Monday, March 17, 2008

Has anyone mentioned that JEE's rank order is a joke?

Manoj Mitta has the goods (in a follow-up on this), thanks to the Right To Information Act:

In 2006, the cutoff marks in maths, physics and chemistry were 37, 48 and 55 respectively. The corresponding marks for IIT-JEE 2007, in a bizarre twist, fell to as low as 1, 4 and 3.

Shocking as they are, the figures were kept under wraps in order to protect the credibility of IITs, a global brand. The authorities have, however, been forced to disclose the cutoff marks thanks to applications under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

The reduction in cutoff marks to single digits has made a mockery of the concept which is meant to ensure that selected candidates display a certain minimum level of knowledge in each of the three subjects. This has opened up the possibility of students making it to the merit list of IIT-JEE despite scoring nearly zero in the crucial test in mathematics.

The fall in the cutoffs in last year's examination defies logic as the overall performance of candidates actually went up. This is evident from the fact that the aggregate of the last candidate to have been selected in 2007 is 206, which is up from 154 the previous year.

The first and last paragraphs in the above quote do paint a seemingly illogical picture. It would be great if someone who knows more about this issue comes forward to share some inside info.

* * *

Here's an early rant from April 2006 about our deeply flawed entrance exams (one-shot, non-standardized) of which JEE is a horrible example. Here's another, from last year.


  1. Anonymous said...

    Marks apart, can anyone throw some light on the actual methodology followed for determining the cut offs?

    A method leading to cut offs of 1, 4 and 3 seems, as you say, bizarre. Wish they had these same cut offs when I took the IIT JEE ;)


  2. Anoop Saha said...

    I think they had negative marking for 2007 JEE and that might explain the low cutoff marks for that year. But I still don't understand, if the cutoff is 1/2/4, how can the last candidate to be admitted scored 206/300?

  3. ashwin kumar b v said...

    These are just cut offs. The new rules says cut off must be the highest score of the lowest 20% scores. So, the distribution of scores might still be the same.

  4. cipher said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  5. cipher said...

    They are just cut offs. You don't get selected in an exam if you score higher than the cut offs in all three subjects but you fail the exam if you score lower than the cut off in even one of the subjects (even though the total of the scores in the 3 subjects may be higher than that of the last selected candidate).
    The big question is how are cut offs determined. The fact that the average has in fact risen suggests that the cut off figures reported are freak figures. In other words there is no actual cut off. Only the cumulative score has been taken into account.
    Although I don't think many unreal selections could have happened (eg 1 in Math + 150 in Phy + 150 in Chem) , it would be interesting to find out the scores of people who got selected and scored the lowest in a particular subject.
    This is an IIT/JEE etc. bashing blog!! :)

  6. Anonymous said...

    I think the title reflects a cheap tabloid style sensational reporting by TOI. The individual cut-off fell to this low probably due to negative marking, which was not disclosed in the article. In any case the overall cut-off was in fact larger. Then how does it relates to the fall in exam standards? Just because some JEE bashers gleefully picked up the topic?


  7. Yogesh said...

    1) The new IIT-cutoff marks is sequel to a court case against IIT which it lost. A candidate who was failed in 2006 IIT-JEE exam, was then declared successful. it was reprted in Telegraph India.

    2) IIT has two cut-off marks, which are based on last years lowest marks achieved by successful candidates. Thus the cut-off marks for IIT-JEE should be the lowest marks of candidated who cleared IIT-JEE main in 2006 exam.

    3) IIT keeps two separate set of lowest marks, exam wise and overall. The student argued against IIT-Kharagpur (in charge of 2006 exam) that overall cut-off mark is much higher than sum total of individual cutoff marks, which defies the logic. Also, IIT could nor explain the rationale and calculation basis for arriving at cut-off marks. The student won the case and was admitted to IIT-KGP.

    4) To avoid such litigation in future, IITs seem to have kept the cut-off marks arbitrarily low of 1,2 & 4.

    Yogesh Upadhyaya
    New Jersey

  8. Bruno said...

    //Has anyone mentioned that JEE's rank order is a joke?//

    I think I mentioned :) :) :)

    The cut off of 1,4,3 means that they have admitted some one with mark 1 :) :) for reasons known only to them (and can be guessed by every one)

    I would love to know the reaction of "eminent personalities" who were concerned about the merit of an institution which admits you even if you score 1% mark :) :) :)

    //This is an IIT/JEE etc. bashing blog!! :)//

    Yeah... perhaps because their behaviour needs to be examined.

    The cut offs were given by the institute itself. What is wrong in mentioning that.

  9. ashwin kumar b v said...

    The cut of 1/4/3 doesnt mean someone with 1/4/3 score has been admitted. I t means someone with that score has been given a rank. With only around 4000 seats ranks above 6000 anyway dont matter. So giving a rank to those students is just a formality.

  10. Yogesh said...

    Hi Bruno & Ashwin:

    Let me clarify about IIT-JEE cut-off marks. Till 2006 exam, the cut-off marks were the lowest marks obtained by the students clearing the main exam and among the main merit list.

    To avoid litigation and controversy, IIT has changed the criteria for cut-off mark for each subject as mark obtained by the top of the lower 20% bracket of students WHO APPEARED FOR THE EXAM. naturally you will find 0 to 5 marks among all the 2.5 lakh students who took the exam. With lower cut-off (absurd) marks, no one will complain about IIT-JEE exam.

    In board exam, the overall cut-off marks can be much higher than the sum total of individual subject cut-off marks. But since IIT admits students solely based on cut-off marks, the overall cut-off marks can not be much higher. That was the argument put forward by the student in litigation.

    For example, if you have subject cut-off marks as 30, 35 and 40 and if you have overall cut-off marks as 150; it means that students with overall score between 105 and 150 marks are denied admissions and which can not be justified.

    IIT-JEE is supposed to test the logic of students, not that of examiners.


    Yogesh K Upadhyaya
    Middlesex, New Jersey

  11. Anonymous said...

    This is in specific response to the comment above by yogesh citing a telegraph india article about "a court case against IIT which it lost" and then "The student wont the case and was admitted to IIT-KGP". Actually, IIT did not lose the case, the judgement is in favour of IITs (see link below) and the student was not admitted to IIT-KGP or any other IIT.

    It may also be noted that the link provided in the post only talks about the ongoing case and does not report on the judgement.