Saturday, June 2, 2012

Diverse admission criteria for IIT's should be welcomed

The following post resonated with me an-open-letter-to-indias-graduating-classes. It seems obvious to me that the existing selection criteria are not working too well. Hence, the opposition of IIT Faculy and Alumni to the new proposals surprises me. In particular:
“School marks should act as a cut-off and not given any weightage. Stress on school board, JEE (main) and JEE (advance) will only increase the pressure on students rather than taking that off and further propel the coaching industry by manifolds,” was unanimously said in the meeting.
I have long felt that the result of a single evaluation method is inherently weak. Using multiple factors is preferable. Pressure to do consistently well is good and desirable. Why else have elite educational institutions? The solution to unreasonable expectations lies in having alternate educational options which are extremely good. It seems silly to educate a small number of people very well and thrust incompetence and mediocrity on the rest.

I would even suggest that getting into elite institutions should not be enough. Each year at least some students should be helped to move to lesser known institutions. They should be able to transfer credits and not lose an academic year but high expectations must be maintained.

We shouldn't be removing stress but helping children manage it. An important cause is the unreasonable expectations of parents and society with regard to academic performance. Reporting results on percentile basis rather than percentages may help. Given the inflation of marks, it wouldn't surprise me is that a person getting 75% marks may have a rank of no more than 40th percentile and 90% may be 60th percentile. It would be hard for parents to brag or push their child with a 60th percentile!

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