Put in place more checks on grading at universities

Singapore Management University campus at Bras Basah.
Singapore Management University campus at Bras Basah.PHOTO: ST FILE

No academic in his sound judgment would have given his students identically perfect scores (SMU reviews grades after don gives A to all students, May 25).

I am not entirely convinced by the Singapore Management University (SMU) professor's explanation of his pedagogical philosophy. To me, what he did was a symbolic gesture of dissent or even a prank, knowing that he was about to leave the university. Ultimately, the students were the ones most affected by this whole episode.

The fact that the grades were allowed to go all the way to the transcript stage begs more questions.

Where are the assessment checks and balances?

SMU states that it "has in place strict protocols with regard to grading…" and yet such a transgression was allowed to pass through undetected until the very last stage.

Universities in countries such as the UK have put in place rigorous assessment processes. Often, this involves an assignment being assessed by two markers - a primary marker and a second marker who goes through a sampling of the papers that are marked.

If any discrepancies or inaccuracies are found, the grades would then be moderated. This would ensure some objectivity and parity in the assessment process.

I hope that a lesson has been learnt from this episode and that more checks and balances can be put in place to prevent such oversights from happening in future.

Jeffrey Say Seck Leong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2019, with the headline 'Put in place more checks on grading at universities'. Print Edition | Subscribe