TCS iONN and NTA share inputs on how they have prepared to hold JEE Main Examination 2019

JEE Main Examination 2019 If the students, who are appearing for the NTA JEE Main 2019 examinations, which began today, they should be wary of many things. For instance, ‘Here is tomorrow’s question paper,’ any such claims are false as it is impossible to leak the examination set by the CBT system, Venguswamy Ramaswamy, global head, TCS iON is quoted as saying by the Indian Express report. One of the biggest and most anticipated competitive exams in India, Joint Entrance Exam Main starts from January 8 and will be conducted by the newly constituted National Testing Agency (NTA) for the first time in computer-based testing (CBT) format.

TCS-iON and NTA share inputs on how they have prepared to conduct the JEE Main examination – one of the biggest exercise in engineering and the real test of the NTA. From question paper setting, anti-cheating mechanism to automated evaluation, all that goes in the background of JEE Mains and other examinations, noted the report.

Among the latest developments, the NTA has issued a special advisory for the frisking staff asking them to be more sensitive. “We have asked the frisking staff to be more sensitive, especially towards the female candidates,” NTA DG, Vineet Joshi told the daily.

Keeping in mind the UGC-NET controversies where two female students were not allowed to appear for the examination as they refused to remove their hijab, NTA has not issued any dress code. The dress code held importance considering this was the first time the examination was being held during the winter season. What is more if earlier there were reports that women were not allowed to wear ‘under-wired bras’ because of their metal content, nevertheless, Joshi clearly informed that no dress code is needed and the NTA has secured the centres well.

How the JEE is secured

As per TCS-iON, the digital assessment wing of TCS, which holds the examination, in the CBT format, the examination is held on a computer but not online. The question paper in an encrypted format reaches every examination centre and is decrypted only when the first ever candidate clicks the question paper, which ensures that no one except the student has seen the final questions. In other words, the CBT is a LAN-based examination.

Encryption of question paper

The CBT examination is set online with help of a computer. Once the final question paper is decided, the answer keys and question papers are saved separately and encrypted in such a sophisticated manner that it would take more than one year for powerful computers to decrypt it, according to Venguswamy Ramaswamy, Global Head, TCS iON.

Setting question paper

The question paper setters create their respective question papers following the guidelines provided by the NTA. Each one of them submits respective question paper along with the answer key to the agency. The answers also have supportive source/books substantiating the same which could be used later. “All the questions are tagged with difficulty-level, subject and question’s author tag. Now based on directives by person(s) the computer will pick chose the questions. This system can be done completely automatically and also a person or group of persons can oversee based on the number of questions from certain chapter and number of questions from certain difficulty or time level,” Ramaswamy says.

According to Joshi, a number of question paper setters are involved and the questions are selected by a psychometric test. If a question which is meant to be difficult for an average student is considered easy by many, then there is something wrong with the question. The psychometric test will eliminate all these anomalies. Once a question paper is set, it is encrypted there and then and is decrypted only when an authorised user attempts the examination at an allowed time, said the report.

Methodology of conducting examination

During the examination, biometrics and pictures are collected from each student. According to NTA, a student will be able to mark attendance only by submitting a passport size picture (most recent), putting left thumb imprint and giving a signature on the sheet. This personal data is collected to eliminate any sort of disguised entry. The live-feed of cameras installed in the examination hall is given to city centres that are further monitored by state observers. NTA also broadcasts live feed from each centre in it’s headquarters where vigilantes observe every moment. The HRD Minister, Prakash Javadekar had witnessed the live feed during the third day of the UGC-NET examination, the report said.

During the examination,  the computers are programmed to read cheating patterns such as too fast answering, too slow answering, two students taking similar time for answers or similar answers etc. Over 20+ cheating patterns have been recognised and the algorithm keeps on learning more, Ramaswamy said. Each time a cheating pattern is observed, an alert is sent to the examination observers. Furthermore, the NTA has installed two invigilators per 30 students in the examination hall along with CCTV cameras.

Seat allocation

In the examination centres, computers and other materials all are allotted on a randomised way. The NTA informed that candidates are not allowed to choose their shifts or timings however they can send their top five centre option based on which a randomised selection process grants them the seat. Also, during the examination, the computer understands the IP addresses of the students besides that the questions in their examinations are jumbled along with the number or placement of the answers. If the answer to Q1 is B in Gopal’s then Joseph might get the same question at the ninth position and the right option can be placed at D option if he gets the same question at all, noted the report.

Evaluation

As soon as the examination gets over, all the answer sheets get collected to a common place all of which is encrypted and secured under ‘highly sophisticated’ servers. The computer matched the answer keys with the corresponding questions and the result is declared, added the IE report.

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