The Evolution of an Online Writing Test Standardisation in a Pre-service Communications Skills Course for Teachers in Singapore

by Mary Ellis
National Institute of Education, Singapore
Anitha Devi Pillai
National Institute of Education, Singapore

and Chan Hsiao-yun
SIM University, Singapore


The National Institute of Education (NIE) is the provider of teacher education in Singapore and is an institution within the Nanyang Technological University; NIE is simultaneously accountable to the Ministry of Education in Singapore. A Communication Skills for Teachers course (CST) was introduced for all pre-service teachers at NIE in July 2005. A catalyst for the development of this course, which focuses on speaking and writing skills, was the perception that the standard of English of Singaporean teachers had declined. Since 2010, the course has been offered as a blended course and increasingly, several aspects of course administration have also been conducted online. The two main areas of assessment for the course are an oral presentation and a written test. In order to ensure that grading is consistent, standardisation meetings for these tests are important but not always possible given the tutors’ varied schedules. This paper outlines the development and implementation of online standardisation for the written assessment component of the CST course. Utilising collaborative tools for standardisation saves time and reduces the need for face-to-face meetings for this important aspect of assessment.

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