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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

JEE 2013: 30K Missing

We have gone back to a two-tier system after several years. In the first exam (JEE Mains, the erstwhile AIEEE), about 1.52 lakh students were declared eligible to give JEE Advanced exam, which was held on 2nd June. Almost 30,000 students chose not to give this exam. Why would someone not give the exam which is gateway to IITs.

The historical data on AIEEE and JEE exams tells us that it is rare for someone to get a rank worse than 75,000 in AIEEE, and yet get a rank better than 10,000 in JEE. So, if you are close to the cut off marks in JEE Mains, unless you are convinced that this was a particularly bad day and the marks do not reflect your knowledge and preparation, there isn't much point in giving JEE Advanced. And hence a lot of people who were at the bottom of their respective categories decided that it was not worth it.

Of course, this also means that IITs don't need to have15 times as many candidates as the number of seats in the system. The 1.5 lakh number came as approximately 5 times the total number of seats in IITs and NITs combined. Later it was decided that JEE Advanced would decide admissions only for IITs. This should have meant the reduction in eligible numbers to 50,000 (five times the number of seats in IITs). But it was thought that in the first instance of the exam, if we are not changing the format of the exam, a higher number is more desirable. (Indeed, I wrote on this blog that they should have considered permitting 2 lakh students for JEE Advanced in the first instance before we have any data about correlation of ranks between JEE Main and JEE Advanced.)

For future, a formula that I am hearing in the corridors (and hence take no responsibility for its authenticity, but I like it) is that the number of students in JEE Advanced should be decided as higher of the two numbers: One, five times the number of seats. Two, 10 percent more than the last rank of JEE Mains who could get a rank within the top 10,000 of JEE Advanced in a particular year (modulated for categories, etc.). Of course, there is no decision that I have heard of about admission process for 2014. So, only if it is decided to continue with this model in 2014 will the question of how many should give JEE Advanced becomes relevant.

Coming back to the issue of why students have not given JEE Advanced, the second reason that has been offered by some in the know is that since the 80 percentile cut-off has been announced for a couple of large boards before the last date of registration for JEE Advanced, and many of these 1.52 lakh students were not in the top 80 percentile, and hence decided to not register. Since many more boards announced their cutoff after the registration and before the exam, we saw many students who had registered missing in action.

There is an issue here too. The newspapers were mostly reporting only the general category cut-off, while the boards may have announced the cut-off category wise. What if an SC student only read the newspaper, and decided not to register because s/he did not know that there is a separate lower cutoff for SC students. If such a thing has happened with even a few students, it would be very sad. Students work so hard for 2-4 years, and if they lose a chance because of some information gap, it is sad. I don't know what the solution is.

Third reason apparently is that while JEE Mains eligibility is 3 attempts (year of passing 12th class and two years after that), the eligibility of JEE Advanced is 2 attempts. So those who passed 12th class in 2011 were eligible for JEE Mains, but not for JEE Advanced, and hence they decided not to register.

I think we should make the number of attempts as uniform, if we are going to call the two exams by the same name, and pretend that they are just two stages of the same exam.

The fourth reason, as it appeared in one of the newspapers, is that many of the students who declared themselves as belonging to reserved categories, did so on the hope of getting such a certificate somehow. They could not get those certificates (or decided that it was too risky - there are some organizations who, under RTI, are asking for a copy of all caste certificates submitted by students, and getting them verified).

I don't know whether this is true or not, and how many students did not give JEE Advanced for this reason, but if RTI is ensuring that benefit of reservations goes to only those for whom the reservations were created to begin with, it is a good thing.

The fifth reason, which again appeared in one of the newspapers and some people wrote on my facebook wall, is that students who had done well in other exams like BITSAT, or who had admission offers from decent foreign universities, and even if they were in the middle of the selected candidates, they decided that it was not worth trying.

I again don't know how much to trust this argument. I am sure such numbers would be very tiny (at least having spent 25 years in IIT System, I would like to believe that IITs are far superior to anything and everything :-)). But if other institutes and even foreign universities are able to compete with IIT system even for few students, it is a good sign. IIT system needs external competition for its improvement.

The sixth reason that has been suggested on my facebook wall is that the time was too short for registeration. I don't believe this can be the reason. After all, we have had JEE Counseling fully online last year, and we hardly received any complaints about inability of students to fill up the online form. And the time given was similar. The dates were announced much in advance.


Prashant said...

I have some interesting data which I'll share with you today. I still need to double check this.

If you ignore Delhi and compute CBSE 20 percentile mark, it is around 83% (overall, not category wise) which is approximately the same as the overall 80 percentile mark for ISC schools. (GE=83.8, OBC/SC/ST = 79%).

Now remember, that in Delhi, CBSE serves the role of a state board. Which means, that a lot of the local and government schools are affiliated to them. After you include Delhi, the 80 percentile mark drops to 78% as announced by CBSE.

So here you have a clear cut case that academic preparedness of those from govt. and govt.-aided schools (which possibly constitute a large number of CBSE schools in Delhi) have somewhat lower academic preparedness.

ISC on the other hand has private schools with Class-12 almost entirely in the urban areas (Kolkata, Lucknow, Kanpur, Mumbai, Dehradun etc). Their 20 percentile cutoff is 83.8%. I am sure this has deleted several students from the merit list. In fact some might have been left behind for CBSE as well.

