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Thread: RTI appeal to request information from IIMs regarding the Common Admission Test (CAT)

  1. RTI appeal to request information from IIMs regarding the Common Admission Test (CAT)


    Dear members,

    My first post here, I will do the introductions later

    I need some assistance in filing an appeal to an RTI appellate authority.

    Some context:

    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.

    Steps taken:

    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 catcentre@iimcal.ac.in. 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:

    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.
    Some points come to my mind:
    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?


    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by cat_with_nine_lives; 11-04-12 at 02:17 AM. Reason: Formatting of urls

  2. #2
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    C J Karira
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    Re: RTI appeal to request information from IIMs regarding the Common Admission Test (CAT)


    You application is correct. You correctly sent it to the PIO of IIMC.

    No information within 30 days of receipt of RTI application means "deemed denial" of information. A drafted first appeal for such a situation is available here: https://www.rtiindia.org/forum/27882-...html#post99423

    Just modify it to suit your requirements.

    It should be sent immediately - otherwise it will be time barred.
    Twitter: @cjkarira

  3. Re: RTI appeal to request information from IIMs regarding the Common Admission Test (CAT)


    Hello,

    One issue here is that there was a deemed denial (Failure to supply information on time), but there was an actual denial that came later, as mentioned in the earlier post. (To be exact, 53 days after the RTI application was recieved.) What is the time bar for filing an application with the appellate authority in this case? Is it 30 days after the deemed denial (Mar 17), or 30 days after the actual denial (Apr 10)?

    Though I am going to file the appeal right away, I don't have much hope of getting information from it. If there is a deemed/actual refusal from the appellate authority, then what are the next steps I could take?

    Also, does anyone have experience with situations when a public body outsources the work to private body? I'd be interested in hearing about your experiences.

  4. #4
    Posts
    44,607
    Name:
    C J Karira
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    Re: RTI appeal to request information from IIMs regarding the Common Admission Test (CAT)



    The April 10th reply can be safely ignored since it does not say much except that query is sent to someone else. That too it has been done very late.

    Just file a first appeal before 17 April for deemed denial.
    Twitter: @cjkarira

  5. Re: RTI appeal to request information from IIMs regarding the Common Admission Test (CAT)


    Thanks for your reply. I will do as you suggest.

    However, the April 10 reply says that the information is not available with them. Is it a refusal? Or it has no significance at all? Can the appellate authority refer to this communication between the PIO and me?

    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.

  6. #6
    Posts
    44,607
    Name:
    C J Karira
    Blog Entries
    9
    Rep Power
    554

    Re: RTI appeal to request information from IIMs regarding the Common Admission Test (CAT)


    He may refer to this letter but you just say during the hearing that it has no bearing because it was sent well after the 30 days were over.
    Twitter: @cjkarira

  7. Re: RTI appeal to request information from IIMs regarding the Common Admission Test (CAT)


    Hello,

    My apologies for a delayed response... I was busy with some personal work, and couldn't file the appeal in time. So I sent the original application once again, and as expected, they refused to supply me with the information requested. I have now sent the first appeal to the appellate authority right away.

    I would now like some guidance on what the next steps to be taken in case the first appeal is rejected.
    * Is there a second appeal?
    * To whom should the second appeal be addressed?
    * Is there a time bar for the second appeal?

    I would appreciate if someone could describe the structure of the entire chain of appeal process, from the original application, to an appeal to the CIC, as applicable. Where, if at all, do the courts come into the picture?


    Any help/suggestions would be highly appreciated.
    Last edited by cat_with_nine_lives; 26-09-12 at 05:16 PM. Reason: Formatting

  8. Application of RTI act when work has been outsourced to a another organization


    Hello,

    I had started a thread here about RTI application to IIM Calcutta asking for more information on scores I achieved in the CAT examination conducted in 2011.

    IIM Calcutta seems to be hiding behind the fact that many aspects of the conduct of the examination have been outsourced to a private organization called Prometric, and that they do not possess the information requested.

    Could experts comment on how the RTI act will apply in such a case?

    I shared this link in the original thread - CAT aspirants' RTI efforts may go waste - Economic Times, which indicates that Prometric would be willing to share this information if asked by the IIMs. Is there any way,under the RTI act, to force the IIMs to make a request to Prometric?



    Side note: Until 2008, all the aspects of the examination were handled by the IIMs themselves, and under those circumstances they would have been forced to release the keys, as there appears to be precedent for that -
    Answer keys must be shared under RTI - Times Of India. But this point is moot, as they released the answer keys themselves anyway.

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