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Discussion on scaling in UPSC

with 2 comments

Be assured, UPSC does scaling in the Civil services examination.

There is this extract from a discussion; you can follow the link at bottom for more.



Refer to this case in Delhi High Court. Prashant Ramesh Chakkarwar vs Union Public Service Commission & … on 5 October, 2010.
26. From a cumulative reading of the aforesaid decisions, the factual/legal position which emerges can be summarized as under:-
I Moderation and scaling of marks are two different techniques used by examining authorities for achieving common standard of assessment of marks.
II UPSC does not apply the method of scaling of marks in evaluating the answer-sheets of the candidates pertaining to Civil Services (Main) Examination and confines the application of the said method in evaluation of answer-sheets of the candidates pertaining to Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination.

III The method of moderation of marks propounded by Supreme Court in Sanjay Singh‟s case (supra) is similar to the W.P.(C) No.6586/2010 & Conn. Matters Page 38 of 43 one applied by UPSC in evaluating the answer-sheets of the candidates pertaining to Civil Services (Main) Examination.
IV The method of moderation of marks applied by UPSC in evaluating the answer-sheets of the candidates pertaining to Civil Services (Main) Examination has been approved by a learned Single Judge and a Division Bench of this Court.


Moderation technique by UPSC 1

16. Moderation is applied by UPSC to achieve uniformity in standards of evaluation of descriptive answer books where a number of examiners are involved. The problem of uniformity of standards becomes more complex when viewed against the background that candidates in Civil Services (Main) Examination have the option of answering the papers, besides English, in any one of the eighteen languages specified in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
17. As far as conventional/descriptive type of examinations are concerned, the question papers are set up by experts duly approved by the Commission for each subject. The paper setter acts as the Head Examiner.
18. When conventional papers are set, the answers have to be of descriptive type by the very nature of questions, and such answers are evaluated by a
W.P.(C) No.6586/2010 & Conn. Matters Page 12 of 43 number of examiners, depending upon the number of candidates. These examiners are called Additional Examiners and work under the Head Examiner for each subject.
19. The Commission have devised a procedure of moderation to ensure equitable treatment to all candidates and to judge them on merit by reducing the "Examination variability" to the extent possible.


Moderation Technique- 2

20. The experts who set the question papers for each subject, act as Head-Examiner for the evaluation of the answer-books of that subject/paper. Whenever the number of candidates is very large in a particular subject, the Commission appoints Additional Examiners from amongst subject experts. Each Additional Examiner evaluates approximately 250 to 300 answer books. To achieve uniformity in valuation, where more than one examiner are involved, the UPSC arrange for a meeting of the Head Examiner with his additional examiners for each subject soon after the examination is over. At this stage, they thoroughly discuss the question paper and the appropriate answers. They also carry out a sample valuation of answer books and this is reviewed by the Head Examiner and variations in marking, if any, are further discussed. After the discussion is over and the standard of evaluation of Answer Scripts has been decided upon, the examiners disperse and complete the valuation of answer books according to a given time schedule.
21. This exercise alone is not enough to bring about uniformity of assessment since, in the process of valuation, the examiners tend to deviate from the standards laid down by Head Examiner and expected to be followed. The UPSC therefore, apply further checks to ensure uniformity in evaluation of answer scripts.


Moderation Technique- 3

22. After all the answer scripts duly evaluated are received back in the office of the UPSC from each Additional Examiner, they are kept separately each Additional Examiner-wise. To ensure that Additional Examiners have not deviated from the uniform standards of evaluation and followed the agreed norms the Head Examiner conducts sample survey W.P.(C) No.6586/2010 & Conn. Matters Page 13 of 43 of the 20 answer books (ten highest scoring answer books and ten selected random in respect of each of the additional examiners). Depending on the standards adopted by the additional examiner, the Head Examiner confirms the awards without any change or carries out upward or downward moderation according to the degree of leniency or strictness in marking. The awards given by the Head Examiner of these revalued 20 answer books are accepted as final.
23. As regards the other answer scripts, to achieve maximum measure of uniformity inter se the examiners, the award of marks by the additional Examiners are moderated as considered appropriate by the Head Examiner. To achieve the uniformity in the standards of evaluation, this exercise is done in regard to each subject in the Main Written Examination. If in the opinion of the Head Examiner, there has been totally erratic marking by an additional examiner, for which the Head Examiner considers that it is not feasible to have statistical moderation, the scripts already evaluated by the additional examiner are revalued by the Head Examiner or by any other additional examiner whose norms of marking are similar to that of the Head Examiner and other additional examiners.
24. It may be relevant to mention here that the answer scripts are given dummy roll numbers to ensure anonymity.


