No bell curve grading in national exams, most universities, The Straits Times, 17 June 2019

The Straits Times reported on the bell curve grading system in national examinations in Singapore. ST noted that of the six autonomous universities, only the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) still moderate results using a bell curve for certain modules. The issue of grading practices came under the spotlight late last month when SMU had to review the grades for a module taken by 169 business students. The lecturer, Professor Stefano Harney, had given all of them an A grade.

ST noted that Yale-NUS College adopts the Latin Honours system, which indicates the level of distinction a graduate has earned, similar to American universities like Yale and Harvard. At Yale-NUS, the top 5 per cent of students are awarded summa cum laude. Magna cum laude goes to not more than the next 10 per cent, and cum laude to not more than the next 20 per cent. There is also a cap within each major – no more than 60 per cent or six of the students – whichever is larger – will receive honours at the cum laude level or above. No more than 40 per cent or four of the students – whichever is larger – will receive honours at the magna cum laude level or above. Adeline Loh (Class of 2021) commented that students at Yale-NUS are generally not graded on a bell curve as classes are much smaller in size compared with those at NUS.

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