New Delhi: There are concerns within the government over suspected lapses in the National Testing Agency’s conduct of NEET 2024, given that certain decisions taken by the testing body seem to be out of tune with its usual processes, ET has learnt.

It is gathered that there was also internal misgiving within NTA on some decisions such as awarding compensatory ‘grace marks’ to some students.

Other major red flags include early announcement of the results on the same day as the Lok Sabha election results and alleged exam paper leak.

“While NTA is a highly professional body and has done a stellar job over the years including in large-scale exams, one thing is clear – there were lapses and warning signs this time that were not given due attention,” a well-known academic familiar with the body’s functioning told ET.

“Timely and calibrated action was essential, not only to prevent snowballing of the controversy but, more importantly, to prevent this trust deficit that has emerged with respect to NTA. Some mid-course correction has been done, but more is required,” the person said on condition of anonymity.

The results of the national undergraduate medical education entrance exam were announced on June 4, just 29-30 days after the May 5 exam and 10 days short of the June 14 date indicated in NTA’s NEET Information bulletin. Last year, NEET was held on May 7 and results declared on June 13; in 2022, the exam was held on July 17 and results came on September 7; in 2021, the exam date was September 12 and results on November 1.

Those well versed with the processes told ET that declaring results in 45 days is quite a challenge and possible only when the whole system works at a “very good speed”. In post-exam scenario, it takes about 15 days for the answer sheets to reach NTA from all the exam centres across states. After that, a massive exercise is conducted at NTA that entails scanning of exam sheets and a thorough manual checking to rule out any discrepancies. This is also known to take 15-20 days or more, they said.

“Even after that, the result data is closely analysed to check for oddities such as concentration of high scorers in some centres or inflated marks in some places and so on… All that may strike as unusual, given past record of those centres,” a person in the know told ET. “If any such discrepancy comes to notice, NTA team goes back to the starting point and analyses answer sheets and data from that cluster. This is a time-consuming process.”

The allegedly ‘hurried’ result declaration has raised several questions. Such as, insiders said, how did NTA’s analysis miss concentration of high scorers from certain centres and the crowd at the top-ranking space?

A major concern is over the now-reversed decision to allocate grace marks to 1,563 students. The most serious concern raised is over the alleged exam paper leak.

  • Published On Jun 20, 2024 at 06:33 AM IST

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