I like it when an independent body or the judiciary is able to arm twist a government body into doing what it would otherwise have never done. Here is an example -
But how well you do in CAT — after you have been shortlisted which means you have made it to at least the top 10% of all applicants — makes up only a fifth of your final score when it comes to securing an IIM admission. In fact, it’s your Class X and Class XII results that account for more — 25% of the final score; your Bachelor’s degree 15%. The factor with the maximum weightage is your performance in group discussion (GD), GD summary and personal interview — 35%. The balance 5% depends on work experience and whether you have taken a “professional course”.
Such details have been revealed for the first time by the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore which conducted the CAT last year after it was forced by the Central Information Commission to do so last fortnight. This direction came after 22-year-old visually challenged woman Vaishnavi Kasturi, was first refused information by IIMB. The institute declined to give details until the CIC intervened.
What are the possible reasons for not having done this earlier ? Or more generally under what circumstances should an education institution not lay down the criterion on which they admit students ? It would make sense if it is possible to ‘game’ the system by doing well on their criterion and nothing else.
For example, the IITs have been forced to change their exam patterns over the years because they believed that coaching is playing too much of a role and that selection procedure does not throw up the right pool of candidates. For the record, I have not followed this issue well enough to say if the current pattern has gone any distance towards solving the problem.
But in this particular case, it is unforgivable that they were not willing to reveal even the various factors that do matter. (perhaps even without stating the relative importance of each – much like US college/grad school admissions). This matters if a candidate who for some reason did not do well in Class X wants to improve his chances by focusing his energies accordingly. I know one might argue that a good candidate is good anyday and so one must always try to do his/her best irrespective of which factor is more important. But that would only be an artificial system because in the real world we are always faced with having to prioritize and fill gaps when we encounter them. By the way, I now have a feeling this might even deter some who did not do well in X, XII and their Bachelors to not even attempt the CAT ( with an eye on the IIMs at least).
I remember preparing for the IITJEE in the late 90s and not ever knowing what was the likely cut off – what mattered, what did not, whether one of the papers was more important, whether the number of attempts were a factor, there was no information about what branches you are likely to get at what rank and which IIT. Thinking back it might seem silly and its always silly for us ‘somewhat’ grown ups to sermonize on how one must not study with the end in mind and just enjoy the process. It is also not funny for 17 year old planning out his time it really is not. And this only encouraged rumors and these rumor-monger flourished.
Also I don’t think its fair to weigh one’s Class X marks on similar footing as Bachelor’s degree scores. Further, how do they reconcile the not-so-standard grading systems across different colleges/schools/levels ?
Of course, I don’t want the IIT/IIM system to end up like this. Not everything should be laid out to such level of detail that you can game the system. But I am glad we are seeing what we are.
P.S : Prof. Abinandanan, a faculty member at IISc has been covering these and other higher education related issues on nanopolitan. I would be keen to hear his views on this.