The SAT question found to have two correct answers
New Delhi, Jan. 25: Forty children selected for a national scholarship last year after a test conducted by the NCERT have been dropped from the merit list for no fault of theirs.
The National Talent Search Examination 2012 — an exam conducted nationally since 1963 to identify talented children in Class VIII who will be given a monthly scholarship of Rs 500 up to PhD — was held in May.
The exam had two papers carrying 100 marks each — the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the Mental Ability Test (MAT). Nearly 5,000 students who had cleared the state-level talent search examination sat for it.
The NCERT published the final results with the answer keys on August 16, 2012. It found six wrong questions in MAT and decided not to award any marks on those questions. In SAT, it said, there were no wrong questions.
A list of 1,040 successful students who had got the eligibility marks — 148 for general and OBC candidates, 121 for Scheduled Castes and 114 for Scheduled Tribes — was brought out.
However, many parents protested that one SAT question had two correct answers, and the NCERT set up an expert committee to examine the matter.
On January 4 this year, the NCERT issued another list of successful candidates based on revised answer keys.
In the answer keys published in August, the NCERT had said the correct answer to SAT Question No. 8 was the option 4. The students were marked accordingly.
But the committee found that both 1 and 4 were correct, and decided not to award any marks for that question. As a result, 40 students on the merit list who had answered 4 lost one mark and fell short of the cut-off.
“I was very happy that I cracked it. I had put in a lot of effort for the test. Now I am told my name has been struck off from the list. This is frustrating,” said Pranab Jain, a Class IX student of St Paul Senior Secondary School at Kota in Rajasthan. “If there was any mistake in the question, I should not be victimised.”
His father Ajay Jain, who described NCERT’s decision as arbitrary, has appealed to the Prime Minister’s Office, the HRD minister and NCERT for remedial action.
“The NCERT is said to be a premier educational body of the central government. It is not able to frame correct questions,” he said.
Questions with multiple correct answers are often asked in IIT-JEE, but candidates who choose any one of the correct answers are awarded marks.
The NCERT did not offer any comment, but an official who requested not to be named said: “We have been receiving a number of representations from parents after the revised merit list was out. Those are being looked into.”