SINGAPORE: Many primary and secondary schools are scrapping mid-year examinations for some levels, ahead of the Government's plans to remove the exams by 2021, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Tuesday (May 28).
More than half of primary schools will scrap mid-year exams for Primary 3 and Primary 5 by next year, Mr Ong said. Similarly, more than 90 per cent of secondary schools will remove their Secondary 3 mid-year exams by 2020.
Some schools have already done away with the exams this year – two years ahead of schedule, Mr Ong said.
“There are also schools removing mid-year examinations at other levels, not stipulated by MOE,” he added.
“So what we are seeing is that the mentality of competing for even higher scores in even more tests and examinations is giving way to a new movement to take a balanced approach in teaching and assessments, and bring about a greater joy of learning."
PILOT PROGRAMME FOR SUBJECT-BASED BANDING EXPANDED
Speaking at the 9th Teachers Conference at the Singapore Expo, Mr Ong also said that MOE has increased the number of schools that will implement a pilot programme for full subject-based banding next year.
The ministry announced in March that the current streaming system for secondary schools – where students are separated into Express, Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical) streams based on their Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) results – will be phased out and replaced with subject-based banding.
Under subject-based banding, a student with a PSLE Score of 4 to 20 will be eligible for subjects at the highest G3 level. This means that a student would need to score an average score of at most 5 in each subject to take the entire G3 suite of subjects, which corresponds to the current Express level.
The pilot programme was originally planned to include 25 schools, but will now be expanded after more schools asked to be included, Mr Ong said.
"We will settle at just below 30 schools, to make sure that MOE can give the pilot schools proper and adequate support to ensure they succeed," he said.
MORE DETAILS TO BE RELEASED ON NEW PSLE SCORING SYSTEM
Mr Ong also said that MOE will soon release more details on changes to the new PSLE scoring system that will come into effect in 2021.
The first batch of students to be affected by the change are those currently in Primary 4.
Under the new scoring system, announced by MOE in 2016, PSLE students will be graded on achievement levels of 1 to 8 in each of their four subjects. The sum of these achievement levels will make up students’ final scores.
“We will share more on the transition from PSLE T-scores to Achievement Levels in the coming months. I am sure there will be many questions from students and parents. MOE will prepare the information packages, and teachers will patiently explain the changes to parents,” added Mr Ong.