The Telegraph
Saturday , July 21 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Scoring-gap test for IIT percentile rule

New Delhi, July 20: An Andhra Pradesh student who scores 86.9 per cent in his Class XII exams will be shut out of IIT admission next year while a Nagaland student with 49 per cent will remain eligible, if the 2013 board results across India remain similar to this year’s.

This possibility, which many may see as unjust, is a fallout of the rule that makes only students from the top 20 percentile of their respective boards eligible for IIT admission from next year.

Since different boards follow different systems of evaluation, the minimum marks a student needs to qualify for the top 20 percentile from his or her board could vary widely from state to state.

For instance, an Andhra board student this year would need to score 87 per cent to figure in the top 20 percentile while his counterpart from Nagaland would need 49 per cent.

The Council of Boards of School Education has released the board-wise top 20 percentile cut-offs for this year to provide an idea about how much IIT seat seekers will need to score next year, for the scoring patterns tend not to change dramatically from year to year.

The situation depicted may draw criticism from students and parents from high-scoring state boards such as Andhra, Tamil Nadu (whose cut-off is 78.17 per cent this year) and Kerala (76.5), who might see candidates from Bengal (58), Maharashtra (61.1) or Assam (54.2) qualify for IIT admission.

The scoring gap, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that students from certain states are poorer — it probably has more to do with stricter award of marks.

Besides, the board marks will not have any bearing on students’ merit list ranks, which will be determined solely on the basis of their performance in the JEE Advanced, the second of the two entrance tests IIT seat seekers will have to take after 1.5 lakh are screened from the JEE Main.

The board marks are merely an eligibility criterion: which means a Nagaland student with 49 per cent board marks will secure an IIT seat only if he or she does well in the JEE Advanced, thus proving his or her merit.

The old eligibility criterion was a flat 60 per cent board score for general and Other Backward Classes students and 55 per cent for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates. The IIT Council last month changed it to a top 20 percentile place for the student in his or her board and category.

A student’s percentile score is obtained by dividing the number of students below him or her with the number who appeared, and multiplying the ratio by 100.

“The board-wise eligibility cut-off for next year will be worked out on the basis of next year’s results, but it will be around the same as this year,” said an official of the Council of Boards of School Education, a body that coordinates with all the boards on matters of common interest.

IIT Faculty Federation president K. Narasimhan said the new criterion was being introduced without proper examination of its impact.