Post-paper errors, JEE-A to go online from 2018

CHENNAI: The IIT Joint Admission Board (JAB) on Sunday announced that the Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced) – which students take for admission to the IITs – will go online from 2018. Errors in this year’s question paper prompted the change, officials said.

Officials said an online test will help prevent mistakes and also avert situations like those encountered last year, when the JAB — the apex body that conducts the exam – reportedly gave 18 bonus marks to candidates who took the JEE Advanced because of printing and translation errors in the question paper.

After a meeting on Sunday, JAB members said they were optimistic that the online version of the JEE Advanced will ensure that there is greater accuracy and transparency in the test. Candidates in 2018 are likely to continue to have the option of taking either the online or written version of the JEE (Mains), the qualifying test for the JEE Advanced. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducts the qualifying test, which only 10% of all candidates chose to take online in 2017. More than 1.5 lakh students took the JEE Advanced in 2017. Officials had put the admission process on hold temporarily after a group of students pointed out mistakes in the question paper.

The Supreme Court heard a plea by the students in July and directed the JAB to award them bonus marks and submit an undertaking to the court that it would develop a suitable mechanism to ensure such errors don’t reoccur. “The online version of the test will make logistics easier and the evaluation process more accurate. It will also take care of security issues because there will be no scope for question paper leaks,” a senior official with the human resource development (HRD) ministry said.

IIT-M director and JAB chairman Bhaskar Ramamurthi said printing costs would drop with the online version and the board would be able to declare results faster. Candidates now wait for nearly two months for the JEE Advanced results. “Students were unable to correct their answers after bubbling the answers [fill in multiple-choice answers in the written test],” Ramamurthy said.

“[With the online mode] they can go back and change answers if they want to.” JAB members consider test reforms periodically but they were not sure that they could make enough computers available to conduct the exam for all the candidates at one go, an official said. However, now that more than two lakh students take many exams at one sitting, the JAB decided to go online, he said.

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