Earlier this month, an exam paper for psychology students at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was leaked 20 minutes before it began.
As a result, 218 students were affected and had to retake the test.
After the incident, investigations revealed that the paper’s early release was due to an administrative error.
Hence, the school is reviewing its internal protocol and staff training to prevent similar situations in the future.
Speaking in Parliament on Monday (28 Nov), Minister of State for Education Gan Siow Huang said the leak was due to a human error by administrative staff.
“The individual failed to password-protect the electronic version of the paper, which was meant for students taking the test online,” she said.
Hence, the students were unintentionally given access to the questions before the exam started.
Ms Gan noted that NTU undertook remedial action to ensure a fair assessment process for all students by having a retest with reduced examinable topics and extended counselling support to affected students.
She also stressed that NTU takes this matter seriously and is reviewing its internal protocol and staff training to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.
Outlining the set of protocols implemented by institutes of higher learning (IHLs) to prevent unauthorised access or premature release of examination papers, Ms Gan said these measures include:
Regarding the parliamentary question on whether there had been similar occurrences over the past three years, Ms Gan pointed out that five isolated incidents occurred within this period, affecting a small minority of undergraduate students.
She also said the IHLs acknowledge the additional stress on students when there’s a need to retake examinations.
“Sufficient time is provided for students to prepare for the examinations. In addition, lecturers and mentors will avail themselves to support affected students.
“Students who require more assistance can turn to para counsellors or professional counsellors in the IHLs,” she said.
The NTU exam paper leak happened on 7 Nov at 9.30am for the HP2200 (Biological Psychology) course.
Most students took the test at a lecture theatre, while those with Covid-19 took it online. Both sets of students started the paper at the same time.
Unfortunately, the paper was released on NTU’s online learning platform 20 minutes before the exam started.
Thus, the students had to retake the test, and the school apologised.
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