Link to complete Judgement is here

Check the complete Judgement.


There is lot of diffrence between scaling and moderation. Scaling is done to bring all subjects at par with help of a statistical formula. Moderation is done only in those subjects which are handpicked by the commission as and where it deems fit. Thus all subjects are not brought at par; only the subjects where the commision feel that variations in marking are done are brought to par.
I am quite sure that thecommision follows the topper’s marks formuls instead of average/mean formula. The topper’s marks formula is the reason of diasester in Psychology Paper-2. Similarly last year Electrical and Mathematics went down due to toppers marks formula only. Thus moderation depends on the will and desire of the commission and there is large scope for arbitrariness.
Further the inter paper moderation is also not done which is quite visible. This year the topper in GS Paper-2 got aroud 140/300 while that in few optional papers people got around 240/300. This should form an additional ground of challange before the court.


Well in maths its practically possible to score 600/600
And if no scaling is there, all the IITians with Maths/Physics/Chemistry will score so high that top 100 ranks will be secured for them only.
Got my point ?
And simple common sense is enough to understand that Psychology Paper-2 marks this year were obviously scaled, how can you explain so many double digit marks in paper-2 this year ? specially those who scored 160-180 makrs previous year in same paper and this year r getting marks in double digit, even below 50 ??
And how many people/organisations really speak truth in this country ?
A few days ago every news paper had a story about total expenses of election campaign in Tamil Nadu and W. Bengal, Everyone reported less than 10 lacs as total expenditure in election campaign !!!!!!! Do you also believe in that kinda lie without giving a thought to it ??


Being a good student of mathematics and physics, I should contradict your statement. In my opinion – It is practically impossible to score more than 450-500 in mathematics, even if the student is the topper of IIT JEE. Attempting question does not necessarily mean to get full marks. I have seen the complete PHYSICS ans script uploaded by 2nd rank holder of CSE 2007, and I found the marks he achieved was quite justified. Kunal, who scored more than 400 in Physics in CSE 2010, will support me. Moderation may depend on highest or average marks obtained by the students as said by brotherhood, but too much scaling according to your "simple mathematics" not sounds to be simple and even "justified" to me.

last yr my frnd got 330 and 310 in his optionals and in gs he was expecting around 280 min but he got 180.people who attempted 50 marks less than him got 260 ,270.i cnt understand this.people r gettin 17 52 in their papers inspite of doin well.tht fellow applied for reval of marks but no u kno anycase where upsc increased someone’s marks after raval or court battles and gave him services like ias,ips ifs,irs ,irts etc.

Firstly I request you to please provide me the contact info of that peron who got 233 & 33.
Secondly as mentioned above; in 1985 UPSC was complled to take re-exam at Bhopal center and 22 candidates were declared successful; including IAS, IPS & IFS.
Thirdly you can refer to KAPIL MALIK v. UPSC (2007) where UPSC had to submit Answer Sheets to the Delhi High Court because the candidate got 41 marks in GS Paper-2 while he got 150 range in all other papers. In this case the High Court directed the UPSC to setup a inhouse mechanism and to control examiners not doing work properly which the UPSC is defending till date. refer to the judgement here.
Finally I still insist that the amount of irregularity in Psycho can surely lead to a recheck or remoderation in entire Psycho exam. But sitting idle will not give anything.


based on the summary u have mentioned, it seems as though the methods of UPSC are not entirely devoid of rationale and logic although they may not be uniform or objective. I do believe that going by toppers’ marks criteria to selectively moderate the scores of a few subjects is a more rational method compared to uniform across-the-board scaling of all subjects. many people who take specialized subjects such as science, engineering, law, etc. are post-grads or grads in that field and possess expert technical knowledge while social subjects like pub ad or socio are opted by many engineers, etc.
These 2 classes of subjects ideally should not have the same success rates because of the difference in candidate profiles. uniform scaling will violate this condition and ensure equal success rates in all subjects. selective moderation will iron out issues such as inherent advantage offered by some subjects or the lenience of the paper-setter while maintaining the difference between different classes of subjects as illustrated above. this does not seem too arbitrary although it leaves some scope for discretion. but uniformity or homogeneity is not an appropriate approach on such complex matters.


