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Class XII marks may play key role in IIT entry

Marks scored in the Plus Two board examinations are likely to become a key determining factor in addition to performance in the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for admission into the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) by 2011.

In a couple of months, a pan-IIT committee, formed by the Union human resource development ministry to suggest reforms to JEE, is expected to submit its report recommending ways to factor in the marks scored by students in higher secondary examinations while preparing the IIT merit list. A meeting of all IIT directors and JEE representatives in Chennai over the weekend discussed the proposed changes.

“We hope to devise a methodology to compute a normalised Plus Two cut-off eligibility score for each educational board (CBSE, ICSE, and State Boards). If it’s approved, then only students who have scored this cut-off mark would become eligible to appear for JEE,” IIT Madras deputy director V G Idichandy, who is heading the committee, said on Monday. The present eligibility norm of an aggregate score of 60% in Plus Two determined by the IIT standing council, as opposed to 85% recommended by a JEE review committee four years ago, is considered too poor a benchmark.

The move comes in the backdrop of widespread concern among top academicians over the current IIT admission system which is entirely dependent on JEE scores and ignores the board examination results.

The inherent weakness of such a system is that IITs have been able to largely attract only students “conditioned for JEE” by high profile coaching centres in Kota and Hyderabad. Such students who lack “raw intelligence”, as described by IIT Madras director M S Ananth, are at times at sea after entering the campus.

“We are collecting data on Plus Two results of the past four to five years from different boards in all states to base our recommendation on. Much will depend on how we compute an acceptable method to normalise the marks scored in different boards. You have nearly 40 boards of education in India,” Prof Idichandy said.

However, the even more difficult part is to convince authorities of all the boards to declare Plus Two results within a specified time frame every academic year.

“This will be crucial for us as we have to base JEE on Plus Two results. This is where a common school board, at least at the level of higher secondary education, which has been proposed by HRD minister Kapil Sibal, will help in determining any all-India merit
list,” he said.

Idichandy acknowledged JEE can’t be abolished “but we want to give as much importance as possible to the performance of students at the school level” in IIT admissions.

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