Published: 20th November 2019
MeritTrac is helping institutions secure question papers and tackle malpractice. Here's how
Ambrish Sinha, CEO of MeritTrac, tells us what it takes to secure question papers generated for important exams, including Board exams. and also ways to curb malpractices during exams
Every year, we come across news of question papers being leaked or the photos shared on WhatsApp groups and so on. In order to curb this problem, various state governments have installed cameras and deputed police force. In 2016, the University Grants Commission (UGC) also directed central universities to install jammers around the college campuses to avoid malpractices. But still, this does not seem to be enough. To fight against this, MeritTrac, a platform that provides testing and assessment services, has come up with a new technology that safely secures the question papers for both paper-based and computer-based exams.
Ambrish Sinha, CEO, MeritTrac, considers paper-based exams to be the most sensitive, "There are many chances of question paper leakage when it is paper-based exams. We have formed certain procedures to secure the question papers. Ideally, we build a question bank over a period of time with the help of subject experts. For example, if the questions paper is required to have 100 questions, then we will have a bank of 1,000 questions. We have our own platform where we generate questions papers based on the institution's requirement or format. While the third-party prints the question papers, only a select few are allowed inside the printing press. Mobiles are not permitted inside the printing room either. Only the MeritTrac team facilitates this process."
Ambrish Sinha, CEO, MeritTrac
Aside from this, elaborate packing measures are also put in place. Once the question papers are packed, one cannot open the package. He further explains, "These papers are transported across the country. Even the vehicles in which these question papers are transported are being tracked every second. This tracking system helps us find out if a set of question papers have reached their destination on time or not. Furthermore, the boxes are opened only half an hour before the exams in the exam centre. There are multiple standard operating procedures which the concerned person from the institution will sign for. This is to ensure that the box was delivered tamper-proof and that there was no damage done to it."
Like the paper-based exams, the computer-based exams also have certain security measures that MeritTrac follows. "Here, the question paper is generated only a few hours before the exams. Then, it is pushed to the central server which is later pushed to the local server where the exams are conducted. Even then, the question paper will not get activated immediately. It will get activated only 10 minutes before the exams start. The technology is such that not all computers can read the format of question papers. Only a few computers that are encrypted and synced with MeritTrac's system can read the format of our question papers. Post examination, the answer scripts are again encrypted and this then reaches the central server for assessment," explains Sinha.
Apart from working with central and state governments and educational institutions to conduct the exams, MeritTrac also works with corporate companies in order to help them conduct exams to recruit employees. "We see government institutions as a major vertical and there has been a tremendous push from them to conduct exams in a secured manner. Most of the government exams have been turned into computer-based exams. From conducting the exams to giving them a merit list, we do everything that the government needs. Then, the government takes over the recruitment process," he concludes.
Some of the major question paper leaks in India:
In 2016, Department Of Pre-University Education, Government of Karnataka, faced severe backlash from students as well as parents. Not just once, the PUC II Chemistry paper was leaked twice which lead CID officials to investigate the issue. It was alleged that a few government officials and local agents were involved in this case
On March 30, 2018, CBSE question papers related to two subjects were leaked. While one was the class X Maths paper, the other was the class XII Economics paper. The students who had appeared for the exam had to rewrite the exam