Universities will prepare merit lists for undergraduate (UG) admissions using the “normalised scores” and not the percentiles students attain in the Common University Entrance Test (CUET), University Grants Commission (UGC) chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar said on Friday.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) announced the results of the first university entrance test for UG admissions on Friday. The scorecards students have received have percentiles and normalised scores, creating confusion about what exactly will decide admissions.
According to NTA, a committee headed by senior professors from Indian Statistical Institution Delhi, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and the University of Delhi, had detailed deliberations and decided to use “equipercentile method” to give normalised scores to students appeared across the six sessions of the CUET-UG.
The agency, earlier, said that since tests in the same subject are conducted with new questions for different days, there has been a need to account for differences in difficulty across days.
Percentile scores and normalised marks differ in a key way for what they represent. A percentile is an estimation of where a student’s overall performance is relative to others that took the CUET-UG.
Normalised marks are individual subject scores that are calculated in a way that marks of a student who appeared in one session is comparable to that of another from a different session — since no two session is likely to have the same level of difficulty.
“…it is humanly impossible to have identical difficulty levels in each shift,” Kumar said, adding that someone can be in 82nd percentile with 68 marks in one session, or retain the same percentile score with just 57 marks in another.
Kumar said this is why students have varying normalised scores and percentiles. “The students do not need to worry because all universities will use only normalised scores to prepare their merit lists. That has taken care of the difference between the difficult levels across all sessions.”
Normalised marks can be “used in the same way we use the raw marks of a conventional single session examination,” the UGC boss said. Therefore, in a particular university, if the raw marks of the particular domain component has a certain weightage, it can be taken into account to create the merit lists, he added.
Judging students on the same yardstick has been a sticky challenge. The problem was previously most glaring with the Central Board of Secondary Education’s (CBSE) board examinations, where a “moderation” policy was meant to standardise scores to account for variations in evaluation as well as relative differences in difficulty levels in separate sets of questions papers.