CDTL Spotlight: A Conversation with Kiruthika Ragupathi

Centre for Development of Teaching and Learning (CDTL)

In this edition of CDTL Spotlight, Kiruthika shares her lifelong learning journey
via her PhD experience, and how it informs her contributions to
professional development in NUS.


Ragupathi, K. (2023, April 27). A conversation with Kiruthika Ragupathi. Teaching Connections.

Some of the conversation points in this segment (11 min 46 seconds in total) are covered below. You can also refer to the full transcript of the video segment.

1. Kiru talks about what led her to pursue a doctoral degree in education. (0:10)

2. ON the focus of her research – key findings and insights gained. (1:36)

  • There is no simple binary between graded and gradeless and neither is superior in all circumstances.
  • The entangled and mutually-influencing nature of assessment and teaching and learning practices, i.e., the practices of assessment always occur in complex relationships with different practices of learning and teaching in different teaching-learning regimes (TLRs), so that gradeless, graded, and hybrid gradeless assessment produce different outcomes for learning and teaching, and for learners and teachers, when they are embedded in those different TLRs.
  • There are six other findings that came out of the study, which are covered in her dissertation (Ragupathi, 2022).

3. On juggling the demands of her doctoral studies with professional and personal responsibilities, including family obligations. (5:29)

  • Carving out dedicated time daily to focus on reading and writing.
  • Being realistic about limited time available; setting aside time for relaxation and self-care.
  • Clear communication and working structure with supervisor; strong family support.

4. On some of the most rewarding and/or challenging moments of her academic journey, and how she navigated them. (7:07)

  • Going into the classrooms at the nine different course-sites, and the invaluable insights gained during the classroom observations and the numerous conversations with teachers and students.
  • Process of summarising the rich data gathered,  weaving and writing them into stories and turning the complexities of the data and analysis and mapping them as “ecologies of practices” summary diagrams for each of the course-sites.

5. How she sees her research contributing to the improvement of teaching and learning at NUS, based on key findings/insights gained (9:18)

  • Significant timely contribution to contemporary knowledge about graded versus ungraded (and hybrid gradeless) assessment that can open up discussions on assessment theory, policy, and practice at NUS.
  • Model developed to illustrate the conceptualisations and enactments of practice-based-knowing (PBK) in the course-sites. Check out this link for a description of the model and additional findings from the study.



Ragupathi, K. (2022). Illuminating the interactions between ideologies, academic subjectivities, and practices in a hybrid graded/gradeless learning environment: An ethnographic study deploying the practice lens. [Doctoral Thesis, Lancaster University]. Lancaster University.


Kiruthika RAGUPATHI is Associate Director at CDTL and co-leads professional development programmes and oversees the centralised teaching quality instruments at NUS—student feedback and peer review. Her research work focuses on assessment, student living-learning experiences, academic development, and technology-enhanced learning.

Kiruthika can be reached at


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