1-Intent of scaling/moderation
2-scale n scope of scaling/moderation
3-methodology of scaling/moderation
4-impact/result of scaling/moderation
all these issues are linked with UPSC,for both moderation/scaling within a particular optional subject and/or among different optional subjects are quite complex,shady,illogical,inefficient and unsound.It results in equity(some sort of,which people overlook) but resultant equity still falls short of requisite one,in selection of officers at this level.
As there is a need to bring in much desired equity,there must be moderation/scaling….but all that starts from common standards of paper setting and ends with common(equalized) standards of paper-evaluation.
Inter and Intra-subject parity must be achieved via proper,efficient and transparent mechanism;which can remove ambiguity and prevent the merit to be sacrificed at the altar of randomness and subjectivity.


See this link for full discussion.

Written by upsc aspirants

January 10th, 2012 at 8:11 am

2 Responses to 'Discussion on scaling in UPSC'

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    “Mother of Corruption —-Union Public Service Commission”
    Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is a constitutional body which conduct top level examinations such as Civil Service Examination which select candidates for IAS ,IPS, IFS,IRS etc. Functioning of this body is so secrete and undemocratic that it doesn’t bother to give proper reply to candidates under Right to Information Act. Transparency Seekers for Accountability is a NGO fighting against such opaque behavior of UPSC .The recent example of adamant attitude of UPSC can be seen after the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in CBSE v/s Aditya Bandopadhyay directing all examination bodies to provide photocopy of answersheets of candidates under RTI act wherein it is clearly stated by Hon’ble Supreme Court that under no exemption under Section 8 of RTI act the answersheets can be denied to the candidates, even after this judgment UPSC replied to the candidates that under Section 8 (1) (d) of RTI act photocopy of answersheets can not be given.Thus, doing deliberate Contempt of Court .There are large scale allegations of corruption and fraud in Civil Services Examination in the name of scaling and moderation system. When UPSC in not giving any information it is very difficult to unearth the irregularities , still We have found out few cases of fraud which are tip of iceberg and are given below:-
    1.Ratipal Saroj case:-. In 1985 the CBI registered a case under sections 420, 464, 471 and 120-B of IPC and also Prevention of Corruption Act against one Ratipal Saroj and four employees of UPSC. Mr Saroj was selected in Civil Service Examinations 1985 and was declared as number 3 in the merit list. A letter was written by certain candidates of Allahabad centre to the Prime Minister raising their suspicion and requested him to look into the matter. Accordingly CBI enquiry was ordered. CBI inquiries revealed that Mr Saroj joined the UPSC as section officer and then was promoted to the post of Deputy Secretary. He was well known to a number of officers in UPSC to whom he had been supplying various articles from time to time. It was alleged that he replaced his answer sheets with the new ones in collusion with the officers. He was arrested by CBI for the alleged offences and was suspended from service.
    2. In case of Ravi Jindal, a candidate of Civil Services Main Examinition-2005, When he applied under RTI for photocopy of his answersheets after Hon’ble Supreme Court judgement in Civil Appeal No. 6454 of 2011 in CENTRAL BOARD OF SECONDARY EDUCATION & Anr. v. Aditya Bandopadhyay & Ors regarding providing candidates photocopy of their answersheets . UPSC in reply letter dated 14/9/2011 said that the said judgement is being studied and further information will be provided in due course of time and then in letter dated 24/10/2011 UPSC claimed that as he didn’t approached the CAT , PB, New Delhi on time ,so his copies are destroyed as per normal retention schedule(which is November 2006) . But, here they forgot that they had brought the answersheets of candidate in Hon’ble High Court of Delhi on 3/09/2007 ( that means nearly ten months after the expiry of Normal retiontion Schedule).
    In case of Ashish Gupta and Sonia Chahar ,wherein UPSC replied to Ashish Gupta and Sonia Chahar that their answersheets have been destroyed, but to Shi Chittaranjan Kumar ,they replied that his answersheets are intact. (all of them are candidates of Civil Services Main Examination-2008 and party in O.A. No:1252/2009 CAT,PB,New Delhi.). This example itself proves that UPSC thinks itself above all institutions of this Country, including Hon’ble Supreme Court and reflects the adamant attitude of UPSC.
    3. In case of Dr.Prashant Chakkarwar , a candidate for Civil Services Examination-2008 , it was claimed in reply of UPSC dated 8/2/2010 that his answersheets have been double checked/double scrutinised in response to his complaint application dated 30/09/2009 and reminder dated 19/1/2010. Thus, UPSC have double checked/double scrutinised petitioner’s answersheets nearly 80 days after weeding out of answersheets of Civil services(Main) Examination-2008 (Answersheets of Civil Services Main Examinition -2008 have been destroyed/weeded out by UPSC on 17/11/2009,as claimed by UPSC in its reply to Shri.Manish Sitaramji Kamatkar dated 9/4/2010).
    4..In the case of Chittranjan Kumar, a candidate for Civil Services Examination-2008 , when he requested the UPSC for rechecking the papers of Hindi paper II, the UPSC responded vide letter dated 16.6.2009 that the total number of answer-sheets used by him was 2. When he further applied for details of the number and serial No. of the copies, the UPSC replied vide letter dated 22.7.2009 and thereby stated the number of answer-sheets of Hindi paper II was 3. However, in fact that the candidate had written four answer-sheets in Hindi Paper II.

