Valuation goof cost many CA qualification : ICAI responds to TOI news

Posted on    08 October 2015

Response to the Item “Valuation goof costs many CA qualification” in the Times of India, Chennai edition of October 6, 2015

News reports have appeared in certain section of the Press alleging poor quality of evaluation of CA examination answer books. 

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has an elaborate system with well established procedures for conducting examinations and takes utmost care in setting of examination papers, conducting the examinations, evaluating the answer books and all other matters pertaining to examinations.

The question papers are set strictly in conformity with the syllabus befitting the standards of CA examination by experts having subject wise specialized knowledge and experience. 

ICAI with more than six decades of well established track record and integrity of the examination system, utilizes the services of examiners who are drawn from reputed professionals academicians, servicing executives, members of the Institute best known for their expertise in the relevant subject for evaluation of answer books. 

The panel of examiners maintained by ICAI Comprises Chartered Accountants, Cost Accountants, Company Secretaries, other professionals, professors, academicians, senior officers of Govt. of India etc. who are experts in the subject, with the right educational qualifications and years of experience in academics/teaching and evaluation.  The examiners carry out evaluation of answer books under the guidance and supervision of a team of subject wise Head Examiner and Associate Head Examiners.  The panel is also augmented from time to time as per the requirements, in keeping with the increasing number of students.  Further, regular workshops are also being conducted to familiarize the new examiners with the evaluation methodology of ICAI.

The examination system of ICAI has adequate checks and balances to ensure that a) the answer books are evaluated in the best possible manner, maintaining consistency and uniformity and b) to ensure that there is absolutely no scope for any kind of bias or undue influence. 

Soon after the examinations are held, the Model solution to the question paper is finalized by an elaborate consultative process amongst the Head Examiners, Associate Head Examiners and the Board of Studies of ICAI.  Examiners are required to evaluate answer books as per the Model Solution, Marking Scheme and detailed instructions given to them by the respective Head Examiner.

Further, the system also provides for elaborate quality control measures for review of the evaluation through random sampling, at two stages, before commencement of evaluation by the examiner and also after completion of the evaluation, by the Head Examiner and the Associate Head Examiner.

Further, the totaling of marks is also checked independently by a CA checker so as to ensure elimination of arithmetical errors in totaling and carrying forward of marks and ensure accuracy.

Representations from the students, public and other stakeholders on the question papers are also taken into consideration before finalizing the results.

It is further stated that evaluation of answer books of the candidates is based on their performance in the examination and their results are driven by their performance in the examination which are evaluated strictly in accordance with the evaluation system in place.

Candidates who appear in CA examinations have the option of applying for verification of their answer books under Regulation 39(4) of the CA Regulations 1988.

The scope of verification of marks includes the following.

• Whether any question or part thereof has remained unvalued
• Whether there is any totalling error in any question or total marks on the cover page

Quality of evaluation and the quantum of marks awarded are outside the scope of the said regulation. 

ICAI also provides certified copies of answer books to examinees under a scheme formulated by it.

Upon receipt of certified copies of answer books, many examinees do raise the issue of improper evaluation of some of their answers.  Some of them challenge the evaluation by comparing their answers with the answers given in the Suggested Answers published by the Institute. 

Suggested Answers are published by the Board of Studies of the Institute for the academic guidance of the students and do not form the basis of evaluation of answer books by examiners.   Answer books are evaluated by the examiners in accordance with the Model Solution, Marking Scheme and the detailed guidelines given to them by the Head Examiner. 

In some questions, examinees are tested for their knowledge of a particular methodology for solving a question whereas they might have solved the question by adopting a methodology different from the one, knowledge of which is being tested, though the answer might be the same, eventually, resulting in either less marks or no marks being awarded.  Under such circumstances, examinees carry a misconception that injustice has been done to them since they have not been awarded the marks that they think they deserve whereas the methodology adopted by them for solving the question is different from the one that is expected of them.

CA is a professional course and at the CA Final level, a candidate is tested for his expert knowledge of the subject and the standards expected are high.

It may be mentioned here that the process of evaluation and verification of the answer books is robust and time tested, being in place for the past 6 decades. It takes into consideration the interests of the candidates with a view to ensure that no injustice is done to any deserving candidate.

Thus, there is no basis for the allegation of irregularities and negligence or valuation goof-up alleged to have been committed by the examiners while evaluating the answer books.

It may be the perception of a particular examinee that he deserves more marks and has been unfairly or improperly failed by the Institute.  It is devoid of any truth.  Exam results of any candidate are a reflection of his performance and ICAI can in no way be faulted for failing a candidate, whose performance has not been found to be up to the mark.  

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