NEW DELHI. It is a testing challenge to the fairness of what is considered one of the most competitive examinations in the world, IIT-JEE. The chief organizer of the 2006 examination, Prof V K Tewari of IIT Kharagpur, is due to appear on Thursday before the Central Information Commission to account for his failure to explain the basis on which he had arrived at subject-wise cutoff marks.
Tewari has been summoned to show cause why, as "the custodian of the information," he should not be penalized as neither of the versions he gave of the statistical formula tallied with the cutoff marks that had been applied to filter out candidates in the 2006 IIT-JEE.
In response to an RTI application, the information officer of IIT Kharagpur first said that the cutoff formula was "mean minus standard deviation" for all the candidates who had appeared in the examination.
But when the figures that emerged from this formula turned out to be at variance with the cutoff marks that had actually been announced, IIT changed its response and said that the performance of only those who obtained at least one mark in each of the subjects had been taken into account. As it happened, even the second version of the formula did not yield the official cutoff marks, which were 37 in mathematics, 48 in physics and 55 in chemistry.
Worse, because of the vast and unexplained variation in the cut off marks, the less meritorious qualified even within the general category candidates at the expense of those who performed better.
IIT Kharagpur was hard pressed to justify the anomalies that came to light: For instance, a candidate who scored an aggregate of 250 marks failed to qualify simply because he got 52 in chemistry (three less than the cutoff marks in that subject) while another qualified with an aggregate of just 156 marks simply because he happened to get 55 in chemistry.
The summons for Thursday's hearing followed the Calcutta HC's rejection of Tewari's plea to stop CIC from proceeding against him. Information commissioner O P Kejariwal has served a penalty notice on him despite his contention that he has already complied with CIC direction "in letter and spirit" to disclose the cutoff procedure for the 2006 examination.
Since the 2006 examination was the first IIT-JEE to be held after RTI came into force, IIT Kharagpur's inability to come up with a plausible explanation for the cutoff marks of that year cast a shadow on a much-touted system that had been in existence for over four decades.
This prompted the seven IITs to adopt such a liberal approach that for the 2007 examination the subject cutoff marks, as reported first in The Times of India, plunged to single-digit figures (1,4 and 3), making a mockery of their purpose of ensuring that selected candidates displayed a certain minimum level of knowledge in every subject.
In the new procedure, the cutoff marks are pegged to the best marks obtained by the bottom 20% of the candidates in each subject.
Finally, both IIT and CIC seem to have given up.
Since no conclusion could be reached, the appellant asked for the complete data in the form it is available and he himself would compile it in a meaningful manner, so as to get his answer regarding "cut off" marks for IIT-JEE 2006.
CIC has allowed the disclosure of complete data of JEE 2006, subject to Sec 10 of the RTI Act (severability clause).
New Delhi (PTI): The Central Information Commission has directed the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to provide details to one of its professors on his RTI plea seeking information relating to cut-off marks for the Joint Entrance Examinations (JEE) 2006.
Information Commissioner O P Kejariwal, however, asked the Institute to delete the names and personal details of the candidates, who had appeared in the JEE 2006.
Prof Rajeev Kumar, through his three RTI applications, had wanted to know the cut-off marks for the JEE 2006 -- the procedure and the formulae for arriving at them for each subject.
During the hearing on the matter, he submitted that he would himself compile the data in the format if he was provided with the entire list of candidates with the subjects and the marks obtained by them in the examinations.
The apex information panel had earlier expressed its displeasure with the Institute after the applicant submitted before it that he was made to wait for two to three hours for meeting the Chairman, JEE, who allegedly provided him a casual reply on the matter.
He was asked by the Institute to contact the Chairman for the reply on his queries regarding the procedure and technique followed in determining the cut off marks for each of the three subjects -- Maths, Physics and Chemistry in JEE -- besides the number of students who scored the cut off marks or scored more than that.
by CHARU SUDAN KASTURI Telegraphindia.com, June 13 , 2008
New Delhi, June 12: Nearly 1,000 candidates who were denied admission to the Indian Institutes of Technology in 2006 might have cleared the entrance exam that year had the institutes had followed their stated method of determining subject cutoffs.
