An IITian’s diary: Striking off 73 students from IIT Roorkee exposes the flawed grading system


This week we learnt that IIT Roorkee had struck off 73 students from the institution because their Cumulative Grade Point Average was below 5. This decision has sent anger among the 6000-odd students of the campus.

Not so long ago, the institution which has one of the biggest IIT campuses in the country, had stoked controversy by reportedly making Yoga classes mandatory for its students living in the campus during the summer vacation.

That decision, perceived to have been made at the behest of Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani, had evoked condemnation from the IIT students up and down the country.

As for the latest development, IIT Roorkee released an office memorandum on 15 June 2015 stating that
“in terms of clause no. 33(1)(a) read with appendix ‘j’ of the ordinance and regulation for the Undergraduate Programme-2014, the names of the following B.Tech/IMT/IMSc Ist year students are hereby struck off from the Rolls of institute.”

This list contained the names of 73 students from IIT ,all first year. After this notice students submitted their ‘mercy plea’ to IIT Roorkee authorities who mattered. After receiving their ‘mercy plea’ a senate meeting was organised by the Director consisting of Dean academics and professors on 8 July when they decided not to consider their
‘mercy plea’ and said that the decision had been made for students’ future and in their best interests. We are told that all of these students were given prior notice after first semester. The reason for striking off their names was their low CGPA. All those who scored CGPA less than 5 had their name in the list.

According to the ‘quality education rule’ launched last year, each student has to secure at least 5.00 CGPA for them to be able to continue with their study in addition with minimum required credits.

However, what’s devastating is that these students had cleared JEE Mains and JEE ADVANCED to be eligible to enter the IIT but they’ve now been shown the door within two semesters. From us students’ point of view, it simply doesn’t seem to be a fair decision. That’s because there are some students, who passed all the subjects but their CGPA was 4.9 and yet their names have not been struck off the list.

It’s insane that if these students had failed in even one subject, it would have pushed their CGPA to above 5.00.  Not many people will know but the most important thing here is that an F grade gives you a second
chance to study that subject next year as its credits will be considered in the following year. Whereas a D grade(pass) gets you kicked out of the college because it will lower your CGPA.  Moreover grading is relative so there will always be a case when some of the students will score CGPA less than 5.00 and they will be kicked out.

The very system of assigning the grades is flawed. Though it was stated earlier and it is even written in the rule book that one has to secure a minimum CGPA of 5.00 for continuation of study but still 73 is a big number and then grading is relative. 

We are not revealing the author’s name for the fear of reprisal from the IIT-R authorities. You too submit your contributions in text or video to


  1. With all due respect, If they cant score 5.0 CGPA in relative grading, that means they wont score even 3 CGPA in absolute grading!
    CGPA is not relative, the grades are relative.

    Get your idea clear about the grading system before posting anything like this

    • It is not arguable while keeping / developing an institutions’ grade by stipulating sub standard students . There may comments or arguments while purifying the system But there are more parameters to be considered while a bulk is ousting .

    • I have seen students scoring 65+ marks out of 100 getting D grade (4 out of 10) and I have also seen students scoring 35 marks out of 100 getting c+ grade (6 out of 10) in this very institute. You have no idea what relative grading means. It all depends on the score of other students in that particular exam and even a single mark can increase or decrease your grade.

  2. I too am an IIT Student and I feel that the fear of being flushed out of the institute must be there. Just because IITs have been giving too much liberty to students, there’s no fear of anything. So it is quite justified for the authorities to be a bit harsh. Bcuz to build some system, one has to be strict. Moreover, grading system at our IIT is fine, I guess, bcuz here they divide by total credits to build CPI, irrespective of the fact whether you got an FR or not. So it can’t be possible that an FR guy be at benefit.

    I hope you eventually find the system beneficial, bcuz IITs are meant solely for Engineering. If people aren’t interested in that and rather do other things, than they can and must leave. No need to waste your parents money and precious Income taxpayers money.


    • I think you are not aware of the new grading system in some IITs where a fail grade will only contribute to your CGPA only when you pass it, otherwise it won’t affect your CGPA.

      for ex: you received a FR or FF in 1st sem in a 8 credit course but later you passed it out with a 6 grade in 2nd semester.
      then your CGPA after one year will count this as your one course i.e of 8 credit in which you got 6 grade. (in the same case earlier it would have been counted as in 8+8=16 credit course you got 6 grade)
      Now consider 2nd person who received 5 grade in his 1st semester itself. Now you would agree that he is better than the first one because he managed to pass out the course in his first attempt. but after one year his CGPA will be lower than the first one.

      I hope I made my point clear.

      • Well, I do get your point, but I’m fully aware of the grading system at my IIT, cuz maybe bcuz I study here. They do take total credits even when the student has an FR. As to the point raised by you that later the FR guy may have a better grade bcuz he performed well, then you may like to read the article again that they are only striking off the names of 1st year students and so they didn’t get the chance to redo the courses.

  3. @Innovision : what do you know about the grading system ? Don’t just blabber out anything which you can’t support with arguments.

    Even a person getting 50+ marks out of 100 can be given a lowest grade 4 (D or DD) in relative grading system, which otherwise would have been equal to 5 or more in absolute grading.

    About the article- totally unjustified to oust people just because they have low CGPA 5.0 (are you serious, what about “five point someone” , have people forgotten it :p ) . How on earth such a rule even came into existent without any hue and cry ? For god sake, they have cleared one of toughest examination (JEE) , let them enjoy atleast their first year. How many IITians are there who started with low CGPA (lesser than 5.0 ) and ended up with a very respectable CGPA 7 or even 8 in the end.
    Ousting students on the basis of low CGPA is already wrong and when you add that failing students are, due to grading system, getting another chance than those who are getting ‘D’ grades, that is totally illogical and should not be acceptable to anyone.

    ps: @ Innovision , don’t argue with me on my point that 50+ can get a D or DD. I am the one who got it in my college years.

