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Views: 14531 | 08-08-07, 05:38 PM #1
IIT math: one query, 4 answers
New Delhi, Aug. 7: The Indian Institutes of Technology still cannot explain the method they followed in setting the admission criteria in 2006 — a whole year after the process.
They have so far given four answers, some contradictory and some impossible to verify.
The Telegraph had on Monday reported an allegation by some candidates’ parents that the IITs had flouted their stated procedure — divulged under the Right to Information Act (RTI) — for setting the cut-off marks for physics, chemistry and math.
That procedure was one of two contradictory explanations the IITs have given the parents. They have now given a third explanation to Calcutta High Court, where one parent has challenged the 2006 admissions.
An IIT administrator involved with the 2006 Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) took position No. 4 when contacted by The Telegraph. He said “some fixed process had to exist” but had no idea what it was.
Replying to the parents’ RTI application last December, five months after the exam was over, the IITs had said there was “no fixed procedure” to determine cut-off marks. That reply was issued by D. Gunasekaran, registrar of IIT Kharagpur, the institute that oversaw the implementation of JEE 2006.
The second answer came five months later after the Central Information Commission (CIC) intervened. The parents were given a definite formula, explained in this newspaper on Monday.
Calculations based on that formula — and checked by this newspaper — show the cut-offs for physics, chemistry and math should have been 22, 26 and 24. But the cut-offs the IITs had actually used were 48, 55 and 37. They had also set an aggregate cut-off of 154.
The explanation to the high court tries to address this problem by offering a slightly amended version: formula II.
According to this, the marks of students who scored zero or less in any subject — the JEE awards negative marks for wrong answers — were not considered while determining the subject cut-offs. This would raise the cut-offs.
But one cannot verify if formula II exactly explains the gap between the official cut-offs and the parents’ cut-offs unless the IITs reveal the marks scored in each subject by all two lakh candidates.
The institutes had flatly refused to do so when the parents asked for it under RTI, later releasing only the marks of the top 32,000 under CIC pressure.
Several independent statisticians told this newspaper that neither formula I (the one provided under CIC pressure) nor formula II “seems feasible”. Both methods could —and probably would — allow the majority of candidates who sat the exam to qualify.
This is because either formula would let in “nearly 70 per cent” of the candidates considered while calculating the subject cut-offs, said Anish Sarkar, who teaches at the Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi.
Ravindra Bapat, who heads ISI Delhi, and his Chennai-based colleague B.L.S. Prakash Rao gave a slightly different figure: “definitely over 50 per cent”.
Since the first formula considers all two lakh who sat the exam (as explained in Monday’s report), this means up to 1.40 lakh students could make the subject cut-offs. The second formula only leaves out those with negative scores, and unless their number runs into several tens of thousands, even this amended procedure would not help.
Since the IITs cannot have known in advance how many students would end up with negative marks, why would they choose this method prior to the exam, the experts asked.
With such huge numbers clearing the subject cut-offs, it would be the aggregate cut-off — based on the around 6,000 seats available — that alone would make the difference.
Why should the IITs then set subject cut-offs at all, saddling themselves with a useless and cumbersome intermediate process, the statisticians asked.
A selection process that initially weeds out less than 50 per cent seems incongruent with the objective of choosing 6,000 students, which is just 3 per cent, they said.
Shishir Dube, who headed the Joint Admission Board that decided the policies for JEE 2006, initially said the cut-offs were set by another body, the Joint Implementation Committee.
When told that all policy matters are decided by the board, the former IIT Kharagpur director agreed that a definite procedure “must” exist.
“But that must have been set before my time (as board chief). We didn’t decide any procedure,” said Dube, now a faculty member at IIT Delhi.
Gunasekaran declined comment.
06-01-08, 04:53 AM #2
Explain JEE cut-offs, CIC warns IIT
How does the IIT-JEE, one of the most respected competitive examinations in the world, determine who makes the cut-off for admission?
In response to notices sent by the Central Information Commission (CIC) on an RTI application, IIT authorities have given conflicting versions, putting the JEE under a cloud.
CIC member O P Kejariwal has threatened to take an "extremely serious" view if IIT Kharagpur, which conducted the JEE in 2006, did not disclose by January 15 how exactly it had calculated the cut-off marks in that test in each of the three subjects: mathematics, physics and chemistry.
This is the third non-compliance notice issued by CIC to IIT Kharagpur, which was found to have given two different versions of the statistical procedure for the cut-off. Worse, neither of those versions was found to tally with the cut-off marks admittedly applied in the 2006 IIT-JEE.
As per the system, every year a different IIT conducts the JEE by rotation but now RTI has put a question mark on the credibility of what is considered a global brand.
Consider the sequence of events that led to such a pass:
NEW DELHI: 6 Jan 2008
- In October 2006, the parent of an unsuccessful candidate filed RTI applications asking for cut-off marks, procedure for arriving at them and marks of the students above the cut-off marks in the IIT-JEE held that year.
- -In December '06, IIT Kharagpur gave an evasive reply saying there was "no fixed procedure or technique" for deciding the cut-off marks. It said the decision is made each year "depending on the overall performance of the candidates".
