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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Peers’ scores to affect IIT selection

To rank students across boards in the JEE Mains, overall performance of different boards will be factored; for “better performing boards”, this compensates them in comparisons in school scores across boards, reports Charu Sudan Kasturi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 11, 2013
First Published: 01:03 IST(11/5/2013) | Last Updated: 03:32 IST(11/5/2013)

Students seeking admission to some of the country’s top engineering colleges this year don’t need to worry only about their performance. How others from their school board perform compared to students from other boards in the first leg of the two-tiered admissions to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) may also affect their chances at selection.

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Criticised for choosing a selection process that many argue discriminates against students of more competitive boards like the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), organisers of the admission test have decided on a new formula that may negate this bias. But the alternative admission process, made public late on Friday, also leaves students less in control of their fate than earlier.

Apart from the percentile score obtained by the student in her class XII exam and her score in the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Mains, the first stage of the two-tiered IIT entrance test, the overall performance of her school board in the JEE Mains will also be factored in preparing a ranking list of students.  

“How the student’s board has performed, overall, in the JEE Mains, will also be a factor in calculating ranks in the merit list,” CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi said on Friday.

Till now, the mechanism proposed by the CBSE – which conducted the JEE Mains – for ranking students involved a 60% weightage to their performance in the entrance test, and 40% weightage to their percentile score in the board examination.

But this proposed mechanism triggered concerns among students from boards like the CBSE – rated traditionally tougher than several state boards – because procuring the same percentile score in their board is harder than it is for counterparts in less competitive boards.     

“We want to create a normalization mechanism that accounts for differences between boards and ensures a level playing field,” Joshi told HT. 

But the new proposal also means that the ranking of students will depend on more than just their performance relative to other students. It will also depend on how well – or poorly – others from their board perform compared to counterparts from other school boards.

The ranking list will be used by the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and other central engineering schools, and for 50% seats in state government engineering schools – which produce the vast majority of India’s engineering graduates.

Students in the top 150,000 based only on the JEE Mains are eligible to sit for a JEE (Advanced) test, to be conducted by the IITs in June. The IITs will eventually pick students based on their scores in the JEE (Advanced), if they stand within the top 20% of their school board.

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