. STATE OF THE IN PAKISTAN AND SOME OTHER
EXAMINATION SYSTEM IN PAKISTAN
Education is the most neglected department in Pakistan and our country has paid a
high cost for neglecting education. Different education systems are working in this
country which not only divides our nation but the standard of education and our
country position in the comity of nations is declining day by day. Our education
system is producing literate fool. According to page 89 of “Human Development
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Report” issued by the United Nations Development Program in 1997 Pakistan
number in the ranking of human development profile is 139 out of 175 countries of
the world (UNDP, 1997). This report is depicting a drastic picture of our country in
term of human development. This drastic picture can be changed through
development of human resources, improvement in the quality of education
particularly higher education system and improvement in examination system.
System of examination is also an integral part of education system. Our present
examination system is defective.
At present different examination systems are used in our country to test the mental
ability of the students, to evaluate the work of students and to promote the students in
next grades. But three systems of examinations are commonly used in our country in
Universities at postgraduate level i.e. internal system of examination, external system
of examination and combination of internal and external system of examination.
The examination which is conducted by the educational institutions themselves or
examination which is conducted by the teachers themselves, in order to assess the
progress and achievements of their students at different stages in their course is called
internal examination. The examination which is conducted by the external agencies
or the examination which is conducted by outside authority, having no direct relation
with teaching of the examinee, sets questions and evaluates the answers is called
Both systems of examinations have some positive and weak points. The teachers
denounce the external system of examination for its harmful influence on school
work, the parents pointed out its injurious effect on the physical and mental health of
the children. The practical psychologists say that this system is unreliable and invalid
and the educational theorist says that this type of examination is lack of definiteness
in aim and purpose, therefore this system of examination has been called a number of
bad names. Some dub it a necessary evil; some label it as in cubs the enemy of true
education, a bloodsucker, a glorification of memory, begetter of rivalry and strife.
M.E Saddler & P.J Hartog (1936) sated “no element in the structure of our national
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education occupies at the present moment more public attention that our system of
Fagerlind (1992) points outs, while low reliability necessarily involves low validity,
most of the times the questions set in papers do not always touch essentials of the
subjects, which the pupils may be expected to learn. Sometimes both the
measurements might test the same thing; it can easily be tested by one question. In
nutshell there should be variety in questions. This is considerable evidence that public
examination conducted by the external agencies exercise a profound influence on the
material of instruction in institutions, on the methods of teaching of science subjects
and consequently on the pupils mode of thinking, studying and even writing.
The supporters of the internal examination says that best people who examine the
candidates in specific public examinations are the teachers who teach them and who
know their pupils, who are able to distinguish the essential from the non-essential
parts of the course of study, and to take account of individual interest of the pupils,
the actual condition of the school works and the special feature and needs of
respective localities. In internal system of examination the teacher works as a guide
and friend and it puts a great responsibility on him. The critics say that in internal
examination system, sometimes nepotism, prejudice, likes and dislikes are on highest
level (Ballard P.B, 1923).
VIEWS OF NATIONAL EXPERTS ABOUT EXAMINATION
Examination system has been one of the burning issues with the large number of
Committees, Commissions and Conferences. The recommendations of these were
reviewed under the following headings to suggest ways and means to improve the
system of examination.
SCHEDULE OF EXAMINATION
1. All Boards, by regulation should fix the dates of their respective examination and
announce them soon after the commencement of the new academic year. In the case
of natural calamities and other extraordinary circumstances, special examination be
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held for them in prevented from taking regular examination (Govt. of Pakistan, 1966,
2. The grouping of subject in the date sheets should be so revised as to reduce the
number of examination days (Govt. of Pakistan, 1973).
CONDUCT OF EXAMINATION
1. Supervisory staff should be carefully selected in consultation with or on the
recommendation of the employing agencies (Govt. of West Pakistan, 1969. Govt. of
2. Only these centers, where necessary facilities are provided should be approved the
Board for holding examination (Govt. of West Pakistan, 1969, Govt. of Pakistan,
3. Heads of institutions where examination centers are located should be the principal
supervisors of the centers. They may be allowed recruit invigilation staff from
amongst trusted teachers and should be solely responsible for proper conduct of
examination (Govt. of Pakistan, 1971, 1978).
4. To ensure effective invigilation, the number of invigilators should be increased to
maintain a ratio of 1:20 (Govt. of Pakistan, 1971).
5. Examination agencies should compensate the supervisory staff for any damages they
might suffer in performing their examination duties. In view of the personal danger to
invigilators in the honest discharge of their function, the Board should consider
framing rules, which would enable them to take action on the basis of confidential
reports from invigilators (Govt. of Pakistan, 1971).
6. Action should be prescribed against persons who create disturbance in or outside the
examination hall (Govt. of Pakistan, 1971).
7. Instead of paying D.A. to the supervisory staff, the rate of their remuneration be
increased by 50% and they should be paid only T.A (Govt. of Pakistan, 1971).
