JEE is one of the best-administered examinations in this country, but that is not the same as being one of the best examinations. When we think of JEE, we tend to think of its outstanding administrative aspects. This preoccupation with the administrative aspects of JEE has blinded us to the basic purpose of the whole exercise, viz., that it is an examination. We tend to equate the quality of the examination with the quality of its administration, which has led to widespread smugness about the examination itself.
Strong words! From this article (written in 2000) by Prof. B.N. Banerjee (Department of Mechanical Engineering at IIT-K). While there, don't forget to read this companion piece by Prof. M.R. Madhav (Department of Civil Engineering at IIT-K). A relevant excerpt:
In its existence for more than 39 years, the only change that JEE has seen is the introduction of a two-tier system, whose only purpose is to reduce the volume of work in view of ever increasing numbers of candidates appearing in the examination. How is that the IITs, which are expected to be at the forefront of innovation in all technological fields, are shirking their responsibility of devising a system that is appropriate to the times?
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Link to Prof. Banerjee's article via MadHat, an alumnus of IIT-K, who offers his critique of the letter by 125 academics from IIT-K.
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While still on the subject of JEE, here's an excellent opinion piece by S. S. Vasan (an alumnus of IISc) in the Hindu.
And, of course, my own views on entrance exams are here.