IIM candidates challenges Psychometric analysis and equating methods in CAT 2013

CHENNAI: Alleging large-scale irregularities in the manner in which the prestigious Common Admission Test (CAT) for admission to 13 Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) is conducted, a writ petition by eight IIM aspirants has sought a stay on the entire admission process this year. Justice R Subbiah, before whom the petition jointly filed by eight aspirants, all hailing from Chennai, came up for admission on Thursday, directed the Union human resources development ministry and the CAT Centre 2013 at IIM-Indore to reserve one seat each to all petitioners who had moved the court. CAT is the first step for joining any of the 14 IIMs in the country, and some other top management institutions too use the scores for their admissions. After a 20-day exercise at 40 centres that began on October 16 last year, the CAT results were published on January 14. The petitioner-candidates assailed the examination format and said: "The computerized format of CAT 2013 was conducted over a period of 20 days and the obvious consequence of it is varying standards of difficulty in presented to candidates. The level of difficulty was different for each slot of each day of the testing period. The method of 'equating', 'scaling' and 'normalization' used by the authorities in the process of scoring in CAT 2013 to normalize the scores of the petitioners is lawful and erroneous." The process of equating and scaling, which is otherwise known as normalization of scores, has caused grave irregularities in the scores obtained by students, it said, adding: "It has been proved that candidates who have not attempted even a single question have been awarded a percentile of 55.46 and this, in turn, implies that more than 50% of the 1.7 lakh candidates who underwent CAT scored zero or even less." The entire registration process, setting up test centres, compilation of questions, evaluation of answers and calculation and publication of results have all been outsourced to a Gurgaon-based company, Prometric Testing Private Limited. Describing the January 14 results as shocking because it was erratic and illogical, the petitioner-students said the normalized score of several thousand candidates was not in consonance with the number of questions attempted by the candidates. Citing the case of one Gautam Puri, a faculty of Career Launcher India Limited who undertakes test every year, the petition said he did not attempt any question in either of the sections of the paper in CAT 2013. He, however, had scored an overall score of 165 out of 450 marks and an overall percentile of 55.46 which is highly improbable and disputable. Alleging lack of transparency in the evaluation procedure, they wanted the court to stay the process of admission to the 13 Indian Institutes of Managements as well as other institutions which utilize CAT 2013 scores in their admissions. They also wanted the court direct the authorities to reserve a seat each for the eight students who moved the HC. As a final relief, they wanted the court to quash the entire CAT 2013 held between October 16, 2013 and November 1, 2013.
Source: TOI

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