Module requirements encompass different modes of assessment such as tutorial presentations, laboratory reports, projects, essays, as well as mid-term and final examinations. Module assessment may be based on absolute and/or relative performance. Whereas higher-level modules with small enrolments typically rely on absolute measures in terms of a student’s performance, larger lower-level modules take into account a student’s performance vis-à-vis the other students in the same module. Where necessary, the final grade which a student receives for a module may be subject to moderation. One important reason for grade moderation is that examiners come from diverse academic backgrounds with different marking regimes. Grade moderation will prevent grade inflation or deflation and thus help achieve consistency in assessment across modules. However, grade distribution is applied flexibly and depends on the judgment of the examiner(s).
All grades are carefully scrutinized by Department and Faculty Boards of Examiners before they are submitted to the Board of Undergraduate Studies and the Board of Graduate Studies for approval. The grades for individual modules are examined and compared at the Department level, and the grades across Departments are deliberated by the Faculty Board of Examiners. Further scrutiny is conducted at the University level by the Board of Undergraduate Studies and Board of Graduate Studies to ensure that there is consistency of assessment across Faculties/Schools.
The University has in place standard operating procedures to ensure that examination processes are conducted with utmost care and attention. Multiple levels of checks are built into the handling of examination answer scripts, marking and processing of marks and grades.
Continuous assessment (CA) and examination serve different pedagogical needs. Examination serves primarily to assess a student’s understanding of the subject matter, whereas CA plays in addition a formative role in educational terms. For this reason, unlike examination scripts which are not returned to students, CA is returned to students with comments and/or discussion if appropriate, so that they may improve on their work. For many modules, CA constitutes a significant percentage of the final grade.
After the release of examination results, students may request a review through the Department. This review will verify whether the examination script has been marked completely and that all marks (including CA) have been correctly transmitted to the Board of Examiners. The review will not involve marking an examination script a second time. To do so at this juncture would be out of context with no relative comparison with the rest of the class. In order to maintain consistency of assessment for all students, the University therefore does not allow re-marking unless certain parts of the answer were not taken into account in the original assessment.
In addition, the University reserves the right to review current students’ results at any time and make revisions to these results in accordance with NUS’ guidelines and policies. These reviews may arise from audit on past semesters’ results or routine checks and reviews conducted by faculties during the semester. There will however be no adjustment of results once a degree has been conferred.
A $10 charge is imposed to deter frivolous requests to review examination results. It also goes towards defraying the administrative cost for such reviews.