This is in response to the news item that appeared on the issue of 29 Nov regarding dissatisfaction over the just concluded APCS preliminary examination.
Issues raised therein were very justified and the Commission really needs to do a lot of homework before taking a call on such complains. There need to be balance in giving equal and fair opportunity to all the competing candidates of various optional papers. So far as General studies are concerned, irrespective of wrong questions or being tough, there is a level playing as everybody attempts the same set of questions. So there is fairness and equality. But for optional paper there cannot have any means to give a measurable level, fairness and equality as competitors attempt different sets of questions. There can always be doubts as to the fairness or in other words suspicion of favoritism to certain subjects. Hardness or for that matter of easiness of questions are, therefore, relative and not absolute.
There was also a vast resentment over questions of many optional papers, except that of the geography, were set out of syllabus as provided by the Commission. Re-conducting the examination is not advisable.
Therefore, the Commission has to work out a transparent Scaling procedure.
Here I am suggesting a simple scaling method which can be easy understandable to all. This scaling will allow a proportionate selection of the candidates of various optional subjects. This may be studied by the Commission and by all the aspirants. The formula for scaling is given below.
Nq= n*n/m subject to x/y = or > C
Where Nq is the number of qualifying candidates optional subject-wise.
n= number of candidate who appeared in an optional subject.
M= Total number of candidates who appeared.
x= total marks secured (Optional + GS)
Y= total maximum marks (Optional + GS)
C= C1+C2 Where C1 is a higher cut off for GS
C2 is a lower cut off for Optional.
If this formula is used I think the concerns expressed by the aspirants of favoritism or selecting only Geography candidates will be eliminated. All those satisfying Nq above should be allowed for the mains examination.
The commission is requested to look into and adopt such a simple and transparent scaling method.