    5. Bogus Roll numbers are allotted every year ,the data which we have found through RTI queries are given below:
    Year of Exam Extra roll numbers
    2003 92
    2004 439
    2005 172
    2006 7867
    2007 2282
    2008 2518
    2009 6760
    2010 4245
    When enquired further about bogus roll numbers, UPSC replied that it is due to mix up of roll numbers of other examinations conducted by it. It is absolutely fraud because the application form are computer readable and there is no chance of any mix up.

    6. Brijees Arzoo Case:
    He appeared in Civil Services Examination-2005. when his result was posted on internet, he was shown absent in Urdu Paper in the written examination. He filed RTI application, asserting that he was present in the Urdu paper. Within three days a new result was posted on internet showing Mr. Arzoo’s marks in Urdu literature.

    7. Two separate marks sheets were issued to Manish Jain: He appeared in Civil Services mains Examination -2001 with optional History and Geography . First he was issued marksheet with Philosophy and Hindi literature after four years and when it was brought to UPSC’s notice they issued another marksheet showing History and Geography as his optionals.

    8. In case of Nitin Verma, a resident of Jabalpur who appeared for the Civil Services Examination 2001. He secured 278th place in the merit list. However not satisfied with his result alleging some mess up in the valuation of his marks in the examination and his mark sheet, he filed a petition before Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). On the order of CAT when UPSC revaluated his answer sheet it found that that candidate actually got more marks and improved his merit position and placed him at 28th position.

    9. UPSC have said in Affidavit dated 27/06/2011 to Dr.Prashant Chakkarwar, wherein it is claimed that marks given to candidate by original examiner are masked/overwritten multiple times during moderation process. This itself is prima-facie evidence of manipulation and is against the norms of Standard Evaluation System. Even in Board Examinations the marks given by Examiner and Head Examiner are written in separate columns with different coloured ink pen.

    10. In 1985 Examinations, when the result was declared, it was found that none from Bhopal Center was selected for interview. The candidates from that Center made representations to the UPSC. When the Press took up the matter, the UPSC conducted inquiries and it was found that the answer-sheets of General Studies-II of all 95/97 candidates of that Center were lost and were untraceable. As such, fresh examination was held for these candidates as a result of which, 25 of them were called for interview. Out of these 25, 22, were finally declared successful.