- -In May 2007, after hearing an appeal filed by the aggrieved parent, CIC directed IIT Kharagpur to disclose all the information sought under RTI and issued notice on why penalty should not be imposed for its failure to do so till then.
- -The same month, IIT Kharagpur, besides disclosing the cut-off marks and marks of the students above those levels in each of the subjects in the 2006 JEE, came up with the first version of the procedure for arriving at the cut-offs.
- -In June 2007, CIC issued a non-compliance notice as the stated procedure did not tally with the cut-off marks.
- -In July 2007, IIT Kharagpur said the information provided by it was correct.
- -In August 2007, CIC issued a second non-compliance notice.
- -The same month, IIT Kharagpur came up with a second version of the procedure for determining the cutoff marks.
- -In September 2007, CIC closed the case on the basis of the second version.
- -In October 2007, the appellant asked CIC to reopen the case saying that even the second version did not tally with the cut-off marks.
- -On December 7, CIC, reopening the case, directed IIT Kharagpur to comply with its directions "in full" by January 15.
Manoj Mitta ,TNN
06-01-08, 09:55 AM #3
Re: Explain JEE cut-offs, CIC warns IIT
Here is a more detailed version of the same story.
IIT-Kharagpur puts JEE under cloud
New Delhi: How does the Indian Institute of Technology’s Joint Entrance Exam, IIT-JEE, one of the most respected competitive examinations in the world, determine who makes the cut-off for admission? In response to notices sent by the Central Information Commission (CIC) on an RTI application, the IIT authorities have given conflicting versions, putting the JEE under a cloud.
CIC member O P Kejariwal has threatened to take “extremely serious” view if IIT-Kharagpur, which conducted the JEE in 2006, did not disclose by January 15 how exactly it had calculated the cut-off marks in that test in each of the three subjects: Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry.
This is the third time CIC issued a non-compliance notice to IIT-Kharagpur, which was found to have given two different versions of the statistical procedure for the cut-off marks. And, worse, neither of those versions was found to have tallied with the cut-off marks admittedly applied in the 2006 IIT-JEE.
The system, in which every year a different IIT conducts the JEE by rotation, is hard pressed to come clean on the procedure for cut-off marks as RTI has put a question mark on the credibility of what is considered to be a global brand. Consider the sequence of events that led to such a pass:
In October 2006, a parent of an unsuccessful candidate filed RTI applications asking for cut-off marks, procedure for arriving at them and marks of the students above the cut-off marks in the IIT-JEE held that year.
In Dec. 06, IIT-Kharagpur gave an evasive reply saying there was “no fixed procedure or technique” for deciding the cut-off marks. It said the decision is made each year “depending on the overall performance of the candidates.”
In May 2007, after holding a hearing on an appeal filed by the aggrieved parent, CIC directed IIT-Kharargpur to disclose all the information sought under RTI and issued notice on why penalty should not be imposed on its failure to do so till then.
The same month, IIT-Kharagpur, besides disclosing the cut-off marks and marks of the students above those l evels in each of the subjects in the 2006 JEE, came up with first version of the procedure for arriving at the cut-off marks.
In June 2007, CIC issued a non-compliance notice as the stated procedure did not tally with the cut-off marks.
In July 2007, IIT-Kharagpur dug its heels in saying that the information provided by it was correct.
In August 2007, CIC issued a second non-compliance notice.
The same month, IIT-Kharagpur came up with a second version of the procedure for determining the cut-off marks.
In September 2007, CIC closed the case on the basis of the second version.
In October 2007, the appellant asked CIC to reopen the case saying that even the second version did not tally with the cut-off marks.
On December 7, CIC, reopening the case, directed IIT-Kharagpur to comply with its directions “in full” by January 15.
How the two official versions of calculating the cut-off marks for IIT JEE 2006 submitted consecutively before CIC were found to be conflicting and erroneous
The cut-off marks were stated to be 37, 48 and 55 for Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry respectively.
The first version of the procedure given in May 2007 for arriving at those figures was given as “mean marks minus one standard deduction.” But the cut-off marks by this method work out to 24, 18 and 22, respectively.
When those discrepancies were pointed out, IIT came up with the second version in August 2007 claiming that for this computation, “only scores of those candidates who have secured minimum one mark in each of the three subjects have been considered.”
But it was found that even this method of calculation led to some other cut-off marks — 24, 22 and 26, respectively. This puts a question mark on the credibility of the famed IIT-JEE as the administration has yet not been able to provide a scientific explanation for why the cut-off marks in the 2006 examination for Mathematics, for instance, was as low as 37 while they were as high as 55 in the case of Chemistry
Last edited by karira; 06-01-08 at 09:56 AM.
06-01-08, 01:33 PM #4
Re: Explain JEE cut-offs, CIC warns IIT
I believe all such procedure should be the part of the prospectus only so that the candidate knows in advance what is coming.RTI India Network Staff Member
10-01-08, 10:52 AM #5
Re: Explain JEE cut-offs, CIC warns IIT
I wud like u to keep us informed of the latest developments in this case as i myself am a qualified candidate of JEE-2007 and hence, am very much interested in this case...
