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[NEWS] Model Answer Paper to be Available for Public Scrutiny Before Papers are Corrected

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One of the most selective exams in the world, IIT's dreaded Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) has always carried the fear factor with it. About 3 lakh students appeared for this super-tough exam this year, of which only about 2 to 3 per cent students got admission across the seven existing IITs and a few new ones. (In the best institutes around the world, about 10 per cent of those appearing for entrance exams, are selected.) Incidentally, the best professors of the IITs brainstorm over days to set the JEE paper, making it as tough as possible.

There's fear, and there's extreme secrecy. Or was. Now, in its first small step towards transparency, IITs across the country have agreed to display model answer papers of JEE for public scrutiny before the correction of the papers.

What this means is that in case there is an error in the answer provided by IIT and there has been such an instance, but more on that later the students can approach IIT's Joint Admission Board and seek recourse.

At present papers are corrected and admission lists are put up, before the model answer papers are released to the public. This way, if a student spots an error in any answer, it's too late to make a correction.

"Since the questions are tough, there can be different interpretations to the problems which the paper setters may not have thought of. Students can now point this out," says an IIT professor, on condition of anonymity. "The transparency is a good step for the exam."

The new decision to ensure transparency was taken in last week after Professor Kapil D Joshi, professor of math, IIT-Bombay, pointed out an error in the math paper of JEE.

The new rule will come into effect with the 2009 IIT JEE. Model answer papers will be posted on the IIT website immediately after the examination.

Says Prof Joshi, "The earlier process involved a lot of risk. By the time the model answer paper was made public, admissions to the IITs were over. Any error in the model answer paper must have possibly robbed thousands of students of crucial marks.

Displaying the model answer paper soon after the exam will prevent such errors."Professor Joshi had pointed out how IITs across the country had evaluated a four-mark multiple choice math question whose answer on the model paper was wrong, thus denying students with right answers, the marks they badly needed.

Adds Prof Joshi, "IIT-JEE 2008 was held on April 13, but the model answer papers were displayed only on August 1. I spotted the error only on August 3. But, by then, the admission process was almost complete. And there was nothing anybody could have done about it as it was too late. I am happy that at least now the institutes have decided to take this seriously," said Joshi. 

An official from the IIT Joint Admission Board (JAB) said, "We are too late this year but we are working on a more transparent process for next year, and figuring out how soon we can display the model answer papers for the public. The model answer paper would be displayed soon after the IIT-JEE 2009 exam. I cannot comment further on the matter."


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