Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Giridhar on JEE, GATE, ...

Giridhar offers some observations on JEE, mixing them together with his thoughts on GATE. [Especially on the latter, Giridhar can speak with deep knowledge, as he was the Deputy Chairman of GATE at IISc several years ago]. Here's an interesting bit:

I know that one of the measures that is being thought of is to only allow candidates who have represented the country in the (Math/Physics) Olympiad OR secured an average plus two standard deviations in their respective board exam to write JEE. Because most of the board exams follow a normal distribution, only the top 2.5% will be allowed to write JEE. JEE will not be an objective exam (i.e., multiple choice questions) but will include several descriptive questions with marks ranging from 1 to 10 for each question. Subsequent to this exam, JEE will announce the marks in each subject for every student that took the exam. The departments in each IIT will decide the weight to each subject. The candidate then decides which branch to apply and to the IIT that (s)he likes. Computer science may give 60% weight to marks in maths and 20% weight each to physics and chemistry. The maths department in IIT may give 90% weight to marks in maths and the candidate can join for M.Sc (Maths) there.


  1. Anonymous said...

    I think such an eligibility cut-off is unfair, because it doesn't provide second chances. When the eligibility is 60% at the board exam, anyone who didn't do well in the board exam for any reason (medical, family, personal) can work on the entrance later.

    Another reason to reject such a cut-off is the enormous power it would provide boards and the Olympiad organisers. And the pressure the cut-off would put on all plus 2 students, not just the ones choosing to write JEE.

    I think the IITs should just use SAT, it is a more equitable and transparent system. Fancy gymnastics with the cut-offs will only push more students to foreign universities.

  2. as said...

    A good admission process would assess students from multiple perspectives, promote diversity without compromising on intellectual rigor and would not smack of venality. The JEE only achieves the last.

    Getting all 3 would necessarily require an element of subjectivity and high levels of trustable integrity.

    Until then its all Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

  3. Anonymous said...

    Aptitude tested by board exam and aptitude required for JEE is totally different. An average scorer in board may be excellent in JEE and vice versa.

    Also subjective evaluation in Indian environment (read corrupt env.) should be avoided.

    India, now with so many CETs and entrance tests for so many states, we should now look at Chinese type of entrance. They have one 'National Entrance Test' for all students. It is called GAO KAO.

    In India, we can retain the board tests. Have a national test (equivalent to AIEEE). Fill all engineering (excluding IIT) seats thru this single test. And have a separate JEE for IIT for the top 10,000+ students of national test.

  4. Yogesh K. Upadhyaya said...

    Prof. Giridhar:

    I visited your site and found very informative.

    The idea of narrowing selection criteria is repulsive. It is planned (as mentioned)to offer chemical engineering branch for candidates with higher chemistry score, for example. Any engineering study requires knowledge of all subjects (physics, chemicstry, mathematics). It is wrong to assume that only knowledge of chemistry is needed as chemical engineering.

    All 15th/16th century scientists were basically philosophers and mathematicians. If a person excels in one field, he can also excel in other fields, depending upon his interest. Why not grant admissions to electrical engineering solely based on marks obtained in JEE for electricity questions in physics? This selection will result in narrowly focussed engineers.

    In US, the college admission is based on a number of criteria, such as SAT score, high school grades, essay writing, interview, social work/extra-curricular activities and school recommendations, to get well-rounded students.

    Yogesh Upadhyaya
    New Jersey

  5. Giri@iisc said...

    Dear Dr. Yogesh Upadhyaya,

    I think you missed the point. The student should have qualified in the top 2.5% of the board exam in all subjects (maths, physics, chemistry). (S)he will still undergo all courses in IITs in maths, physics, chemistry etc. So, I do not understand what training is being missed...Just because the weights during selection is different does not mean the first year courses etc will be bypassed by the candidate.

    I did not mention chemical engineering. Except for me, no other faculty in chemical engineering in IISc is even remotely connected with chemistry..they do more physics than anything else.



  6. Anonymous said...

    Prof. Giridhar:

    I think the 2.5% board exam cut-off as eligibility for JEE is not appropriate for the reasons:

    (1) As someone mentioned above, it doesn't give anyone at least a second chance (if not more) at JEE.

    (2) IMHO, most board exams don't have much credibility. The reason why all the major states went for entrance exams (that too objective type) in mid 80s speaks for itself. A plethora of complaints of corruption against them was a common feature in those days. Nowadays, of course, no one cares about board marks, so not many bother to complain. Now if you put a premium on the board exams again, most likely we'll revert to those (bad) old days.

    (3) Board exams are designed to pass the most candidates - so are inherently of average standard. Questions are very straight forward and subjective (eg. what is the resultant of two forces, P and Q? etc.) - they check only the ability to mug up. I think letting only top 2.5% in those kind of exams to take JEE is unfair.

    Thanks and regards

  7. cipher said...

    My this point doesn't get answered. Perhaps its trivial but its the following: By changing cut off schemes, we change the people who get selected. The question then is, Are IITs taking the wrong kind of people, or do they don't have the capacity to take "all" the right kind of people.

  8. Anonymous said...

    To take 'all' the right kind of people, I think they should have about 15000 or so seats. Until then - let me agree with the prev. commenter - 'it's all going to be tweedledee and tweedledum' - no matter what cosmetic change you do.

  9. Anonymous said...

    "In India, we can retain the board tests. Have a national test (equivalent to AIEEE). Fill all engineering (excluding IIT) seats thru this single test. And have a separate JEE for IIT for the top 10,000+ students of national test."

    Oh, IITs are so special that they can not be asked to fill up based on the same national test, eh?

    And what is the point of asking the top 10000 students to take another test? With 13 IITs currently, 4 more on the anvil, 50% reservation, the number of candidates admitted to IITs will be more than 10,000 by 2011.