Anomaly in the scoring pattern by National Testing Agency (NTA).

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Sanjeev Goyal

May 7, 2022, 4:23:02 AMMay 7
to, dwarka-residents



DWARKA FORUM Dwarka Ki Awaaz

                                          (Regn No. S-63070)                 bhagidari

      (A Welfare Association of Residents & RWA's / CGHS Representatives of Dwarka Sub-City)


Regd. Office:

720, Pocket-1, Sector-14,

Dwarka, New Delhi - 110078  

Phone No. 011-20514195


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No. SKG/MG/001                                                 07-May-2022


Chief Executive Officer,

My Gov Platform,

Electronics Niketan,





Reg: Anomaly in the scoring pattern by National Testing Agency (NTA).

National Testing Agency (NTA) was established around 4 years ago to consolidate the activity of conducting entrance examinations for admission to higher education programs which was earlier assigned to several agencies. NTA stands for improving equity, quality, reliability, efficiency, transparency, and fairness in the examinations conducted.

One of the most prestigious assessments it conducts is of Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for admission to engineering programs throughout India. It grants percentile scores to all the students appearing in the examination for any marks secured by them even if zero or negative. Since the entrance test is conducted over several sessions spread over many days, the percentile score method is used with the objective of ensuring that a level playing field is created, which means candidates are neither benefitted nor disadvantaged due to the difficulty level of the examination.


Students may perceive some difference in the difficulty level of test conducted in different sessions but the same cannot be like day & night as it is NTA’s endeavour to set question papers with equal difficulty level. So, a student who secures a very low score cannot claim that he would have otherwise scored very high, had he appeared in any other session.


The JEE has a marking system whereby any wrong reply by the aspirant attracts negative marks, so a student may actually end up with a final negative score. Assuming, a student who appears in the examination and returns the answer sheet without attempting any question would secure zero marks. Under the percentile method, a student who secures zero marks would be awarded a position higher than those who secure negative marks. Similarly, a student securing minus five would be rated higher than the one who secures minus ten. Just contemplating that a student who has not answered any question getting a percentile score that too higher than someone else defies all logic of preparing a merit list.


Every competitive examination should have at least some basic qualifying threshold to maintain its dignity, which can be (technically) as low as one mark. Granting percentile score to a student who secures ZERO marks or NEGATIVE marks in a competitive examination would not fulfil any of the ethical or professional standards. Do we expect them to become good engineering professionals &






face the current day competition? Is not it against the principle of right people at the right place? Instead, the limited social resources should find its way to more productive purposes. In an exam where maximum marks are 360 and a student who has failed in securing even one mark is awarded a rank? This is against the basic principles of quality & fairness. The occupation of a college seat by students securing zero or negative marks is not socially desirable because they are a better fit for something else rather than becoming engineers. The maximum marks a student can secure is 360 - 


Instead of inviting students below a certain threshold for engineering they should be offered counselling sessions to ascertain their strengths which allow them to excel in other areas where they are naturally talented. They should be encouraged and motivated to try other fields where they have the ability, for example they could become successful administrators, police officers, writers, soldiers, film-makers and what not. They may be provided with coaching enabling them to appear in the next JEE attempt with better preparation. It does not do any good to society by entitling students scoring zero or negative marks in a competitive exam to take admission in engineering. It is quite possible that by doing so such students are put to go through the hardship of inferiority complex throughout their studies.


Actually, it is a shortcoming of the percentile method to handle the situation caused by negative marking as it generates absurd result if a student who has secured zero or negative marks is awarded any percentile score. This complex issue can be easily resolved with a minor change in the percentile award system. The percentile score should only be awarded to those who secure marks above the threshold limit (may be one mark), this will prevent other students to be eligible under any cut-off announced by the college for admission.


Once a percentile score is awarded, no one knows that there is a student with zero or negative marks. So, by awarding percentile scores to such students the incapability of a student is put under the carpet and what is visible to the world is a positive percentile score secured by the student, which is again converted to a positive rank by the college to determine a cut-off. This is primarily against the basic mission statement of NTA like ‘equity, quality transparency, fairness and effectiveness.’ The admission process in higher educational bodies is so complex that on occasions many of the worthy students keep looking for and students securing negative marks get a chance of admission.


As a society, it is our collective duty to show & guide the younger generation a path most fulfilling to their calibre & skill set, rather than pushing them to a specified field.


And accordingly, your petitioner prays that –

In view of the above, it is humbly requested that the system to award percentile score to a student securing zero or negative marks in competitive entrance examination may please be reviewed and all such students securing less than one mark may not be awarded any percentile score.


Thanking you,


Yours faithfully,



(S K Goyal,)


D-103 Shivam Apartment,


Dwarka, New Delhi-110078.

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