One small suggestion: from the next year, please cap the highest possible cut-off at say, 75% or so.
Otherwise cut-offs will swing from year to year and cause such a lot of stress. I mean, the whole point of this change was supposed to be stress removal.

Prashant said...

Take a look at the irrational and unexpected scoring patterns. It will be unfortunate if someone got left behind due to a faulty or fraudulent marking scheme.


Anurag Shrivastava said...

@Dheeraj Sir one small request after going through post, please comment on it.
What's the point of giving jee advance and wasting some 1850 rupees. After giving jee advance, I felt that those missing 30K were right as the exam was just .. What's the point of giving an exam where one does not which type of questions will be asked. I do not know what superiority IITs want to prove by posing such stupid surprises. After all the decision on the exam was taken in late september.
Coming to marking scheme, it made me feel a stupid who wasted 6 hours sweating in humidity and heat. In paper 1, single correct questions which formed 50% of exam just given 2 marks weightage. In multi-correct questions though there was negative marking there must have been some partial marking. In my case, almost all multi-correct questions deducted my score. (though I did not marked even a single incorrect option in this section).
Coming to sections, after Attempting maths section, I felt like I have given some b tech exam. For lengthy calculations it must have been remembered that exam is of 3 hours and 4 or 5 hours.
After having seen IIT-JEE 2012 I was happy that now IITs are taking steps to restrict business of coaching institutes which benefits only rich and discourages poors towards IITs. But now I felt that those who appeared in 2012 were lucky as it mistakenly a good exam paper was set.

Siddharth Jain said...

I don't fully endorse your whole comment but yes after seeing this year whole drama I can confidently say that the winner out of this system is Coaching industry.Definitely the JEE ADVANCED paper will be a nightmare for someone who hasn't been trained by institutes. A normal student taking help of NCERT books only can only feel himself being betrayed by this system. While preparing solutions I saw one of our team member who has more than 40 years of Chemistry experience(Believe me that man is one of the best few available in nation) being bamboozled by one of the reaction which he can't even find in JD LEE the so called BIBLE of inorganic (worthless to insert NCERT NAME after that). Even after two days of exam he questioned me what was the idea of JEE behind asking that question.Its not about a single question but over the entire paper its not for non coaching students. Its same as doctors oblige MRs JEE authorities are obliging the coaching fraternity.
Disclaimer: I am a part of this coaching fraternity.

Siddharth Jain said...

To add more on this :
The BITS Pilani has made the statistics of BITSAT 2013 public on their official website. This year there has been a tremendous increase in number of students scoring 350+ or even 400+.
This is a clear reflection of JEE effect. the confusion created by new JEE pattern has led students to write BITSAT more seriously and that is why this statistics have changed considerably from last year.But I feel its good now IITs will get more competition from BITS as surely BITS will get better quality of intake(Please don't read as BITS doesn't getting quality intake previously. I have highest regard for BITS and its a brand in itself that India is proud of.)

armaan shahzaada said...

There's still time for me to give jee . But what I feel is if i get qualified (which surely i will) for advanced and if i dont come in those 10,000 giving seats then what can i do ? I will be dangling inbetween getting nothing . Rather i could go for IIIT H which gives admission on mains . plz comment on this and resolve it !

Nuke Adler said...

It's like Prakash said, I was a victim of fraudulent marking scheme.

Here's the deal. I scored 64% in my boards the first time, and the Maharashtra Board general cutoff was 64.03% I was, therefore, ineligible to appear for JEE Advanced. Little did I know that the cutoff for SC students like me, was actually 57% and I was well into the eligibility layer.

I did not attempt the JEE Advanced therefore. Decided to drop a year, and prepare again, for both the JEEs and the Board class improvement. But the Maharashtra Board Class improvement scheme introduced PRACTICAL exams, of which there is NO method of preparation available once you're out of college and studying at home. No coaching institute would prepare you for a PRACTICAL course. So it happened that instead of increment of marks that I expected out of a better effort that I had made in the written paper, I got ripped off in the PRACTICAL exams, particularly in the Computer Science paper which carries ONE HUNDRED (out of 200) marks ONLY FOR PRACTICAL EXAMS.

So now my "improvement" score is LESS than my previous score and I have NO IDEA what the new cutoffs are going to be like and if I'll be able to get through them. Since boards are now given importance, I'm sure the new candidates will work harder for getting good board scores, which will make the cutoffs soar higher.

That's not a big problem though. This system was introduced to curb the coaching institutes' power over IIT aspirants, but it happens to only benefit them more. The coaching institutes have introduced separate/augmented BOARD COURSES and are charging EVEN MORE than their regular fees to "TRAIN STUDENTS TO GET INTO THEIR RESPECTIVE BOARD'S TOP 20 PERCENTILE". It's chaotically unreasonable.

The only institute that's benefiting from this system is BITS and again, the coaching institutes.

Students like me are only caught in complete chaos, and I only wish I were born earlier so that I'd appear for the IITJEE in 2012 or before.

It IS true that some general category students are trying to get registered under other categories, but think about how hopeless this has gotten. For people to succumb to fraudulent measures in order to make it through a ridiculous system that fails to even fulfill the purpose it was devised for... Something's obviously too wrong.

And stress removal is the LAST thing this system is doing. Boards, inter-dependent exams that have replaced a plethora of independent entrances, cutoff chaos and misinformation that leads to taking wrong steps (like I did)... is only contributing to more stress. Engineering is just not safe anymore. You have to be in it to win it. Sounds as good as it could, but "winning" is the only hard part here.