After 20 months of denial, the IITs have revealed the marks obtained by all general-category students who appeared for the 2006 exam to some parents who have been persistently arguing for greater transparency in the tough-as-nails exam.
But the scores, revealed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, have thrown up more questions than they have answered, and shown up contradictions that the IITs appear unwilling to explain.
The cutoff marks for math, physics and chemistry — the three subjects tested in the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) —should have been 7, 4 and 6, respectively, in 2006 using the IITs’ stated formula.
But the institutes, in response to an earlier RTI application, had disclosed to parents that the cutoffs they used for the same subjects were 37, 48 and 55.
Clearing all three subject cutoffs entitles students to be considered for the final cutoff, based on their aggregate scores. Students with the top aggregates among those who have cleared all three subject cutoffs are selected to the IITs. In all, 5,479 seats were available in the general category that year.
The aggregate cutoff of 154 used by the IITs in 2006 would have risen to 178 had they used the formula they claimed to have employed, the analysis shows.
In all, 994 general- category candidates who cleared subject and aggregate cutoffs determined from the formula declared by the IITs were not called for pre-course counselling by the institutes, analysis of the marks of all the students has revealed.
The Telegraph, on August 6, 2007, had first reported the discrepancy between the cutoffs actually used by the IITs in 2006 and the ones obtained through the formula cited by the institutes.
At the time, the IITs had only disclosed the marks of 33,364 top students, and parents had found that cutoffs determined through the formula given by the institutes came below the ones they claimed to have used.
In all, 2,55,890 general-category students appeared in the exam. The cutoffs are dependent on the overall performance of all students, so after considering the marks of all candidates -- including those with poorer scores -- the cutoffs automatically drop.
The analysis -- based on a simple statistical calculation -- has been conducted by the parents, and independently verified for The Telegraph by two professors of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) who are not linked to the case.
The formula declared by the IITs before Calcutta High Court -- a parent filed a case there -- was used in this analysis. The court is expected to announce its judgment tomorrow.
Asked to explain the mismatch between the two sets of cutoffs, V.K. Tewari, JEE boss that year, said he did not want to comment.
“The case is sub judice, and in any case we have nothing to say,” Tewari said. Tewari teaches at IIT Kharagpur, which was the institute in charge of the entrance exam in 2006.
Of the 994 who qualified for admission according to the cutoff formula cited by the IITs, but were never called, one candidate would have ranked among the top 500 students, the analysis shows. Another eight students would ranked between 500 and 1,000, and so on (see chart).
Former IITian and Magsaysay Award winner Arvind Kejriwal called the findings shocking. “This really shakes the faith of the people in exams like the IIT-JEE,” he said.
IIT admissions faulty, deserving students fail: Prof
IIT admissions faulty, deserving students fail: Prof
AS Reported by Shreya Dhoundial in CNN-IBN Jun 18, 2008
New Delhi: A Right to Information (RTI) query filed by an IIT Kharagpur professor has revealed that deserving students have not been able to make it to IIT.
In 2006, nearly 994 deserving students did not make it to the IIT merit list because of complicated and faulty admission procedures.
To clear the IIT-JEE examination, a candidate has to get a minimum cut off in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics because these subjects form the basis of the IIT Curriculum.
The top aggregate scorers then qualify for the 5479 seats. However, professor Arvind Kejriwal who himself is from IIT Kharagpur filed an RTI wanting to know how these minimum cut-offs were calculated and the marks of all the two-lakh fifty-thousand plus students who appeared in the 2006 examination.
The computer engineering professor then computed this data using the IIT's own formula and found that the cut off's for the three subjects come to seven, four and six. Two other independent statisticians verified this as well.
