The board examination cut-off marks for eligibility to the Indian Institutes of Technology next year may vary significantly from those released this week by school boards as indicators of what to expect, data suggests.
Variations in performances across years in each board, coupled with the expectation that students are likely to study harder for school-leaving examinations next year, make the released cut-off indicators unreliable.
The Council of Central Boards of Secondary Education (CoBSE) has compiled a list of percentage scores that separate the top 20% students from the rest in each board this year. The CoBSE and the human resources development (HRD) ministry have argued that these cut-off scores are unlikely to fluctuate much next year, and act as indicators of what students need to score to be eligible for IIT admissions.
But the scores of
varies significantly across years for several boards, an analysis of performances in 2008, 2009 and 2010 shows.
“There is no reason why scores next year should follow the pattern they followed this year,” said Ajit Chaturvedi, head of the Delhi University statistics department, when asked whether the marks released by the CoBSE can be treated as indicators for 2013.
In the Andhra Pradesh board for instance, students who scored more than 81.2% in 2008 were in the top 1%. But just two years later, in 2010, a score of 95.2% – 14 percentage points higher – marked the top 1 percentile.
The cut-off for the top 1 percentile in the Bihar board swung between 66.7% in 2008 and 74% in 2010, from 67.8% to 61.4% in Jharkhand and 69.2% to 77% in Uttar Pradesh over the same period.
But there’s another reason too why the cut-off marks released by the CoBSE cannot be treated as reliable indicators, experts argue.
The human resource development (HRD) ministry has introduced the new IIT eligibility criterion requiring that students secure a spot in top 20 percent of their board with the aim of making them focus on board examinations more than at present.
This is likely to make students study harder for board examinations next year, which should significantly push up the cut-off corresponding to the top 20 percent, Chaturvedi said.