CAT 2009 will not be scrapped, says CAT committee

A fresh test will be held in mid-January 2010 for registered students who could not take the test earlier due to technical glitches. The IIMs have decided to continue with computer-based testing in future.

This year's computerised Common Admission Test (CAT), which was marred by technical glitches, will not be scrapped, the exam committee announced on Wednesday, reports PTI.

The CAT committee, which comprised IIM-Ahmedabad director Professor Samir Baruah, IIM-Bangalore director Professor Pankaj Chandra and a few other professors, made this announcement after meeting with senior human resource development ministry officials in New Delhi.

"IIMs have decided to continue with computer-based test for 2009. We also look forward to continue the CAT through computer-based testing in future," Mr Baruah told reporters.

The computer-based test, administered by American firm Prometric Inc, has drawn flak from many quarters as a few thousand students failed to take the test owing to disruptions caused by virus attacks and other technical glitches.

A fresh test would be held around mid-January for those registered students who could not take the test earlier. The IIMs will put in place a system to identify all the students who could not take the test scheduled between 27th November and 8th December.

Asked whether the IIMs would review the contract with Prometric, Mr Baruah said “the focus of the IIMs is to complete the test in a fair manner. But the entire test will be reviewed to ensure that such problems do not occur in future.”

Professor Chandra said a verification process will be conducted to identify the genuine students who have failed to take the test.

Nearly 2.4 lakh students had registered for the test for admission into IIMs and a few other B-schools. Around 2.16 lakh students have completed the test so far, CAT convenor Professor Satish Deodhar said.

"It is indeed our regret that a number of candidates faced difficulties during this test window and the execution of the exam has not been flawless," he said.

About 24,000 students did not show up for the test at the first instance, he said. Another 2,000 candidates, who were rescheduled from the first testing window, remain to be tested, he said.
There were divergent of views within the IIMs about whether to scrap the computer-based system for this year.

Prometric presented detailed data to the IIM directors on Sunday, explaining the nature of the problems faced by students.

"After analysing the fresh data, we could know the nature and extent of the problem. We are convinced the test has been done in a fair manner," Mr Baruah said.

Based on data, feedback from students, site and audit reports, the CAT committee said the problems faced by the students included complaints of premature exit through the Exit/End button, slowness of computers while reviewing and refreshing questions, rebooting of computers and disruptions, missing graphics and data.
 

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