Refined version of the letter sent to the Dean
I took help from an IIM A alumnus and repharsed the letter fit enough to be sent to the dean of IIM Ahmedabad and a few professors including the admissions chair. I never got any reply from their side. Here is the rephrased letter :
I write to you seeking clarification, regarding a query that I had. I have always had the highest regard for the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and the admissions team of IIMA. I am hoping, therefore, that my request will be given fair consideration.
The admissions policy document released by IIM A on 9th January on the website of IIM A - http://126.96.36.199/website%20shortlist%20note%202009-11.pdf states the procedure adopted by IIM A for giving out interview calls for PGP 2009-11.
It is seen that the document is silent on normalisation/standardization of the marks obtained by candidates in their Xth/XIIth board exams. Looking at the profiles of the candidates who have received calls for the GDPI process, one can assume that no normalisation has been undertaken. If this is the case, the current procedure possibly it puts candidates of a few boards across India at a disadvantage and makes it statistically almost impossible for them to get called for the next admission processes of IIM Ahmedabad.
I would like to bring to your notice that a lack of standardisation of the marks obtained in the board exams would possibly cause a lot of deserving open category candidates who have done their education from various state boards, and who have cleared the pre-screening criteria, to miss out on an IIM Ahmedabad call. This is essentially because the marking patterns of different boards across India are different - e.g. in the Maharashtra State Board, the topper from the H.S.C. Commerce faculty finds it difficult to cross 90% marks; however, in many boards across India, there are a significant number of students writing the same exam who get above 90% marks, with toppers getting in the range of 97-98% marks.
It could be considered that even at the S.S.C. level, there is a big difference in the evaluation criteria of exams. Boards like the ICSE or CBSE are more generous statistically when giving marks, hence a lot of the students in these boards score above the 90% or 95% mark. This has not been the case until recently with State boards like the Maharashtra State board. In fact, in order to bring students from the Maharashtra State Board at par with other national level boards, colleges across Mumbai and Maharashtra underwent a normalization procedure based on a percentile system in the admission year 2008-09. This was done with the intention of creating a level-playing field, and was widely complimented.
It could also be considered that various boards across India change their marking schemes with time - e.g. students of S.S.C. about six to seven years back used to score in a different range altogether as compared to right now, when a lot of S.S.C. students do manage a statistically high percentage, but a relatively lower one when compared with peers. Since students of different age groups take the CAT, comparing percentages of a 20 year old with someone who is 28 or 29 years old, may not always be fair. Again, if you study the marking and scoring patterns of students, such a criteria would make it difficult for students across India, who are part of the Arts and Humanities faculties, to get shortlisted to IIM Ahmedabad, as in most cases, the maximum marks in these faculties rarely reach the same range as the maximum marks scored by students who are a part of other faculties.
I must add here that I sincerely appreciate IIM Ahmedabad for being so transparent with its selection process, and releasing a document promptly.
Based on the points that I have stated above, I would appeal to you, that if these points are not being considered, to please ensure that they are incorporated into the selection process in some way, so as to give students of different boards, who have cleared the pre-screening criteria and also done well relatively in their state/national board a fair chance in getting a call from IIM Ahmedabad. I would also be extremely grateful if you could please give me some clarity on the current scheme of things, as with regards the points mentioned.
CAT 2008 Score:
Overall 99.68 percentile
Quantitative - 95.10
Data Interpretation/Logical Reasoning - 96.42
Verbal - 99.49