Experts against school marks in JEE

Experts have warned against any tweaking in the AIEEE to decide admission to engineering institutes, including IITs, saying this would "detract seriously from the effectiveness" of the all-India entrance exam.

Brought in by the CBSE to 'normalise' Class XII marks across 29 school boards — ahead of making them part of the engineering entrance format — experts from the Australian Council of Education Research and Pearson Foundation have cautioned against the same. They have questioned the distribution of marks by the CBSE, suggesting there was external intervention by the way of grace marks/ extra marks at points.

A reputed independent organisation, the ACER manages the international PISA testing for secondary-level school education.

Amid stiff opposition, the HRD Ministry — then led by Kapil Sibal — had announced a new common entrance format for admission to IITs, NITs and IIITs from 2013. This new exam is proposed to have two components — JEE Main (for screening) and JEE Advanced (for the final IIT merit list). In the format, 40 per cent weightage is to be given to Class XII scores at the screening stage in JEE Main for determining admission to NITs, IIITs and other engineering institutes. Board marks were to be 'normalised' across school boards to ensure a level playing field to students from all states.

CBSE Chairperson Vineet Joshi said the report by the Australian experts was not the last word on the subject. "They have seen limited data and their view is based on the same. The normalisation across boards and weightage to board scores is do-able and in fact it is happening around the world and even at home. Kerala for instance does it with joint entrance exams taking board marks into account," Joshi said.

However, ACER and Pearson experts feel school board scores from across states can hardly be 'normalised' effectively to enable the same to be used for a common entrance. "AIEEE Total scores appear to be quite well suited for tertiary selection, and to form any combination with scores distributed like these would detract seriously from their effectiveness," ACER experts have said.

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