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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

IIT Admissions 2013

The admission process in 2013 was expected to lead to many litigations, confusions, frustration, and all that, and it is turning out to be exactly how it was predicted. Sadly, a large number of kids are having to go through a new system which was not well thought of, for which there was no data, no analysis was done, and it was imposed from top.

Some of the readers would like to blame me for contributing to it, though as I have said elsewhere I think my role has been to see how an irrational policy could possibly be implemented, and any other implementation of such a policy would have led to either giving no weight to board marks and essentially overruling the Government, or would have led to strong heartburn. Any way, the role that I have played is under scanner of multiple high courts, and since the committee of which I was a member is responsible to provide support to CBSE/MHRD in such cases, I would not like to say anything further on the topic.

I am going to focus on IIT admissions today. The issue of computing 80 percentile is coming up as a major cause of confusion. This newspaper report states that IIT JEE has computed 80th percentile based on "successful" candidates of a board. Where on earth do you compute percentile of successful candidates. We compute GATE percentile based on all students giving the exam. In JEE Mains, we are computing percentile based on all students giving the exam (and those who would have been eligible to give JEE Mains). It has been pointed out that while percentile from all students giving the exam is a reasonably stable number, but the percentile from amongst the successful candidates would vary significantly from year to year, as the pass percentage vary significantly from year to year in some boards. It has also been pointed out that percentile from only the successful candidates would give a perverse incentive to the boards to increase their pass percentage.

So now we have a very strange situation. The same exam, JEE, computes percentile in two different ways. JEE Mains compute percentile amongst all candidates, while JEE Advanced compute percentile amongst only successful candidates. How can you have two different ways of computing percentile in the same exam.

The other sad news I see in the media is about the decision of IIT JAB to not have even sharing of data on admission offers made to students so that they can be asked to keep only one seat. This sharing of data would have led to less waste of seats, a quicker convergence and happier students. In fact, this was too little too late. There should be joint counseling for all CFTIs. The software today can handle different merit lists, different eligibility conditions, and a whole lot of diversity in admission requirements, and still offer a common platform for choice filling, seat assignment, and admission offers. One could even implement that if some results are pending, one could go ahead with making offers to other institutes.

But, of course, there is no incentive for JAB to change anything. So why will they do anything. If there was an incentive for JAB to change, we would have seen continuous changes in JEE over the years, and there would have been no need for the Government to interfere.

The students of Andhra seem to be upset that the eligibility condition for IIT admission has been raised from 60% to 91% this year. Too quick, they say, and they are trying to put political pressure to change this according to this newspaper report. We had argued last year that a sudden change in criteria, even if for good reason, will cause severe heartburn, and will only cause more litigation and more problems. A major change has to be introduced somewhat slowly. We had explicitly suggested that we use 70 percentile, or at most 75 percentile. But the IIT JAB did not agree. Of course, I do not agree that AP students have been discriminated against in the process.

And finally, I am amused by the reports that students have lost interest in IITs. With so many changes, so much happening everywhere related to admission, a small increase in the number of students not accepting the offers is hardly news, and one can not judge that the reason for this is lowering of prestige of IITs. But you can't argue with media.


Prashant said...

Maybe its good that IITs are admitting independently this year since other Central Institutes are likely to have their admissions stuck in a lot of litigation (not so much for IIT) and those might be subject to a lot of delay and entanglement?
Do you see this bizarre system continue next year.

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

@Prashant, Some changes will happen either because of the courts, or political pressures. Some fights will continue next year too. But within a couple of years, people will forget why these changes were done, they will figure out how to game the new system, those who are losers in the new system will not even know that there was an alternate system, and peace will prevail from that point onwards.

sridhar srinivasan said...

Dear Sir, thanks for your update. I have a question - which top 500 universities in the world have such kind of 3 level exam for a seat? We have to test students based on one test and the test could be descriptive and objective followed by an interview if required. It would have made sense to select right candidates. By having 20% of bord, JEE Main and then advanced, we are only taxing the students and nothing is changing in terms of selecting the right students. Now coaching institiutes adapt to these pattern and still make more money. In fact, the students from rural have less chance to make it to IIT due to such tough stages of selection.

Also there is triple level reservation for general categories - once at board 20% level, then at JEE Main level and then at JEE advanced level.Someone should sort out these problems atleast for next batch selection it is smoother. Hope you could support the need for fixing these problems soon for next year students.

parvathi said...

from Parvathi ,Hyd.
My question is on 79 effected students.I am not going thru system. 1) why top 20 percentile successful candidates cut off marks announced after rank given and seat offered,why not before as all boards results and re-verification & re-calculations completed before May end .2) who is responsible in CBSE (member of JAB) which collected information from all boards only top 20 percentile appeared candidates and given data to IIT.3)Many not applied to BITS,Pilani etc.institutions as they offered seats in IIT.It is irreparable loss to them.4)Why IIT JAB not collected information on cut off 20%tile before annoucement of ranks i.e.21/06/2013.4)Why ont IIT coming forward actively to win /settle court cases.5) How IIT JAB appreciated each others even above falts is there.It is fault of IIT JEE.But thet not accepting it.

Anonymous said...

Please tell that can a 12th passed student from NIOS board be eligible for jee main and advanced?If yes,then will this board be treated as other regular boards during ranking and admission in iit?