It’s been a while since CBSE introduced the Normalisation system in JEE (Main) which would consider All India Ranking (AIR) by giving weightage to the JEE (Main) score as well as the score in Senior Secondary Board Examinations. Three JEE (Main) under this scheme have been conducted since then.
What it should have been like?
This pattern gives 60% weightage to JEE (Main) score and 40% weightage to the score in Board Exams. Technically it should make 60% of the score in JEE Main and 40% of the marks in boards by first converting it to a base of 360, and adding them up.
This scenario will look something like this. Say a student has scored 200/360 in JEE Main exam, and has scored 94% in Board Exams, then it should be done like this:
60% of JEE Main score = 200 * 0.60 = 120.
converting the board score to a base of 360 => 94% of 360 = 338.4
40% of converted board score = 338.4 * 0.40 = 135.36
Thus this student’s final normalised score should be = 120 + 135.36 = 255.36
What it is like?
The above discussion would be good enough for estimating an AIR on the basis of the final score thus obtained. However, this is not the case. What CBSE has done is that instead of considering the board marks converted to a base of 360, it is taking the percentile of a student in the boards. Then it is finding the corresponding score in JEE Main according to that percentile (average of two factors, one on an All India level, and one specific to the student’s Grade 12 Board). This would be considered as the score obtained by taking the ‘Board Exams’ under consideration.
This method is lethal. The problem with this scheme is easily spotted. Let’s analyse with respect to CBSE boards. In this board, hardly people cross 97% of marks. Though 95% of marks is seen in many cases. Marks >= 85% are very common. Say a person A has obtained a percentage of 92% and a person B has obtained just a few more, i.e. 97%. The percentile corresponding to person A would be around 95 %ile, while the percentile corresponding to B’s score will be in 99 %ile. Then it would be the time to check the JEE Main score according to the percentiles obtained. Now, in JEE Main, out of 360 marks, maximum people will be less than 100 marks. So, a 95 %ile will yield roughly 130 marks. But B is lucky. B’s percentile will give a score nearing (or even crossing) 300 marks because at such a good percentile you can definitely expect to be one among the toppers.
Let’s now say that the score of A in JEE Main is 260 and the score of B in JEE Main is only 180. (‘A’ has a score much higher than ‘B’, indicating the fact that A has a better Problem Solving Aptitude (PSA) than B)
Thus A’s normalised score would be:
0.6 * 260 + 0.4 * 130 = 208
And B’s normalised score would be: 228
RESULT: Thus, B will be ranked well above A in the merit list, even though the PSA of A is much better than B.
The above result holds true because Board examinations only test you on the basis of how much you have learnt your curriculum, and do not award you much on the basis of your PSA. The problems to be solved are relatively easy and the subjective form of examinations yields way to reward you even if you don’t know the concept but you have memorised it. Thus, unscrupulous students may score well in such examinations.
However, an engineering entrance exam (like JEE Main), not only tests how well you have learnt, but it also tests you rigorously how well do you use your presence of mind to solve real world problems on the spot, which is the basic necessity for an engineer.
Another problem is that Engineering Entrance Exams stress on relative ranking however in board exams award you based on what you have written in your answer booklets. Thus bringing in the percentile system from boards is not efficient. A student having 96% and a student having 98% in boards will have a large gap (could even be more than 5%, 18 marks away) in the corresponding JEE Main score although they are just 2 % away from each other’s scores.
The Need of the Hour
This calls for an urgent refinement in the present system. By taking the percentile of a student in Board exams and giving them a strong weightage, we are only losing genuine candidates. Scores in board exams can also be obtained by unscrupulous students by mugging up how to solve problems rather than understanding the underlying concepts which will help to solve problems in real world. However only those who dream to be engineers and are strongly motivated and committed to this field do well in Objective Type Engineering Entrance Exams (because there is negative marking to punish incorrect responses and higher marks to award correct answers).
If you ask me, I would say a BIG NO to Board Exam scores. Let the All India Ranking be based purely on the score obtained in JEE Main and don’t bring the board scores in between. This was the pattern till 2012 in AIEEE (All India Engineering Entrance Exam), until someone came up with this idea. You may use the board scores as a tie breaker (after considering the Math > Physics > Chemistry score preference order), but don’t punish genuine students and reward unscrupulous students on the basis of their board scores.
Even after knowing all this, if one has to consider board scores then scrap the percentile system. Because of this, our good old AIEEE has reached a pathetic state. A substitute can be considering the Board Exam scores directly. For giving weightage to Board Exams, convert the marks to a base of 360 (or whatever the maximum marks of the Entrance Exam may be) and then consider them giving weightage (like 40% in the scenario I mentioned in the beginning). That would at least be reasonable and not create a gap in the scores because of a tiny difference in the Board Exam scores.
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