IIT-Madras analysis rules out ‘abnormality’ in NEET-UG results: What is in the report?

IIT-Madras was asked to use data analytics to identify any suspected cases of wrongdoing and other red flags that might indicate anomalies in the distribution of top performers or candidates.

BySumit Jha

Published Jul 11, 2024 | 8:43 AM Updated Jul 11, 2024 | 8:43 AM

NEET result

A report prepared by the IIT-Madras has refuted allegations of widespread malpractices or certain NEET-UG candidates at select centres receiving undue benefits.

The Ministry of Education submitted the report along with a fresh affidavit on Wednesday, 10 July, a day before the Supreme Court was to hear a batch of petitions regarding the alleged paper leaks and irregularities in the conduct of the National Eligibility Entrance Test-Undergraduate (NEET-UG) 2024.

The Union ministry opposed a demand for re-examination, citing the findings of the IIT-M report.

Related: ‘Let us not be in denial’: Supreme Court on NEET-UG row

The report

On the Supreme Court directives, the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education, requested the Director of IIT-M for comprehensive data analysis of the results for all candidates who appeared for NEET (UG).

IIT-M was also asked to use data analytics to identify any suspected cases of wrongdoing and other red flags that might indicate anomalies in the distribution of top performers or candidates. A set of parameters, which would form the basis of the analytics, were also requested to be devised.

The Ministry of Education stated that IIT-M conducted an exhaustive and elaborate technical evaluation of the NEET (UG) 2024 data. The evaluation used parameters such as marks distribution, city-wise and centre-wise rank distribution, and candidates’ spread over the marks range.

While analysing the top thousand ranks, 55 students from Sikar in Rajasthan, 35 students from Kota in Rajasthan, 25 students from Kottayam in Kerala, and 12 students from Patna in Bihar secured positions within the top thousand.

IIT Madras, in its analysis, pointed out that Sikar, Kota, and Kottayam are leading the list. “This is attributed to these places having many coaching classes, which could be the reason for this increase.”

In Patna, the city where the CBI is carrying out an investigation, the number has decreased compared to 2023, said anaysis.

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The IIT-M analysis

1. Normal Distribution: The analysis by IIT Madras indicated that marks distribution followed a bell-shaped curve, which is typical for any large-scale examination and suggested no abnormalities.

2. City-wise and Center-wise Analysis: A detailed analysis was conducted for the years 2023 and 2024 to identify any abnormal patterns. The focus was on the top 1.4 lakh ranks, given that the total number of seats across the country is around 1.1 lakh. This granular analysis aimed to detect any malpractices or unusual benefits to students at specific exam centers or cities.

3. Findings on Malpractice: The analysis revealed no evidence of mass malpractice or any localised benefits leading to abnormal scores. It indicated that there was no large-scale wrongdoing or specific centers or cities showing unusually high ranks.

4. Increase in Marks: The report noted an overall increase in marks, particularly in the range of 550 to 720. This increase was consistent across various cities and centers and was attributed to a 25 percent reduction in the syllabus. Moreover, candidates obtaining high marks were distributed across multiple cities and centers, reducing the likelihood of malpractice.

IIT-Madras used advanced data processing tools such as Python for data processing, PostgreSQL for data storage, and Metabase for analysis.

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Specific findings

Top 100 Ranks: Bengaluru led with five candidates in the top 100 ranks in 2024, an increase of four from one candidate in 2023. This was the highest increase. Lucknow, Kota, and Namakkal followed, each with an increase of three candidates. All other cities had an increase of two or fewer candidates. Patna, where it was alleged that the question paper had leaked, had only two candidates in the top 100, with an increase of just one candidate compared to 2023.

Top 500 ranks: Sikar and Kota had the highest increases, with 15 and 14 additional candidates in the top 500 ranks, respectively, compared to 2023. All other cities had increases of fewer than 14 candidates. Interestingly, Patna saw a decrease of one candidate in the top 500 ranks.

Overall trends: Similar trends were observed when analyzing the top 500, 1000, 5000, and 60,000 ranks. No spikes in high ranks at particular centers in 2024 compared to 2023 indicated no localised benefits due to malpractice.

Reasons for increased marks

The overall increase in marks obtained by students, specifically in the range of 550 to 720, may be attributed to a 25 percent reduction in the syllabus.

The NEET syllabus committee reduced the syllabus of physics, chemistry, and biology by 25 percent, removing some complex sections. This reduction was done in consultation with state and central boards to reduce student stress and synchronize the higher secondary and NEET syllabi.

Candidates obtaining such high marks are spread across multiple cities and centers, indicating a very low likelihood that the increase in marks was due to malpractice.

“Based on the above analysis of the 2023 and 2024 NEET UG data, we could infer with confidence that there has been no abnormality which has affected the results,” the IIT-M report said.

(Edited by Majnu Babu).

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