The Supreme Court of India will hear the case against the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) over normalisation of Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and Class 12 marks on Thursday. The petition has been filed against the formula used in the admission process for all National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and other central government technical educational institutions.
As per the petitioner, the formula is favouring students from the CBSE board. From this year, it has been decided that JEE Ranking will be based on two parts, first JEE Main marks (60 per cent) and second, board Marks (40 per cent).
The petitioner, Khitij Grag who has launched an online petition against the move, in his online petition has alleged that the problem lies with the second component. (40 per cent boards - weightage of 144 marks out of the total 360).
In the normalisation formula, 50 per cent board marks will be normalised by equating percentiles among different boards and anchoring them to the main all India JEE percentile.
Khitij explains, â€śIt lies in the fact that the JEE main written exam has a short head (meaning all of the marks are concentrated in a very small percentile from 97 to 100, so students getting a percentile within this range will gain disproportionately large marks - marks drop from 300+ for 99.5 percentile to 80 for 96.8 percentile), and a very long tail (meaning all students ranging from 0 to 97 percentile will be awarded almost the same marks - range of about 0.4*80 = 32 marks).â€ť
This is not the case in Boards, where there is no such sudden jump; the percentile varies smoothly with marks, he said.
â€śHowever, what CBSE is doing without thought is taking the percentile from Board exams and equating it to the percentiles in the JEE Written Exams to calculate corresponding marks. This formula came out in May 2013 after the conduct of both the exams, so students had no clue that they would be at such a ridiculous disadvantage,â€ť he alleged.
Short example showing the blunder:
A student scoring 92 per cent in CBSE Boards (getting 96.5 percentile will get 0.4*80 = 32 marks out of 144)
A student scoring 96 per cent in CBSE Boards (getting 99.6 per centile will get around 0.4*300 = 120 marks out of 144)
â€śA mere difference of 20 marks in boards (which should have ideally contributed 0.4*20 = 8 marks difference in final ranking) gets amplified by a factor of 1100 per cent (120-32 = 88), and thousands of students will lose out in the new system,â€ť petitioner said.
Students from other boards are concerned that this process could result in a student with a high JEE (Main) score and a slightly lower score in their boards, to get a much lower rank than a student securing higher board marks and lesser JEE (mains) marks.
Suggesting an alternative formula, Khitij said, â€śTake the studentâ€™s percentile in boards and correspondingly give him/her marks out of 144 depending on that directly. Example someone getting 97 percentile, give him/her 0.97*144 marks out of the boards component.â€ť
Gaurav Aggarwal, an IIT Delhi student who is organising a protest in-front of CBSE office has questioned the move.
"How can you (CBSE) decide the policy after the game is over? We demand an immediate stay order on this result and a new formula for normalisation and new rankings with justice to the students,â€ť he said.
By Abhay Anand