Administration of CAT was far from perfect, admits Prometric

Administration of CAT was far from perfect, admits Prometric

"While the administration was far from perfect, tests were successfully given to more than 2.15 lakh candidates over the course of 11 days...," Soumitra Roy, Managing Director, India, Prometric, said.

The computerised test, which was conducted on 17,000 computers in 361 temporary testing labs at 104 centres in 32 cities, was marred by "virus attack" and other technical glitches from the beginning. The test was supposed to be taken by 2.41 lakh candidates for admission into IIMs and B-Schools.
"We stand by the test and its ability to best serve interests of students and educators. We strongly believe in its credibility," Roy said.

His comments assume significance against the backdrop of faculty associations of three IIMs passing separate resolutions, seeking scrapping of CAT 2009 on the ground that it has lost credibility due to the technical problems.
"The development of the test adhered to a process-driven science that both the IIMs and Prometric strictly followed," Roy said.

CAT items were built with the input of more than 95 subject-matter experts and reviewed by IIM professors. In addition, items were tested prior to being deployed in the field and are being tested again to ensure that all the questions on the test performed as intended, Roy said.
"Our ongoing event reconciliation processes have verified that no results have been deleted by a virus attack," he claimed, adding that the proprietary result files used by Prometric fall outside the scope of what a virus is capable of attacking.
About the technical problems, Roy said several hundred technicians were deployed throughout the country to make enhancements and retrain staff.
"As a result the numbers of impacted sites and candidates decreased substantially after the first three days. In addition, rescheduling got underway immediately, enabling us to contact and reschedule tests for more than 17,000 affected candidates," he said.
About 8,500 candidates could not appear in the test during the first three days. The issue was raised in Parliament also.
Prometric is in the process of identifying candidates who may have experienced difficulties, or were unable to appear in test within the testing window. The final number will only be known once this work is complete, Roy said.
Every affected candidate, who has not taken the test till now, will have the opportunity to take the test in an appropriate testing environment, he said.

"In addition, we are conducting a rigorous analysis to ensure that every test result is valid and appropriate," Roy said.
The IIM directors had a meeting with Prometric representatives on Sunday where the test CAT administration was reviewed.
"This was one of a series of meetings held with the IIM's to discuss the computer-based testing processes, to size the problems encountered and to develop action plans to serve each and every candidate," Roy said.
Meanwhile, unhappy over thousands of students failing to appear in the CAT, the HRD Ministry has convened a meeting of IIM directors tomorrow to express its concerns.
Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal has already expressed displeasure over students facing problem during the computerised test which was marred by glitches from its beginning.

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