My first post here, I will do the introductions later
I need some assistance in filing an appeal to an RTI appellate authority.
I am not satisfied with my scored achieved in the common admission test in November 2011, for which the results were published in Jan 2012. The purpose of filing this RTI is two-fold - Firstly, to determine exactly how well or badly I have done in the examination, and secondly, for some transparency in the entire process.
Some background information:
The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a prerequisite for entry to the Indian Institutes of Management and many other business schools in India. Since 2009, this examination has been computer based (though not computer adaptive). Many aspects of the examination (Including actual conduct of the examination) has been outsourced to Prometric, a multinational specializing in such tasks.
There has been a total lack of transparency in the entire evaluation process. Firstly, the examination is held over several days. The examiners have refused to confirm that questions may repeat across multiple sessions/days. They have only imposed a non disclosure agreement on the candidates. However, you yourself may judge the effectiveness of this when there are in excess of 200,000 test takers.
Secondly, the scoring. In the good old days of pencil and paper tests, a candidate recieved a certain number of marks (say 3) for correct answers, and some marks (say 1) were deducted for incorrect answers. In due course, the IIMs would release an answer key. The candidate could, thus, tally his answers with the key and check if the score is roughly equal to what it should be. If it isn't, the candidate can choose what to do about it.
Nowadays, only section-wise scaled scores and the total score is provided. The exam conductors, Prometric, have repeatedly stated that ,
"Please be informed that the CAT 2011 scores are the scaled scores generated by establishing psychometric equivalences to adjust for difficulty levels across tests. The sectional scores range from 0 to 225. The results are generated after a thorough calculation and a careful analysis."
But they refuse to tell us what equivalence (formula) was used, and how they arrived at it. More importantly, a candidate has absolutely no idea of how many questions he got right and wrong.
First, I e-mailed a candidate helpline address asking for information. I have attached it, with the reply I received. The reply which refused to answer the questions, but told me to contact email@example.com. I contacted the aforesaid e-mail address, asking them how to file the RTI. There was no response.
Thus, I decided to file an RTI application. Since IIM Calcutta was responsible for conducting the CAT this year, that is the place I chose to begin filing the application. A google search revealed this page. The proforma is given here. Even though they accept online applications, I sent it by courier. (Perhaps it should have been sent by speed post/registered post, but that is not the point of contention.) I have attached the RTI query as an attachment. Now some points:
1. The courier was accepted by IIM Calcutta on Feb 16. When no information was forthcoming, on March 30, I sent an e-mail reminder to the PIO. He replied that the query had been forwarded to the concerned department, and told me that a reminder would be sent to them. The mail containing refusal to supply the information came only on April 10. My first question: Can any action be taken against the people concerned for the delay in replying to the RTI?
2. The reply that came on April 10 by e-mail was as follows:
Some points come to my mind:This has reference to your application dtd.Feb 10, 2012 requesting
information under RTI Act.
We have sent your queries to the concerned Deptt. and according to them,
data is not available with IIMs.
a) Is it possible that I mentioned the incorrect department in my RTI application? As an outsider, I do not have detailed information on the internal workings of the institute. Is it mandatory for the applicant to know the right department? Or is the PIO responsible for forwarding it to the right department?
b) More likely, in this case, the issue is that Prometric, and the IIMs are playing pass the parcel. The IIMs may say, if probed, that the information is not with them, and is with Prometric. Prometric, not being a government entity, is not covered under the RTI act. This is conjencture on my part, but is a plausible conclusion.
I have decided to file an appeal to the appellate authority(as I have nothing to lose), and would like the help of the community members in drafting it. They don't seem to have any specific format for this.
I know that other people have filed similar RTIs, but am unable to get their names/contacts for obvious reasons.
I would now like to share some online references regarding this matter.
* In 2009, when the exam was first conducted online, the then convenor of the CAT Committee had advised the candidates to file an RTI application - Want your CAT score re-evaluated? File RTI - Times Of India
* This mentions some general advice, which I've roughly followed : Not Satisfied With CAT Scores - What To Do After CAT?
* A directive from the Central Information Commission stating that 'Answer keys must be shared under RTI': Answer keys must be shared under RTI - Times Of India
* A news report saying that it is unlikely that the IIMs would reveal information, but also Prometric's willingness to share information in response to RTIs : CAT aspirants' RTI efforts may go waste - Economic Times.
* An article mentioning some RTIs filed: 4 RTI appeals filed over CAT scoring - Times Of India
* A thread on this forum on a related matter - The awarding of the tender to Prometric : https://www.rtiindia.org/forum/32954-...applicant.html
Also, the first appeal can be filed online. Is there any point in mentioning any of the above references, particularly quoting the director of the CAT committee, and the CIC directive? Should I mention the conversation with the Prometric folks?