All India Law Entrance Test ("AILET") is the admission test for National Law University, Delhi ("NLU-D") that is organised by it every year for admission into its various courses. This year, for the first time, AILET has come under severe scrutiny due to plagiarism in its papers for B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) course. This post closely examines plagiarism in AILET 2019.
Currently, the Common Law Admission Test ("CLAT") has been under the scanner due to the numerous blunders in the conduct of the exam through the years. A petition filed by Prof. Shamnad Basheer is pending before the Supreme Court to reform the manner in which CLAT is conducted and establish a permanent body that conducts the test in a professional and competent manner. This is the first time that AILET has come under scrutiny too.
On the first Sunday of May 2019, tens of thousands of students pinned their hopes on AILET 2019, the entrance test for the prestigious law college NLU-D. They were severely let down by the system as a substantial portion of the AILET 2019 paper was plagiarised from a variety of sources detailed in the table below.
National Law Universities ("NLUs") enjoy a significant amount of autonomy when it comes to deciding the standards and curriculum of legal education in India. With the financial and intellectual resources at the disposal of NLUs to conduct a national level entrance test (and considering the high entrance examination fees charged by them), a well-designed and competently conducted test is the minimum expectation. A national level entrance test must adhere to some basic standards of professionalism, competence and fairness. Test-development and test administration must be taken extremely seriously by the organising agency, because the test seeks to create an entry-barrier that regulates who gets to go to law school, and eventually who gets to enter the legal profession. The criteria on which this entry-barrier is sought to be created must be fair, equitable and objective that correctly estimates the "aptitude" for legal education.
The general practice in test-setting is creation of a question bank by professional test-setters, including psychometricians and test item developers, for the use of the organising entity year after year. The question bank is frequently updated. The professional test-setters are also tasked with conducting extensive research (psychometric and otherwise) on the quality of questions developed. This is done in order to determine, among other things, cultural fairness of the test and whether the test adequately measures the attributes it is meant to measure (in the context of CLAT and AILET, the attribute sought to be measured is "aptitude to study law").
The break-up of the AILET is as follows:
General Knowledge 35
Legal Aptitude 35
Of the 150 questions that constituted the AILET exam, sources for at least 61 questions were located online.
Of these, at least 23 questions were identifiably lifted from GMAT test preparation material. Please bear in mind that GMAT is a graduate-level entrance test. To offer the same set of questions to school students in India is grossly unfair. It is worrying that the National Law University Delhi, a premier law university in India, conducted a national level test in such an unprofessional manner.
Particularly, the English and the Reasoning sections of the test have been lifted from the GMAT Official Guide 2019. The test-setters have taken efforts to make the questions taken from the GMAT Official Guide and other sources unidentifiable by changing certain non-material details in questions. For example, the paragraph on which questions 1 to 8 are based has been taken from page 416 of the GMAT Official Guide (Guide). In that, the name "Jon Clark" that appears in the Guide has been replaced with "Surajendu Kumar" in the AILET. The table below lists the Question Numbers on the AILET against links to possible sources of these questions.
Whereas some similarity in the pattern of questions is unavoidable, the plagiarism in AILET 2019's case does not go unnoticed. It shows gross recklessness and incompetence on part of the agency setting the paper. This is detrimental to students who give the exam in hope of a level playing field where they get an opportunity to study at a top law college.
Please refer to the table below for more details.
Notes (if any)
Replaced the name from "Jon Clark" to "Surajendu Kumar"
Copied the second example on the link.
Copied the third example from "Examples of "precocious""
Copied the second example from "Recent Examples on the Web"
Question created using exactly the same sentences
https://books.google.co.in/books?id=CmgtDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA145&lpg=PA145&dq="why,+it+is+surely+nanak"&source=bl&ots=2gHYZUTcs9&sig=ACfU3U1AwlpEJHR_NMgPh4mU2OW4u8uCXQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiwzsfeirHiAhVSWX0KHeUSC9QQ6AEwAHoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q="why, it is surely nanak"&f=false
From Wren and Martin, page 145.
Question created using exactly the same sentences.
Replaced Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Kassia.
Replaced Aqaba, Jordan to Aizawl, India.
Replaced "Starfish" with "Octopus"
Replaced "Elephant Seal" with "Catfish"
Replaced Tell Hamoukar, Syria with Haji Piyada, Afghanistan.
Replaced nuclear plants with atomic power plants.
Replaced names and numbers.
Copied the sentence from an English grammar website.
Copied from a Taiwanese entrance test (linked).
Copied from Delhi Judicial Services Exam 2010 (Q.No. 193) Legal principles added.
Copied from Delhi Judicial Services Exam 2010 (Q.No. 190)
Copied from Delhi Judicial Services Exam 2010 (Q.No. 188)
Alcock v. Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police. Would not categorise this as plagiarised. No source located for the questions.
Smith v Littlewoods Organisation Ltd
Summary of facts copied from: https://www.lawteacher.net/cases/smith-v-littlewoods.php. Would not categorise this as plagiarised. No source located for the questions.
Tate & Lyle v Greater London Council
Summary of facts copied from: http://www.e-lawresources.co.uk/cases/Tate--and--Lyle-v-Greater-London-Council.php/ Would not categorise this as plagiarised. No source located for the questions.
Hedley Byrne v Heller
Dunlop v Selfridges
Chinnaya v. Ramayya
Reference: BRITISH INCOMES AND PROPERTY http://library.umac.mo/ebooks/b31870752.pdf. Not directly copied from the source mentioned, but based on certain passages from the book but it shouldn't count as plagiarism.
All of these questions test legal knowledge.
Taken from LSAT Practice test. Language changed.
Passage taken from the book Test Of Reasoning By Thorpe (page 3.259)
Copied with minor changes.
Copied with minor changes such as in name of the country changed.
Copied with minor changes such as the name of the country changed.
Copied with minor changes such as the name of the company changed.
Copied with minor changes such as from "boats" replaced with "cars".
Question 10 copied. Order of multiples choices changed.
Question copied with non-numeric details changed in the question. Multiples choices changed.
Question copied with non-numeric details replaced in the question. Multiples choices added.
Question copied with non-numeric details replaced in the question. Multiples choices changed.
Question 10. Copied from SSC Mains
Question copied with non-numeric details replaced in the question.
Replaced Jaipur with Agra.
"8:30 pm" in answers replaced with "9:45" p.m.
Language of the question changed.