The Mouse has Eaten the CAT
January 2010

The Mouse has Eaten the CAT

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The recent issue on education that has grabbed most of the newspapers' headlines and shaken the confidence of the aspiring management gurus of the future is the disruption of the online Common Admission Test (CAT) organised by the 7 Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) across the country resulting in a partial erosion of the credibility of the test as a whole. In spite of its failure, the new online model is a mega initiative possibly leading to a transparent e-governance system emerging in the education system.

Every year a large number of students opt for the test to get admission in the prestigious B-Schools in India including IIMs in their zeal to pursue a promising career for themselves, primarily in the corporate sector, both nationally as well as globally. Millions of students aspiring to clear the test go through tremendous and rigorous hard work and labour for months spending a substantial amount of money on tuitions and other preparatory work. The decision of the IIMs to move from the traditional three-decade old paper and pencil method of selection of candidates for 3,000-odd seats to the computer-based method is revolutionary in more ways. Computer-based testing is believed to have a transformative impact on education by expanding access, enhancing test development process, and producing results, which are representative of the capabilities of the test administrators.


Computer-based testing is believed to have a transformative impact on education by expanding access, enhancing test development process, and producing results, which are representative of the capabilities of the test administrators.

The test, for the first time, had been organised and administered online and had been plagued by server crash on the first three days of the overall 10 days test scheduled between November 28 and December 7, 2009, with more than 2,40,000 candidates competing across 104 locations in 32 cities in India. The process of organising the test was outsourced via a $40-million contract to Prometric, a renowned US firm with acclaimed expertise in the field. After the all-round disappointment, Prometric declared that two viruses

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