'Single-test policy for engineering colleges flawed'Akshay Mukul, TNN | Sep 16, 2011
NEW DELHI: NEW DELHI: An analysis of the T Ramaswami committee report on JEE reforms, proposing a single entrance test for all engineering colleges (including IITs, NITs and private institutions) throughout the country, exposes many flaws.
This and other recommendations of the committee were accepted by the IIT Council at its meeting on Wednesday subject to the approval of the state governments and the finance ministry.
The report says weightage would be given to class 12 marks and a SAT-kind of test would be held. But the entire proposal is based on a survey of class 12 results of just four boards - CBSE, ISC, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal - though there are a total of 42. Only 2,000 people were surveyed out of which 66% were in favour of factoring in the performance in school boards and 34% were not. Out of those who were not in favour, 45% said board examinations do not assess capability and 30% feared non-uniformity. However, 85% of those surveyed supported the concept of a single entrance test.
"If there was a big enough sampling, these percentages would have increased significantly, thus, making a mockery of using class XII scores for admissions," a senior IIT functionary said. He also raised concerns about the process, especially with regard to the fairness of the testing methodology, pointing out that already there were large scale irregularities in the JEE.
When the Damodar Acharya Committee first suggested the proposal of 'normalization' of class 12 marks across boards, it was opposed by many state boards on the ground that it was not easy to do. They had also said that institutions like BITS, Pilani, and the Graduate Aptitude Test for Engineering had abandoned the normalization system.
In 2007, a three judge bench of the Supreme Court (Sanjay Singh vs UP PSC), while "demonstrating the anomalies/absurdities arising from scaling (normalization)", had concluded that "there are number of methods of statistical scaling (normalization), some simple and some complex. Each method or system has its merits and demerits and can be adopted only under some certain conditions or making certain assumptions."
A comparison of the Acharya Committee report on JEE reforms and the Ramasamy committee shows there is a confusion on what model is best suited. Also, it is not clear how shifting to a new system would take away the dominance of coaching centres.
The Acharya Committee had suggested a single formula of JEE that included a weighted sum of the class 12 result and an aptitude test. The Ramaswamy panel has given six options with many variations. Acharya said only the class 12 marks should be used, while Ramasamy said it could be class 12 alone or both class 10 and 12.
"The Ramasamy proposal is not a concrete proposal, it is basically exploration of all the possible options," the director of a new IIT said. He said, "With the new proposals, there would be multiple coachings, to be started much early, for class 10, 12, an advance test, and an aptitude test." He also feared that the ultimate scenario would be cut-throat competition in class 10 and 12. "Even with 100%, a student will not able to get an IIT seat of his choice," he said.
Times of India :: 16 September 2011
100%-ters find going tough in class XI
Hemali Chhapia, TNN | Sep 16, 2011
MUMBAI: Almost all of the 464 students who got 100% in the March SSC exam this year benefitted from the 25 marks awarded for achievement in sports. The Latur division stood low in the overall performance after recording a high failure rate, but it ironically also had the largest pool of those who scored 100% in March 2011. Nashik had the fewest at 12.
While the state has decided to stop awarding the additional 25 marks to class X and XII students from the next examination, the policy pumped up the scores of many. Pushy parents, ambitious kids and brand-conscious schools responded almost uniformly to this lure.
All through the last five years when the 25 marks were doled out, heads of colleges often confessed that results were no longer the real picture of the knowledge levels of the children. The true picture emerged when all aids that propped up scores-lenient marking, overlooking of grammatical and spelling errors and getting additional marks for extracurricular activities-disappeared in the higher class.
For all its academic might, Rajarshi Shahu Science College, Latur, filled an entire batch in class XI with 100 percenters last year. "We see how each of them is struggling now. Scores went up but students are feeling the pressure of maintaining those marks. We have realized the class X results are not a correct picture of the knowledge levels of students," says Anirudh Jadhav, joint secretary of the college and the architect of the popular Latur model.
Keshavraj Mahavidyalay's vice principal U Selukar derides the 25-mark gimmickry as "banavati marks". Various parts of the state also saw a sudden spurt in private sport academies that enrolled class X students to cash in on the 25-marks bonanza.
Many like Selukar acknowledge that academies had cracked the code of how to convert students into sport stars. "They sign up students for sports like fencing and tug-of-war where the competition isn't fierce and even participation in a state-level competition qualifies them for the 25 marks." Needless to say, after the class X scorecards are handed out, not a single student is seen on the field
Times of India :: Mumbai | Pune Ed.| 16 September 2011
100% scores in SSC hide real picture
Hemali Chhapia, TNN | Sep 16, 2011
Latur: Tejashree Kore scored 567 out of 550,or 103.09%.But,the Latur girl, daughter of an auto driver, feels cheated that the Maharashtra school board rudely rounded off her score to only 100%.
It is students like Tejashree who have earned their school Shri Deshikendra Vidyalayathe moniker of The 100% Scorers Factory.
It stands along a dusty street and is a typical school where students across classes learn by repeating what the teacher reads aloud. In the last two years, this campus has graduated close to 50 students who secured a perfect cent 100% in the class X board exams.
But, although the state governments largesse of an extra 25 marks for excellence in sports has boosted many academically, students like the 19 Deshikendra Vidyalaya students including Tejashree, had to be content with a hundred percent this year.
In March 2011,464 SSC students scored 100%,while some bagged a lot more, points out board chairperson, Ujjwaladevi Patil.
Almost all these students benefited from the 25 marks awarded for achievement in sports.
The Latur division stood low in the overall performance after recording a high failure rate, but it ironically also had the largest pool of those who scored 100% in March 2011.Nashik had the fewest at 12.
The CENT PERCENTERS
Division No. of Students
Source: SSC Board