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IITs relax eligibility norm

- Percentile linked to class xii marks alone

New Delhi, Feb. 25: The IITs have relaxed admission norms for students of those boards that hold separate tests at the end of Classes XI and XII and publish final results by combining both scores.

The elite tech schools decided to consider only the Class XII score in such boards while calculating and finalising the top 20 percentile holders for admission.

The Joint Admission Board (JAB), the body of IIT directors which oversees the JEE exam, has decided to ignore the Class XI scores of such students. The change will apply to those taking the Class XII exams this year.

“The boards conducting separate examinations at Class XI and Class XII will have to provide the Class XII score. We will prepare the cut-off of the top 20 percentile based on the Class XII score only,” JAB chairman and IIT Delhi director R.K. Shevgaonkar told The Telegraph.

The percentile score is obtained by dividing the number of students below a candidate with the total number who appeared in the examination, the ratio multiplied by 100.

The decision was taken after some students moved Andhra Pradesh High Court challenging the legality of the top-20 percentile criterion.

The decision will be applicable to students of other state boards with similar two-tier examination system, such as those in Kerala and Gujarat.

Under the new format, the IITs will follow a two-stage entrance test comprising JEE-Main and JEE-Advanced. The results of the two tests will be taken into account, along with the percentile score, for admission.

For other centrally funded technical institutions like the NITs, selections will be based on JEE-Main and board marks. Main will be conducted by the CBSE, Advanced by the IITs.

The tech schools have brought in the percentile rule in the place of an admission eligibility criteria that was tied to 60 per cent board marks for general and OBC students, and 55 per cent for SCs and STs. There is no change in admission rules for those who took the Class XII board exams in 2012 or earlier.

K. Kireeti and a few other students in Andhra had challenged the new format arguing that the 20 percentile criteria would put the state’s Class XII students to disadvantage.

The petitioners argued that they were unaware about the change that was announced in mid-2012, when they had already appeared the Class XI examination. Since the marks obtained in Class XI count in the final board results, they would not get a level playing field.

In his judgment, Justice L. Narasimha Reddy upheld the percentile system but directed the IITs and the government to examine the perceived disadvantage to petitioners, given that they completed Class XI with no knowledge about the introduction of the percentile-linked eligibility.

The JAB, the IIT admission board, found that Andhra as well as some other state boards used both Class XI and Class XII results, while many other states picked only Class XII scores.

For example, the Bengal higher secondary council and the CBSE use only Class XII board marks while announcing the final results.

But while calculating the top 20 percentile holders, the students of one board would not compete with those of others. That is because they would get their percentile ranks based only on how they perform vis--vis other students of the same board who appeared in the examination in the same year.

The JAB, apparently buoyed by the high court’s seal on the percentile system, resolved that there was no need to go back on the scheme. However, it decided that the eligibility cut-off be calculated on the basis of Class XII marks alone to address the concerns of students of Andhra and potentially disadvantaged candidates in other states with similar systems.