However, the cut-off's that the IIT's used were strangely, much higher at 37, 48 and 55. And it is somewhere between this gap of the IIT and the professors calculation, that the 994 deserving students lost out on their chance to get in the premier institute of technology.
Strangely enough, the RTI revealed that there was one candidate who should have figured in the top 500 of the merit list, however, did not manage to get in.
“This shakes the faith of people in the best institute of technology. Now, one should investigate as to why such a thing happened. The best way to deal with this is to make the admission procedures completely transparent,” says RTI activist, Arvind.
Interestingly enough in 2007, the IITs tried not to repeat their 2006 mistake. They changed their formula to compute the minimum cut-off and based it on the highest marks of the bottom 20 per cent students.
However, again by this calculation the cut off's came to be ridiculously low at one, four and three in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. This year a candidate who scored twelve in mathematics but scored high marks in Physics and Chemistry got in.
The IIT'S have, however, refused to comment on the admission procedure.
For the last 40-years, IIT's admission procedure has been a closely guarded secret. However, because of the Right to Information, its is apparent that the toughest exam in the world may have been going terribly wrong in it's selection procedure.
However, what is even more worrying is talks of the procedure being deliberately flawed to accommodate influential candidates. Perhaps, it is now time for the HRD ministry to verify facts and set right a mistake that has repeated itself at the cost of thousands of meritorious students.
CIC mulls disclosing names of 'affected' JEE 2006 candidates
CIC mulls disclosing names of 'affected' JEE 2006 candidates
AS reported in Times of India 20 Jun 2008\TNN
NEW DELHI: The evidence that came to light of 994 meritorious
candidates being hit by arbitrarily fixed cutoffs in IIT JEE 2006 has
prompted the Central Information Commission (CIC) to order a special
hearing on whether the system could be forced to disclose the names of
the affected students.
Given the gravity of the matter, CIC member O P Kejariwal decided on
Wednesday to review the order he had passed on May 26 directing IIT
Kharagpur, the organizer of JEE 2006, to "delete the names and
personal details" of the candidates while disclosing their marks.
The May 26 order imposed such a restriction on the extent of
information that could be disclosed because the appellant, Rajeev
Kumar, professor of computer science in IIT Kharagpur, had himself
conceded that he was only concerned with the marks in order to
establish that the stated subject cutoffs in 2006 JEE did not tally
with the stated procedure for calculating them.
Subsequently, from the data supplied by IIT Kharagpur, Kumar
discovered that because of the arbitrarily fixed subject cutoffs, as
many as 994 candidates of the general category had been "illegally
excluded" from the merit list of 5,480 although their aggregate marks
were well above those of the last qualified candidate. He found that
at least nine of those candidates should have been in the top 1,000
In a letter to CIC on Wednesday, Kumar said that he now wanted IIT
Kharagpur to provide him with the names and contact details of the
candidates so that he could identify the affected ones from their
marks and bring to their notice the injustice that had been done to
them. It was in such circumstances that Kejariwal, in an unusual
instance of activism, decided to hear IIT Kharagpur on Kumar's quest
for the names of the "victimized candidates" as part of his larger
plan to mobilize a collective fight for justice.
If he does finally direct IIT Kharagpur to disclose the names and
contact details of the candidates, Kejariwal would be within his
powers to do so as the confidentiality clause in the RTI Act on third
party information applies only to situations where the information had
been "treated as confidential by that third party."
It remains to be seen whether Kumar, who is himself an aggrieved
parent, succeeds in his effort to seek a remedy for an injustice done
to candidates two years ago. But he has already succeeded in using RTI
to expose anomalies in the JEE of the last two years.
This is despite the reforms introduced by IIT Bombay in the 2007 JEE
organized by it. Since IIT Kharagpur could not demonstrate the basis
on which it had arrived at the subject cutoffs in the 2006 JEE, IIT
Bombay adopted a radically different procedure for the following year.
But, as reported first by TOI, the new procedure led to yet another
anomaly as the subject cutoffs dropped to single digits which in turn
allowed low scoring candidates to slip into the merit list of JEE