Thanx again for highlighting this case...
17-01-08, 07:42 PM #6
Re: Explain JEE cut-offs, CIC warns IIT
As reported by CHARU SUDAN KASTURI in The Telegraph on January 16, 2008
The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Nation | IITs keep cover on cutoff formula
IITs keep cover on cutoff formula
CHARU SUDAN KASTURI
New Delhi, Jan. 15: The IITs today refused to provide complete data on their controversial 2006 admissions under the Right to Information Act, citing an argument that the country’s transparency watchdog has repeatedly called invalid.
The Central Information Commission (CIC) is likely to call a special hearing where the Indian Institutes of Technology may face embarrassing questions and a possible fine, sources said.
On August 6, 2007, The Telegraph had reported the wide mismatch between the highest possible cutoffs calculated using the IITs’ own formula and the ones actually used in the 2006 Joint Entrance Examination.
The parents of that year’s applicants had used the act to obtain the formula and had noticed the discrepancy. Statisticians had confirmed the findings for this newspaper.
However, at Calcutta High Court, which some parents approached, the IITs presented a formula different from the one they had disclosed under the act. This formula, too, does not entail the cutoffs used in 2006, the statisticians confirmed.
When the parents asked the IITs to explain the sudden change in formula, the institutes told the CIC they could not reveal any more information since the matter was in court. The new statement came in response to a “non-compliance” notice from the commission.
The CIC had clarified in 2006 that public authorities could not withhold information using this argument.
Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act says: “Information which cannot be denied to Parliament or a state legislature shall not be denied to any person.”A sub judice matter cannot be revealed before legislatures; but the CIC has repeatedly clarified that the RTI Act doesn’t lay down the converse. So, information that cannot be disclosed to legislatures is not exempt from disclosure under the act.
17-03-08, 09:45 AM #7
Re: Explain JEE cut-offs, CIC warns IIT
As reported by Manoj Mitta on timesofindia.com on 17 March 2008:
Global brand IIT is losing its mark
New Delhi: For all its reputation as one of the toughest competitive examinations in the world, there is a dramatic fall in the standard of IIT-JEE. Or so it seems from the steep fall in the cut-off marks of each of the three subjects in the last examination as compared with those of the previous one.
In 2006, the cut-off marks in mathematics, physics and chemistry were 37, 48 and 55, respectively. The corresponding marks for IITJEE 2007, in a bizarre twist, went down as low as 1, 4 and 3. Shocking as they are, the figures were kept under wraps in order to protect the credibility of IITs, a global brand. The authorities have, however, been forced to disclose the cut-off marks thanks to applications under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The reduction of cut-off marks to single digit figures has made a mockery of the concept, which is meant to ensure that selected candidates displayed a certain minimum level of knowledge in each of the three subjects. This has opened up the possibility of students making it to the merit list of IITJEE despite scoring nearly zero in the crucial test in mathematics. The fall in the cut-off marks in last year’s examination defies logic as the overall performance of candidates actually went up. This is evident from the fact that the aggregate of the last candidate to have been selected in 2007 is 206, which is up from 154 the previous year. The responses given by IITs to RTI applications show that the cut-off marks declined in that manner because of a radical change in the procedure for calculating them.
IIT entrance cut-off marks system comes under cloud
New Delhi: The steep fall in the cut-off marks of IIT-JEE was because of a radical change in the procedure for calculating them. The change was introduced in 2007 after the authorities failed to explain to the Central Information Commission how they had arrived at the cutoff marks for the previous year’s examination.
The exposure of the 2006 examination, which was the first one to be held after RTI came into force, puts a question mark on a much-touted system that had been in existence for over four decades.
IIT-Kharagpur, which conducted the 2006 JEE, was found by CIC to have given two different versions of the procedure and, worse, neither of those statistical methods led to the stated cut-off marks. The authorities were hard pressed to explain why the cut-off marks for mathematics, for instance, was only 37, but 55 for chemistry.
Since IIT-Kharagpur was also forced under RTI to give a break-up of the performance of all the candidates of 2006 JEE, several instances of more meritorious students becoming casualties of arbitrarily-fixed cut-off marks came to light. Given the impetus provided by RTI, IIT-Mumbai, which conducted the 2007 JEE, came up with yet another cutoff procedure.
Under the new procedure, the cutoff mark is the highest scored by the bottom 20% of the candidates in each subject. But since such candidates are mostly non-serious, the cut-off marks in mathematics, physics and chemistry worked out to no more than 1, 4 and 3, respectively. Thus, the 2007 procedure has lowered the bar to the point of rendering the cut-off marks meaningless.
Yet, IIT-Roorkee, which is holding the 2008 JEE next month, said the same procedure would continue to be in force. This means, the cut-off marks this year are likely to be as abysmal as those of last year.
Despite being world-renowned centres of excellence, IITs are still far from fixing the problem that has been brought out in the open by RTI.