An Appeal to CBSE to Standardise the JEE (Main) Examination System

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To
The Chairperson
Central Board of Secondary Education
New Delhi

Dated – 16th April 2018

Subject: - An Appeal to CBSE to Standardise the JEE (Main) Examination System

Madam/Sir,
With due respect I beg to state that many students appeared for the Joint Entrance Examination (Main) 2018 on 15th April 2018 in Online Mode. On 8th April 2018, CBSE conducted the JEE (Main) in Offline mode. But. Sadly, even after repeated reassurances that the question papers of JEE(Main) Offline and Online would be equivalent and equal weightage would be given to all sections of the syllabi, we found that the Online Paper, held seven days after the Offline paper differed largely in difficulty levels. The questions asked in Mathematics and Physics section were very lengthy and difficult and a large no. of questions in Mathematics came from a particular section of the syllabi – Conic Sections which is in matter of fact is an injustice to the students who were weak in that particular topic. Physics, too, was much tougher than that of the Offline paper, with difficult questions from low weightage chapters and little weightage from important chapters, and with lengthy questions that required much more time than it is generally given to a student to solve each question on average – two minutes per question.
Many students had worked extremely hard and had been preparing for this particular day for years. After the Offline paper, which had questions ranging from easy to moderate level, when they came across the Online paper last morning, they were quite taken aback and were very much depressed.
Including Offline and Online, there were four different sets of question papers with different difficulty levels. How can it be assessed through a single Ranking System?
Hence, there is a need for this examination system to be uniform otherwise it would serve as an injustice to those who had opted for Online mode. Hence, here are some suggestions: -
1. There should be two different Rank Lists for those who gave Online and Offline examination. The colleges would then take students on the basis of the ratio of students who appeared for the Offline and Online mode of examination. For example, if there are 10 lacs of students who gave Offline and 5 lacs of students who appeared for Online, then Colleges would take the students from Online and Offline Rank Lists in 10:5 Ratio.
2. Otherwise, there should be a method for standardisation of marks as it is done in international examinations like SAT, ACT, GMAT, GRE, etc. In this process, an expert committee can be set up comprising of eminent professors from eminent institutions like IISc, IITs and NITs who would assign difficulty score (Ranging from 1 to 3 – based on difficulty and length of time required to solve each question) to each question or each section of the question papers separately and then award marks to each student by multiplying the marks awarded to difficulty level. For example, each question carries 4 marks. Now if the difficulty of a question is 1.2, then marks awarded in that question will be 4*1.2= 4.8. Another question has a difficulty score of 1, the marks awarded will be 4*1 = 4. Then the total marks obtained by the student can be converted to ‘out of 360’ to get standardised score.
3. In such a way, after standardisation based on difficulty level, common rank lists can be prepared which would then be a justice for the students because if it is prepared based on the absolute marks of the students, then it would not be fair, as there would be no proper evaluation – based on marks obtained in two different papers.
4. If this is not done, then there will be a mass injustice against those who appeared for the online examinations, as a part of the Digital India Scheme. Not only that, many students who could have done good in the Offline paper, but had sat for the Online paper are feeling deprived as two different question papers of different difficulty levels cannot be used to test the abilities of various students and award them ranking in the Common Rank List based on the absolute marks.
5. Such a controversy arose in 2016 during CBSE NEET in which different questions were given in different language question papers. The Supreme Court had ordered CBSE to prepare uniform question papers in all examinations from the next year – this was done in CBSE AISSCE 2018 where uniform question papers were given to students from all regions. I would also request you to kindly organise Offline and Online examinations on the same day, at the same time from next year, and with the same questions. Then the examination system will be uniform.

Hence, as a worried father and an educated citizen I would request you to kindly take the necessary steps so that there is a uniform evaluation of these students who had appeared in the Online mode. If you kindly take the necessary action and bring justice to this large mass of students, I and the whole educated society of India shall remain highly obliged to you.

With Regards
Dr. Saumya Sankar Sarangi



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