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Sunday, December 6, 2009

CAT 2009:the Farce Part2

CAT :anothe farce by IIM's Part 1 (

Nothing would give you more delight than seeing what you had predicted months ago turn into reality.But on this particular occasion when I see how CAT 2009 has really become a farce, a more useless exam than ever before ,I am saddend and wish things would have been different.Infact I am mortified,petrified,terrified by you-IIM's
Ok so CAT'09 is a farce.The reasons-I wont really waste time discussing them all.If you are really interested then google CAT 09 and view the first few posts on PAGALGUY (the beloved PG :) ) or any of the n forums we have on CAT in India.In a nutshell things as mundane and managable like technical glitches to statistical difficult tasks like mantaining same difficulty level across different exam slots have bothered the 200,000 plus candidates writing the CAT exam this year.
Now we are middle of a deep s**t and the stakes are high.Even if we assume the misgiving of prometric and IIM's have affected just 5% (I really doubt that no. though) of the total candidates,we would still be playing with careers of about 10,000 candidates across India---certainly not a small no.
So what should be done at this point of time?Many people are calling for a revert to the old pencil and paper CAT.while this is an easy option ,but moving back to the old pencil and paper CAT would rob it of the 100 improvements that IIM's could have done with the online version--ranging from making the test adaptive to doing psychometric analysis of the candidate as he takes the exam.In my view ordering an immediate re test or a revert back to the old system would be like taking one step forward and two steps backward.So here's what I think should be done to get out of this deep worm smelling s**t:

1)Allow the exam to be conducted and completed in the smoothest possible manner,ensuring all those who couldnt write the test get an oppurtunity to write the test again
2)After the test has been completed the IIM CAT committe should do a one way ANOVA analysis between the test slots and the CAT scores (the IIM CAT committee can decide to give lower weightage to questions which were repeated between slots and were easy )
3)The ANOVA results should be evaluated at 99.999% confidence interval to determine if their is a statistically significant difference between scores obtained by candidates in various slots
4)If a significant difference is seen in any of the slots then a DU PONT analysis should be done to ascertain the reason of the difference.The differencs that would concern the IIM CAT committe and candidates writing the test are :
a)Significant difference in aptitude level of candidates across the slots
b)Difference in the difficulty levels of the exam paper between any two slots
c)Avaliabilty of advanced information which helped candidates in a particular slot score more than candidates in other slots

THe DU PONT analysis can be conducted by number crunching the contribution of repeated questions across various slots.If the ANOVA analysis of scores obtained on repeated questions show no significant differences then (A) as the reason of difference can be rules out
If the tests were of similar difficulty level and candidates had same aptitude level then statistically contribution of difficult and easy questions in scores should be the same.This can again be determined by ANOVA,Z or chi distribution test of the score populations of diff and easy questions in different test slots
If the above is alos negative ,it would mean ( c) is the reason for diff in scores

5)If a is the reason then we can compare plain scores for giving out the initial shortlists
If b is the reason then normalization of scores would make the process fair
If c is the reason then,even at 99.999% confidence level we need to call for a RE TEST
While the statistical soln would not look applealing to many and be seen as complete moronic bull shit by others,I am of the view the methods are reliable to be used here.Alternatively IIMs might significantly increase the no. of initial shortlists.
Whatever it took one CAT to put IIM's at top of the world and it would take one CAT to put them back on Earth
Happy Blogging

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