The IITs are tinkering with the cut-off marks. Again.
During the last three three years, the IITs first selected the top 80 percent of the exam takers in each subject. The survivors after this step were then ranked according to their aggregate scores.
In JEE-2009, the first cut-off is not at the 20th percentile, but at the average score in each subject. If the students' scores in each subject fall on a true bell curve (do they?), then the average would correspond to the 50th percentile. I think this is the only difference in the ranking procedure between JEE-2008 and JEE-2009.
All of which leads to questions like these: Why the 50th percentile? Why not, say, a cut-off at the 80th percentile? Or, what was wrong with the earlier procedure -- with the cut-off at the 20th percentile? I don't think there will be any public articulation of answers to these questions.
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Meanwhile, Boalt Hall, UC-Berkeley's law school, has issued a report from a 10-year study to identify elements of an ideal standardized exam that would predict success as a lawyer (while LSAT predicts success in the first year of law school). The thrust of the report is clear: one has to look beyond LSAT, and Boalt Hall thinks it now has a good model that can be deployed. It will be interesting to see how long it takes to implement its own ideas.
The more important take-away (at least for me) is the serious effort expended by UC-Berkeley's law school in doing such a serious, academic study that could be used later for developing appropriate admission policies and procedures.
Both these news stories appeared today. The contrast is striking, indeed.
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Thanks to Pratik Ray for the e-mail alert about the Telegraph story.