    These examples shows that UPSC is acting as Mother of Corruption in India. If one Fraud IAS/IPS officer is selected whole district will suffer. If they are selected through fraud means What moral authority these officers have to check corruption in lower level of Bureaucracy. It is high time, when whole India is going through Anti-Corruption Movement led by noted Gandhian Shri. Anna Hazareji , to attack at origin of Corruption.

    UPSC is executing this fraud in the name of scaling / moderation.

    What is scaling/moderation system:-

    Civil services Examination is three staged examination- Preliminary, Mains , Interview.
    Candidates have to opt for two optionals papers among list of 51 optionals such as History, Geography, physics , engineering, Medical sciences…….. etc. along with compulsory General studies paper. UPSC says that they apply scaling/moderation for two purpose:-
    1. to rationalise interexaminer variation: i.e. some examiners are strict and give very low marks ,while some are liberal and and give very high scores .So as to reduce this difference they do scaling/ moderation by some statistical method.
    2. Inter-Subject Scaling/moderation: Some subjects are very high scoring such as science subjects as compared to art subjects. Even at times paper of some subject may be easy as compared to other subjects. Hence, so as to bring balance in all subjects inter-subject scaling / moderation is done by Linear Transformation Method.
    The idea behind this is good. But in practice UPSC is doing large scale manipulation under garb of scaling/moderation
    In case of Inter-examiner scaling/moderation. UPSC says that they arrange the meeting of Head Examiner and other examiner and some standards are set regarding evaluation of each question. If the Head examiner found that the other examiner have deviated from set standards he downgrade/upgrade marks accordingly. Concept is good. But when we asked them to show us the set standards i.e. Model answersheets , they said that it doesn’t exists. What a joke? when all basis of inter-examiner scaling/moderation is set standards , UPSC says that it does not exists. According to UPSC the set standards are oral discussions which examiners have to remember for the whole period of two months of evaluation process. Even in Board Examination there are written Model Answersheets . How can a constitutional body like UPSC takes casual attitude in conducting the most prestigious examination of this country.
    In case of Inter-Subject Scaling/Moderation , When they says that it is done to bring balance between marks of different subjects it should be reflected in final results. But the case is not so which can be seen by analysis of data of Civil Services (Main) Examination-2007 which shows that no balance is achieved between all optional subjects after applying statistical moderation by Linear Transformation Method as the Mean marks ranges from 210(Physics) to 333(Maithili Literature), Minimum marks ranges from 0 to 376(Arabic literature) , Maximum marks ranges from 258(French literature) to 406 (Zoology). Thus, the whole process has lost its way in the maze of statistics applied without proper application of mind.
    Even the Linear scaling which UPSC use to do inter-subject moderation is found to be faulty by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Sanjay Singh v/s Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission.

    UPSC do not show the candidates their actual marks scored on papers , but gives scaled/moderated marks. We are fighting to bring the transparency in this examination which selects the top ranks officials who shapes the destiny of this country. We have won the Shiv shambhu case in Hon’ble Supreme Court regarding disclosing of actual / raw marks , scaling/moderation formula and to bring overall transparency in conduct of Civil Services Examination . As a result of which they have changed pattern of preliminary examination and there will be no scaling in Preliminary stage. There are many court cases going against UPSC in relation to Civil Services Examination.
    In one of the RTI reply ,UPSC said that they have spend 105 crore rupees on Court cases since 2006. Is this extravagant use of public money justified to save its skin from potential exposure of fraud if they disclose the actual marks of candidates.

    After the Hon’ble Supreme Court judgment in CBSE v/s Aditya Bandopadhyay and struggle saga of TSA , day by day ,it is becoming difficult for UPSC to continue with such fraudulent system of selection. Recent statement of Secretary, Dept. of Personnel, Mrs. Alka Sirohi to Media that they are seriously thinking to change the Main Examination pattern from Civil Services Examination-2012 ,can be seen in light of above mentioned situation……..


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    26 Jan 12 at 8:52 am

  2. So its due to these cases that the upsc shanged the pattern from 2013, for good.


    14 Jun 13 at 9:46 pm

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