Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The CAT fails online

The failure of the CAT - the entrance examination is in news now a days.

My experience with On-Line entrance goes back a many years ago when XLRI tried to convert XAT to a on-line test. It was a disaster too. The entire exam was cancelled on the day it was supposed to begin. Problems were many: the company was inexperienced, infrastructure was inadequate, logistics of testbank delivery was uncertain. I had raised many of these questions with the company. They paid attention to the question bank security and overlooked the logistical issues.

Many of those problems are a thing of the past. The infrastructure is fairly good. There are many agencies who have made a business of on-line testing. The applicants are computer savvy. Hence, it is a right time for the IIMs to go on-line.

Are there any benefits of conducting a on-line test. To my mind there are none. The speed of processing improves by a few days. But it takes many more days to conduct the test. You have to buid a huge question bank which is a difficult task. The glamour associated with on-line testing is fading.

If a foreign agency conducts the on-line test, will it succeed. Not necessarily as the CAT experience shows. But the IIM have the excuse that they awarded the task to a reputed agency.

Why did the CAT failed online. One, heterogenous environment, two, the scale of operations, three, insufficient preparations.

There are lessions for software development in CAT experience. When you have no option but to take a bigbang approach to software deployment, what should you do. Prometric will answer with hindsight.

1 comment:

gaurav santhalia said...

Dear sir,
Last week when I had a long discussion with you on parallel, distributed and grid architecture,I was basically focusing on middleware side. The heterogeneity makes the compatibility of different system a tedious task. This is the reason why still grid computing is not practically accepted by the most of the technical companies because we don't find a standard for it till date.

I hope if the solution comes out many of the problems could be solved.

In Real time we never find all system in homogeneous environment. As i was exploring in google for this particular problem i could find the only tool which give some sort of compatibility is globus toolkit which is also adapted by NASA for its research purpose.

Hope someone will come out will good product in future.