Gone are the days when you could take the famed admission test at Presidency University even when you did not manage to score first division marks in your Plus Two exams. From this year, the authorities have decided on cutoff marks for allowing a student to take the test. In earlier years, several thousands would turn up for every subject, making the correction of those scripts a Herculean task for teachers. Since the task at hand is to improve the quality of teaching-learning in this elite institution, the authorities this year decided to allow only high scorers in Plus Two to write the exam.
After scanning through the merit lists of the last five years for all subjects, a formula was arrived at. While in some subjects the cut-off for allowing students to take the test (or taking the forms), was kept as high as 80%, in most it was anything between 70 and 75%. Only in Bengali, Hindi and philosophy , candidates with scores as low as 55% were allowed to take forms, considering the fact that only students from the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education opt for these subjects and despite revisions in syllabi and marking pattern, the scores continue to be low in these subjects.
For English, chemistry, physics, geography and maths, which are considered the prize departments of the university, the cut-off has been kept as high as 80%. Faculty members said the steep cut-off was finalized after a lot of debate. "We went through the merit lists of the past five years and considered the average of the lowest percentage scored in that subject. There was no point in making thousands sit for the test and subject our teachers to this humungous task of correcting the scripts when students with low scores will never make it to the department ," justified the new registrar of the university, Prabir Dasgupta.
Take the case of economics. The aggregate has gone up to 70% this year, whereas in zoology a student has to score 75% in the subject to get a form. "We want students with a minimum level of understanding of the subject to sit for the admission test and hence raised the cut-off. If you have to build quality you will have to be strict with the kind of candidates who can even think of taking the admission test for a certain subject," said Amitava Chatterjee, head of the department of economics.
Among the two other major changes that the fledgling university has introduced in its admissions is a two-tier English exam and opting for the multiple choice question pattern for admission test of six subjects, the three bio-sciences and physics, chemistry and geology. In these subjects the correction will be done with the help of optical mark recorders. The other premier institution of the city, St Xavier's College, has mostly allowed candidates with 60% marks to apply.
However, for every subject, the cut-offs have been worked out according to special formulae to suit respective subject requirements. Care has been taken to work out different cut-offs for the different boards, taking into consideration the fact that it is difficult to score well in the higher secondary exam. The cut-offs for subjects like English and physics have been over 95% for ISC candidates. "Take the case of commerce. Though candidates with 60% have been allowed to apply, the final cut-off has been as high as 92.2% for ISC candidates and 84.5% for HS candidates," said Father Felix Raj. The college will publish its merit list on Monday, 18th June, 2012.
Courtesy: Times of India