Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) project “Digitalising Marking of the National Examinations” was conferred the Service Delivery Excellence Award (SDEA), an award under the 2021 Singapore Public Sector Transformation (PST) Awards and the Gold Award of the Singapore Ministry of Education Innergy (Statutory Board) Award.
The Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) is the body responsible for the development and administration of all of national examinations in Singapore, overseeing the marking of around 450,000 scripts annually. As a forward-looking organisation that aims to advance quality in assessment worldwide, SEAB began looking into onscreen marking in 2015 to see what benefits it could bring in terms of marking quality, reliability, security and efficiency. Described by Mr Yue Lip Sin, Chief Executive of SEAB, the project aimed to enhance the markers’ experience, allowing them to focus on the professional aspects of marking while maintaining its rigour.
In March 2018 SEAB chose RM to develop their new Integrated Digitisation of Scripts and Electronic Marking System (iDSEM)
Following a successful pilot of onscreen marking with a small number of subjects in 2016-17, and in-depth studies analysing the quality of online versus traditional paper-based marking, in March 2018, SEAB signed a contract with RM to deliver their Integrated Digitisation of Scripts and Electronic Marking System (iDSEM). Today all locally marked Singapore-Cambridge GCE-Level subjects are marked onscreen, with plans for all Primary School Leaving Examinations to be onscreen marked by 2022. Working with RM to set up for the full range of examinations in just two years (increasing from 5 in 2019 to 20 in 2020), SEAB was able to accelerate their schedule to onscreen mark all locally marked GCE-level scripts by one year.
In 2021, SEAB won two innovations awards for the implementation of onscreen marking
The success of this project – in terms of the improvements it has made to the quality of marking and the feedback into education quality as well as in the way the project has been run collaboratively with stakeholders, has led to SEAB being awarded two high-profile accolades in 2021. In September 2021, they received a Gold award at the Ministry of Education’s Innergy (Statutory Board) Awards, which recognise individuals and teams at the ministry level for successfully developing and implementing innovations that bring about significant benefits and impact in their workplaces. On top of this, in July, members of the project team were presented with a Service Delivery Excellence Award at the Public Sector Transformation (PST) Awards - a Whole-of-Government pinnacle platform that recognises and rewards public officers and public agencies for excellence in their work and organisational practices.
By transitioning to onscreen marking, SEAB has also been able to build even further on their quality assurance processes
Senior markers can seed quality assurance scripts or do random checks to assess whether markers are too lenient or too severe, while markers are able to more easily consult senior personnel through the system too. As more marking data is collected, senior markers can identify areas where markers might need enhanced training and even look at deploying markers based on their strengths. SEAB’s own research has shown that this enhanced level of QA gives the same quality of marking as double-marking for non-essay scripts in the paper-based method, effectively removing the need for double marking. This means that SEAB has been able to shorten turnaround time for papers without compromising marking quality.
The data analytics made possible by onscreen marking are not only beneficial for quality assurance, but also for feeding back into education, using the item-level data to see patterns of strengths and weaknesses to inform future teaching. One of the unrivalled advantages of onscreen marking is the capture of detailed massive marking data in situ, which could be used for subsequent data analytics.
John Baskerville, Managing Director at RM, said:
“I am delighted that SEAB’s project 'Digitalising Marking of the National Examinations' was conferred the Service Delivery Excellence Award (SDEA) at the Public Sector Transformation (PST) Awards and the highest accolade at the MOE Innergy Award."
"Winning not one but two awards in such a short space of time acts as a brilliant reminder to both SEAB and RM project teams of their hard work in creating an intuitive marking experience for SEAB examiners and enhancing the marking efficiency and reliability of Singapore’s national examinations."
"It brings us great satisfaction to know that our technology plays such an important role in transforming the way examinations are marked and ensuring every student gets the mark they deserve.”