8. Examination should be held during holidays from the 2nd week of March to 2nd week
of April every year (Govt. of Pakistan, 1978).
9. Cases of unfair means should be dealt with seriously. If any teacher is found to be
assisting in the use of unfair means, he should be proceeded against for removal from
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services and declared unqualified to act as a teacher in any institution (Govt. of West
10. The conduct of examination at centers where conditions for holding examinations are
not conducive may be entrusted to a senior administrative officer who should be
given adequate authority and power to deal with the situation properly (Govt. of
Pakistan, 1971, 1988).
PUNJAB EDUCATION COMMISSION
o The Government of the Punjab has established Punjab Education Commission
so that they may improve the examination process at elementary level. The
objectives of the whole process for improving the examination system are as
o Improvement in teaching and learning with respect to each of the examination
o Making clear that at different class level, the students have grasped a
comprehension of the concepts
o Monitoring the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery.
o Facilitating the bench marking of students’ achievement
o Monitoring equity of student outcomes with reference to rural/urban and
o Evaluating the existing curricula and textbooks
o Monitoring the whole education programme
o Providing information regarding the selection of the students to proceed to the
o Providing ability to monitor students’ progress over time
o Facilitating judgments about the quality of examination papers and
examination process (UNICEF, 2005a).
The examination system in India – some problems and their
At a cursory glance there are plenty of things that could be said to be wrong with the
education system in India. To start with education in India does not cover each and
every child in the country. Then there is the ever increasing gap between the
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government owned institutions and the private ones as far as factors like quality and
facilities are concerned. However, there is one issue that has always escaped the
notice of the stakeholders – the common people, the authorities, the teachers and also
the students perhaps and that is the system of exams in India.
Drawbacks of Examination System in India
One of the major problems with the Indian education system, as it stands now, is the
way examinations are being conducted. It has been the same over the years where the
students have went to an examination hall, then given an examination in a short time
where they are supposed to give their best with respect to the questions that they face
and then waited for the results. Quite often it has been seen that guys who have
prepared all the year have suffered nerves on the big day or some other problem and
then had a poor exam while someone who got questions he or she was acquainted
with had a terrific examination and then basically had a good result.
The biggest problem is that there is way too much question of chance involved over
here – anything could happen and that could unsettle even the best of students. In
order to offset this problem we are nowadays seeing new systems being introduced
such as mid-term or semester examinations and unit tests. All these are better as they
provide students with a lighter schedule that allows them to branch out to other areas
of life such as sports and extracurricular pursuits such as music or drawing which is
where their main talent lies. However, the major problem with this scenario is that it
encourages students to study for marks and remember things for the short term – only
to forget them by the time the next examination happens.
The main purpose of education is to educate students and help them appreciate the
better points of the knowledge that is being imparted to them. However, that seems to
have been shortchanged right now with the added emphasis on grades and marks. The
system needs to be one that enables students to truly learn what they are being taught
and internalize it and not just mug it up for a few days or months. It needs to be more
long term than what the situation is at present. At the same time it also needs to be
practical so that the students’ abilities are properly tested.
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One way out of this could be a project or assignment like system where the students
are given tasks they can complete at home and they can be given sufficient periods of
time to complete them like a couple of days. This system will ensure that students
devote quality time behind their studies and also eliminate any excuse or reason for
The second way out would to be introduce the major and minor system that is already
in operation from the higher levels of education in the lower levels like the 6th
standard for example.
In the novel “A Study in Scarlet” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes tells
John Watson that it is futile to know too many things if one is not going to use them.
Wouldn’t it be really beneficial for students interested in Einstein and Gay-Lusac’s
Law to devote more time to them than to study how Shakespeare interpreted life?
It is important to prepare students for the future instead of having them know too
many things that they may not use in the future. The 6th standard is the time when
students move on to what is known as high school in India. At this stage the school
can have a discussion with the parents on the subjects he has performed well in and
hold interviews with them as well as the students and suggest the subject where he or
she is likely to excel in future. However, they also need to be given good time so that
they can take a proper decision as such.
The suggestions could be based on the grades that have been achieved by the students
so far. He can also study the other subjects but they can be treated as minor subjects
and any mark that is additional to the one needed to pass the subject can be added to
the main tally. This will ensure that the students enjoy what they are studying and
there is no undue pressure on them to perform well in each and every subject. With a
relaxed attitude questions of peer pressure and parental pressure may not also be
Not many know that India is one of the top countries in the world when it comes to
student suicide and given the breakneck nature of present day life things may only get
worse a few years down the line. Perhaps it is the duty of the ones in power as well as
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the parents and teachers in India to make sure that such incidents are less in number
and we have a young generation that is doing what it loves to do rather than trying to
achieve something that is clearly beyond its capabilities and then fail and end oneself
while trying to get to that impossible aim.
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