Committee to look into CAT irregularities

Committee to look into CAT irregularities

 The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has set up a three-member committee to look into the alleged tampering of Common Admission Test (CAT) scores of 80 candidates, who took the test for admission to the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and a few other B-schools.

The committee comprises  Ajay Pandey, acting director, IIM-Ahmedabad, Devanath Tirupati, Dean (Academic), IIM-Bangalore and M Damodaran, chairman, IIM-Trichy. It will  meet in New Delhi on July 3.

A thorough review of the external data management and other systems used to announce the results of the nationwide online test has already been initiated by the IIMs, sources in the HRD Ministry said. On the basis of the final outcome of the review, the IIMs will develop a foolproof system with the help of experts to ensure that such “discrepancies” do not occur in future, they added.

Acting on an anonymous complaint, the convener of the nation-wide test conducted a probe into the results. It found that the CAT 2012-13 scores of 80 candidates available on the website www.catiim.in were different from the scores on the master database received from Prometric India, which conducted the test.

On the basis of prima facie findings, an FIR was lodged at a police station in Kozhikode by the authorities on June 15. The tampering had resulted in an inflation of scores of 80 examinees.
The website is hosted and managed by the Lucknow-based Web Weavers.

The CAT was conducted between October 11, 2012, and November 6, 2012, by IIM-Kozhikode. Besides the 13 IIMs, nearly 170 management institutes consider CAT scores for admission. Replying to questions on how the goof up might impact these institutes, Professor S S S Kumar, convener of CAT 2012, told Deccan Herald: “As soon as the issue was noticed, alerts were sent to the non-IIMs and we sent the scores from the master database, first by emails and subsequently hard copies.”

Ministry officials said soon after the discrepancies were noticed, all institutes were alerted. Following the goof up, the IIMs used the master database for shortlisting candidates. They also posted an alert on IIM websites.

“The admission process has in no way been compromised in any of the IIMs. Police are investigating the case,” a ministry official said.

When contacted, Prometric distanced itself from the controversy, saying the incident involved the IIMs’ web partner. The premier B-schools have taken required action according to the law. “The matter is being investigated upon. Prometric has no association with this vendor.

Prometric delivers all tests securely to ensure fairness, reliability and validity,” it said in a release. Web Weavers officials were unavailable for comment.  Meanwhile, IIM-Ahmedabad now has an in-charge director, Ajay Pandey. His tenure expires on June 30. According to sources, Harvard professor Ashish Nanda is set to replace him. Nanda will then become the first person from overseas to head the institute. Pandey said he was not aware of the new appointment. Sources pointed out that if the new director does not take over, then Pandey may continue be in charge of the institute and attend the July 3 meeting.

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