  4. w’ll its seriously unfair in my view……being a past student of IITR, i know too well how the SGPA/CGPA system works…..In my first semester i had a SGPA of absolute 5.00. after 5 years of Integrated course in tuffest department at institute, i ended up scoring 6.25/10. W’ll i didn’t ended with high-bucks at NASA or LHC, but doing enough to get 3 meals a day. (lol) Why giveup on student’s….??
    As far as that signing that declaration goes, how many of us would refuse to sign that and give up a chance to join an IIT…….??
    Its amazing that senate actually out-rightly rejected mercy-petition of to-be-expelled students.
    Somewhere i feel, there’s more to it than what meets the eye……….!!

  5. @Innovision: Really sad at your mentality. Getting educated is not about scoring higher grades than others (relative)! Its about overall development. I argue that every single student who got expelled would be brilliant in atleast one parameter, if not the semester courses. I feel deeply ashamed at the Dean/Professors who professed this judgement. Moreover, one year’s poor performance in studies cannot in any way say that the student is not competent or does not deserve the education at IIT, or any other institute where he/she reached with so much hard work.
    The reasons for their poor performance in studies should be tackled and those students should be encouraged to perform better rather than creating this tension amongst all students. Life is not supposed to be a rat race dear! Grow up!

    • Dear gszenith,
      Well if the expelled excel in one or other parameter other than acads then they must have enough guts to leave what they can’t do and pursue what they are good at. At IITs they are trying to make good engineers. A student is supposed to perform academically and if he/she wishes to pursue parallel interests, they may as well do that. But leaving studies and just going for your interest sounds absurd, you might’ve just wasted one precious seat for some more deserving and interested teenager!! If one has struggled so much to come to IITs, they must cherish that and atleast out of respect for what the Indian Govt. and their parents are offering, they must do the best they could, or else they have no right to just waste all the time, money and resources IITs spend on them.

  6. Hi,

    I read the article in the morning and had a few points to make.

    1.Yes, CGPA is relative, and there will definitely be students who would score less than 5 points in some subjects. But they have to makeup for that in the other subjects. An overall cgpa of less than 5 means that they performed consistently bad across all subjects. A good performance in atleast a few subjects would have taken their cgpa above 5.0

    2. The students were well aware of this rule and also at the end of the 1st semester they were warned to raise their grades. So, it wasn’t something out of the blue.

    3. The author mentioned “However, what’s devastating is that these students had cleared JEE Mains and JEE ADVANCED to be eligible to enter the IIT but they’ve now been shown the door within two semesters.”.
    That is all the more reason for them to take harsh decision against these students. They cracked 2 very competitive examinations and reached the institute. By default, they are considered smart and hard working people. If they haven’t done that means that they don’t have goals which are aligned to the stream in which they are. This is a fundamental problem in our society. The society (parents, uncles, aunts, distant relatives) everyone hypes up the IITs, NITs and BITS and put tremendous pressure on their wards to get into these institutes. However, once they are admitted, no one has a clue as to what to do. And these students, who are tuned to following their parents are left aimless. This is not to say for all the students, but a few of them with whom this situation happens. As a result, they feel that there is no more hard work to do, college is fun and they would be settled in life because they are IITians. A major part of this decline in the working ethics of the students lie with our society.
    4. Someone had mentioned about Five Point Someone. Well, if you are either Hari or Alok, you are wasting the tax payer’s money. And if you are Ryan, you are smart enough to work it out that you need a decent cgpa if you want to survive in india.
    5. Although I sympathize immensely with those students, I feel such a move would help the future generation of students to understand that life is not all easy once you clear your 12th standard. You need to work hard all your life to reach a level of good living. Obviously, we can debate as to why this particular batch or so many students were chosen for this, but then that can have no conclusion.
    PS : I am a pass out from BITS and my elder brother is from IIT-B. I know extremely well how theses systems work and the mentality of students after entering these colleges.

  7. Being a btech as well as mtech from IIT , I totally agree with the author . grades in no way should be the only parameter to judge the competency of any students .
    As explained above yes the grade system is flawed . I hate to admit it but even if a student perform in absolute term the grade he is awarded comes down to the respective teacher’s own prejudices of him if he is on a borderline . Difference of even one mark can be devastating and this one mark does not deem the student unfit or less deserving than any other .
    I respect the teachers but they are human.
    Creatures of emotion and prejudices ,not machine of logics .

    Secondly the course work is also to be blame for it . IIT’s are supposed to be premier educational institutes . I feel the subjects I learnt or rather was forced to mug up and vomit in exams had no practical aspect and in no way helped in my development of brain , arm muscels or personality .
    This decision has caused more harm than good .
    A second chance should be given to all those students
    Course work should be revised and be made more flexible
    And finally this flawed system of grading should be revised promptly

    Lastly Mr. @innovision after reading your comment I believe that you are one of students who tried to get into IIT but couldn’t make it and instead of accepting this you started deeming IITians as unworthy .
    Or your are just one of trolls creating general nusicance
    I hope you keep your stupid comments to yourself and don’t make a fool of yourself . adios

  8. Some IITian think that once they clear JEE, it becomes whole life certificate. JEE work is finished once you take admission in IIT.These idiots should be thrown out from IIT because they create hindrances in studies of sincere students. I welcome this decision of IIT

  9. Hello, everyone I have a small question, Can anyone tell me how much the amount spend by the organization / government for a student at IIT. (Of course no need of accuracy, might be approximately).


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