Mark exam scripts here to avoid mishaps

The Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board said the scripts were from two secondary schools - 20 from Nan Hua High School and 12 from Hong Kah Secondary School, which is now known as Jurongville Secondary.
The Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board said the scripts were from two secondary schools - 20 from Nan Hua High School and 12 from Hong Kah Secondary School, which is now known as Jurongville Secondary.PHOTO: ST FILE

Barely a year after the theft of A-level Chemistry exam scripts in November 2017, another unfortunate incident has been reported, this time involving O-level Additional Mathematics scripts going missing (32 O-level Additional Maths scripts lost in Britain; Jan 15).

Procedural loopholes need to be closed to prevent such mistakes from recurring.

Given that the majority of examiners are not situated in Cambridge itself, Cambridge Assessment could work with universities across the country to engage them as marking centres.

This way, all the exam scripts can be kept under lock and key in a few locations to reduce the chances of loss or theft.

What the repeat incident suggests is that it may be high time Singapore shares, or even entirely takes over, the task of marking its national exam scripts.

To adhere to Cambridge's marking standards, we can invite Cambridge examiners to train Singaporean educators in the precision used to grade our national papers.

As a nation that produces its share of high-achieving academics and specialists, and one that does well in virtually every global assessment of mathematics and science, there is little reason to doubt our ability to deliver the requisite level of assessment.

Admittedly, this would require a high level of coordination, logistical arrangement and commitment from the various parties.

But it is worth considering if it would put an end to these mishaps. For Cambridge Assessment, this would represent a sincere show of effort to remedy a blunder that happened under its watch.

Amanda Jane Yap (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2019, with the headline 'Mark exam scripts here to avoid mishaps'. Print Edition | Subscribe