In Semester 1 of AY16/17, NTU Students’ Union (NTUSU) collected feedback from the students regarding the S/U Option, with the purpose of understanding the sentiments of students to feedback to the University.
The result of the survey reveals that about 55% of the 3396 respondents finds the S/U Option helpful, while the rest finds it not helpful. The Union has initiated discussions with the University based on the survey findings, and tried to understand the purpose and relevance of S/U Option. The University’s response is as below.
The University wishes to reiterate that the objective of S/U Option is to encourage students to be more willing to explore courses beyond their core disciplines, without undue concern that exploring a new subject area may adversely affect their Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA). This constitutes part of the overall growing emphasis on holistic assessment where examination is no longer the only major component of academic performance.
The S/U Option has been progressively changed over the years since its first implementation in AY05/06 to align with regular academic review. The current S/U declaration period of up to two working days after the final examination paper of a semester gives students sufficient time to weigh their choices of either opting for grades or S/U notation, and yet not use it as a means of pulling up their CGPA. As of now, the University finds that there is no compelling reason to make changes to the current S/U Option scheme.
The University wishes to encourage students to use the Continual Assessments (CA) done throughout the semester to help themselves get a better gauge of where they stand.
The various school clubs, also the academic representative of students in different schools, are therefore highly encouraged to voice out students’ concerns. Students are welcome to approach any member in their school clubs to give their opinions on school-related issues. The Union will continue working closely with the various academic constituent clubs to enhance the education system in NTU. The University also guarantees that students’ opinions will be considered, so long as they help to improve students’ academic welfare.
Below is the brief chronology on S/U Option since its implementation:
S/U Option was first implemented to encourage students to step out of their comfort zone and broaden their scope of studies into unfamiliar disciplines. The quota for S/U Option was 12AU for 4-year programmes and 9AU for 3-year programmes.
The quota available for S/U Option was increased to 12AU for 3-year NBS programmes to align with the quota for 4-year programmes.
The end of S/U Option Exercising Period was extended to end 2 weeks before examinations.
After NTUSU brought up the issue of the S/U Option Exercising Period being too early, the University conducted a study on this matter. The conclusion was to extend the S/U Option Exercising Period to end 2 working days after the final examination period but before the release of results.
To allow students to read letter-graded electives on an ungraded basis, the S/U grading was also streamlined and realigned with Pass/Fail (P/F) grading, such that Satisfactory=Pass=D grade (S=P=D) or higher. Prior to this, S had a minimum of C-grade equivalence, while P had a minimum of D-grade equivalence.
To allow freshmen to better ease into University life, they can have up to 6 letter-graded courses that do not make the pass grade on first attempt in the Freshmen Year excluded from CGPA computation.
These changes were further made in the effort to de-emphasise examination (by capping the exam component weight of total assessment for a course to a maximum of 60%), in conjuncture with other schemes like exchange programme and residential programme. In addition, the proportion of CA has been progressively increased.