Do you really understand ‘holistic assessment’?
Everybody is talking about ‘holistic education’ in Singapore. However, some of us may not have a holistic understanding of ‘holistic education’. It is not just about going for a dance class after the maths lesson or playing in the field after a lab session. Even within the field of academic education, we have the standard of being holistic, particularly being holistic in assessment.
The university education is characterized by such holistic assessment, which consists of three major parts: projects, mid-term tests and class participation (in addition to the final exams). Before you feel a bit overwhelmed, let Digital Senior give you a quick introduction to each of the three assessment modes and some effective tips on how to improve your performance in those areas.
Firstly, you may be doing an individual or a group project that contributes to your final grade. Your professor may give you a specific topic or assign a broad topic to you and you will have to come up with a specific thesis or agenda for investigation.
There are two benefits of doing a project. The first benefit is enhanced understanding of course materials because you are no longer doing some tutorial questions, but doing a hands-on project that demands flexible application of knowledge. The second benefit is the teamwork ability that you will develop through working with your fellow course mates. Because of the two benefits, project work usually carries a high percentage as part of your final grade.
Tips to ace your project
Since doing a project is an important component of your study, it serves you well to know some effective tips to help you excel.
• First, if you are doing a group project, you may want to spend some time finding the right teammates. They may be your friends who can support each other, or they can be people you respect so they are great asset to your team. Finding the right people is the first step towards getting a good grade for project.
• Second, avoid copy-and-paste style of writing a report. Professors value the ability to produce original insight, not the ability to regurgitate the points from textbook, which many students tend to do as an easy way to finishing the paper; and your professor can easily tell! There is no easy way to score. Take time to think about a specific research topic, dive into the library or online resources to find data to support your claims and do extra reading or interview if necessary.
• Finally, don’t neglect your presentation part. Though your professors may not be as demanding on your presentation capability as your future employer, you still need to give a good impression by practicing beforehand.
Click here to find out how to make an impactful presentation.
The quiz is coming!
Other than project, a more conventional way of testing students is through periodic tests. There are usually one or two mid-term tests or quizzes based on the materials covered. They are designed to test your understanding and progress. They are also reminders for you to work hard if you realize that your standing in the class is below average for the tests. More importantly, such quizzes are usually less difficult than your final exams because they also serve as a tool to moderate the grades for final exams. Hence make sure that you grab as many low-hanging fruits as possible before they disappear!
But the low-hanging fruits cannot be secured without effort. You still need to make the jump, if not climbing the tree all the way to the top. Hence Digital Senior would urge you to study consistently throughout the semester and try not to study for the quiz one or two days before. We understand that you may have many commitments going on at the same time. So studying consistently really just means going for the lessons, completing tutorial questions and asking questions during the class or right after the class. You are not spending much extra time, yet you will be much more prepared for the quiz. One special thing to note is that since quizzes are easier compared to finals, so don’t be too excited if you get a good grades for the quizzes. It is a sign that you are on the track, but it is no guarantee that you will do well in the end. Hence effective exam preparation is still needed.
Are you being heard?
Lastly, class participation. Other than SMU, the class participation does not count as a big portion in the three other universities, typically around five percent of your final grades. But in certain modules where interaction is critical, class participation weight may go up according. However, Digital Senior is not making a point that just because it seems insignificant, you can afford to neglect it. Five percent can be critical to a borderline case. And it is not that difficult to get. You just need to open your mouth, and you will not be penalized for giving a wrong answer, unlike paper-based exams. Hence there is no reason that you don’t get full mark for the class participation!
Now you have a big picture about holistic education and how to excel in each of the main components. If you excel in all kinds of assessments, you will not just be book-smart, but also a good team player, a good speaker and more. The reward is beyond a good GPA, isn’t it?