HRD ministry is going to the Cabinet with its proposal to set up National Authority for Testing (NAT). To be established as a society, NTA will be a lean body and conduct aptitude test for class IX, X, XI, XII students.
NAT will consult top experts of psychometrics, both in India and abroad and will even take help of Educational Testing Service that conducts tests like SAT and GRE. For the first few years, NAT will be fully funded by the government but eventually the idea is to make it financially autonomous. "We expect that apart from conducting aptitude tests that will help IITs in filtering students for Joint Entrance Examination, NAT in future will be able to conduct similar tests parallel to other entrance examinations," one official said. "We hope that in future aptitude test score will become mandatory for admission across streams, be it engineering or humanities," he said.
HRD ministry is hopeful that Cabinet clearance will be in place so that NAT tests are conducted at least twice in the first year (likely to be 2017) in order to shortlist 4 lakh students who can appear for JEE. After the first year, NTA will conduct aptitude test four times each year. The tests will be designed to judge the scientific and innovative thinking of candidates and cannot be gamed through coaching. JEE, on the lines of the current JEE (Advanced), will test the students on their knowledge of Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. From JEE, ranks will be issued to 40,000-plus students who can seek admission in IITs and NITs based on common counselling.
Explaining the reason behind aptitude test from class IX, one official said, "It will help assess the child correctly. It will also give a better insight into strength of a child so that he can direct his energy in that direction rather than unnecessarily stressing himself for admission to engineering courses."