Saturday, March 06, 2010

No end to CAT trouble

The trouble with the Common Admission Test (CAT) refuses to die down. Ever since CAT results were declared on February 28, and the IIMs shortlisted the aspirants, several candidates and CAT trainers are questioning the methodology by which the results were arrived at. The candidates allege inconsistency in section-wise marking system adopted by the testing and assessment service provider, Prometric that conducted the test on behalf of the IIMs. If inconsistency in the scores was not enough, names went missing from the list of the test takers. Chintan Gala, a Mumbai-based student, told ET that his name was missing from the list of candidates who appeared for the test. Gala says when CAT developed snags, he was given the option of re-appearing. However, he refused saying that he successfully completed the test. He was in for a shock when his name was not in the list. I immediately got in touch with Prometric, but in response they told that it was my fault and that a re-test was mandatory. Gala will now take a legal recourse.

Students, who scored much lower than expected in individual sections, claimed the answer keys to some questions were incorrect. Ironically, many of these students, despite scoring high, scored poorly in certain sections, thus reducing their chance of call from even the second rung B-schools, let alone the IIMs. I scored way less in verbal (one of the three sections) than what I had expected. My scores in other two sections are good and my overall CAT score is also not bad, said Abhinandan Goyal, a candidate. An ET mail sent to the managing director of Prometric India did not elicit a response.

From the analysis of the results of at least 400 candidates that we have access to, one can say that the results do not justify their potential. While in some slots the percentile is as high as 99, in others it is as low as 25. The trend clearly establishes that the slotwise marking has been unfair, said Vivek Tuteja, CEO of Endeavour, an Ahmedabad-based management coaching institute. CAT has three sections, including verbal ability, quantitative ability, and data interpretation and logical reasoning, and along with the overall percentile, the IIMs and other B-schools consider individual section-wise cut-off for shortlisting candidates.

Source: The Economic Times, March 6, 2010 (Reported by Dibyajyoti Chatterjee & Kumar Anand)

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