How is Marking done in SSB?

How is Marking done in SSB?

Value of Above Information for Aspirants

I was reluctant to answer this question because this knowledge will not help an aspirant in his preparation and is practically useless. I also realize that someone else will answer this question and create confusion in the minds of the aspirants. In any case there are a large number of myths existing about SSB in the environment and I try my bit to reduce them through my answers.

It would be better for aspirants to not waste their time in trying to understand this assessment system but rather on self-improvement. For those who are curious for the sake of curiosity here is my answer:

General Marking System only Applicable to OIR Test

The assessment system in SSB is not comparable to marking that we are used to in school/college tests. This kind of marking is done only in the OIR test, which is a part of the screening in process. In this system the assessor keeps giving marks after seeing each answer. Thus if you have 40 answers correct out of 50 then you get 80% marks.

Marking System Explained

To explain the marking system I will take the example of psychology test. It is the easiest to understand. The methodology is similar for GTO as well as IO. After studying all the responses the psychologist assesses whether a candidate is adequate in all the 15 OLQs or is adequate in some but inadequate in others. In case in some OLQs a candidate is inadequate then overall the candidate is ‘Not Recommended’ & he would be given marks accordingly. The inadequate OLQs would be clearly noted and the assessor would have made notes about the reasons for the assessment, which will be relevant in the ‘Conference’, where each candidate’s assessment would be discussed and final judgment about selection/rejection arrived at.

SSB Assessment: Subjective Art

Assessors are very clear about the definitions of OLQs as also how to assess them. The system is quite scientific. However, as to what constitutes as adequate in a particular quality cannot be objectively defined. Each assessor has this mental bench mark and thus allots marks to a candidate in the 15 OLQs. It thus becomes a subjective exercise. In the psychology test if an assessor is in doubt about the assessment of a candidate then he can consult a psychologist colleague. The option of taking a second opinion is unavailable to the GTO or the IO because he has to assess a candidate’s OLQs as he performs. There is no video recording of the performance available for review.

Three Broad Categories of Assessment

A candidate will get placed in one of the 3 broad categories:

  • Clearly unfit for selection.
  • Border line case, who could be recommended in case he is found adequate by the other 2 techniques of assessment.
  • Clearly fit for selection.

Invariably a candidate assessed as clearly unfit/ fit by one technique would have been assessed similarly by the other two techniques and hence would be rejected/ selected without spending much time in discussion in the ‘Conference’. Variations in assessment are more likely in a border line case because he has been found as slightly unfit for selection by an assessor but there is nothing very grossly wrong with his personality either. Such a candidate would get selected/ rejected depending upon the assessment by the other two techniques and the discussion in the ‘Conference’ to arrive at a consensus.


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