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Singapore to Do Away with School Exams, Focus on Meaningful Learning – MOE

Singapore is known to the rest of the world for a number of things. Aside from having one of the world’s strongest economies, Singapore has also consistently ranked high in terms of students’ test performances all over the world.

That being said, there have been inquiries as to how meaningful this type of ‘learning’ has been for the students, which has been standardized across educational facilities in the country. And if not, what should be the changes to be introduced into the system that has served the country for so long?

Initiative to Scrap Mid-Year Exams for Singapore Students Proposed

In light of this situation, Singapore’s Education Minister Ong Ye Kung announced the ministry’s plan to abolish mid-year examinations for Primary 3 and 5 pupils, as well as for Secondary 1 and 3 students in a span of three years from now, as shared in a report by The Independent.

As part of the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) efforts to deviate from a narrow focus on grades and help children discover the joy of learning, the first two years of primary school will also be test-free starting next year.

According to Singapore’s education officials, learning is not a competition, and as such, case report books will no longer include the class and level rankings at both primary and secondary levels.

Furthermore, even aggregate scores, used for post O-level postings, will not be reflected at the lower secondary level to avoid preoccupation with grades.

The changes to the system will also provide teachers more space to explore new ways of making learning enjoyable and lasting, the minister explained.

The ministry also noted that cutting the mid-year examinations will provide students with more time to adjust during “key transition” years, when they have to study new subjects and deal with higher content materials. The change will also free up about three weeks of curriculum time every two years.

However, as expected, not everybody seemed happy with what the top education official termed as the “Learn for Life” shift.

For this reason, Ong explained that the MOE needs to “bring the most important stakeholder – parents – on board” and convince them that the changes do not compromise on academic standards.

The initiative also aims to instill meaningful learning to students instead of the traditional rote method, measured by test scores and reported by level rankings, which have caused many students in the country to develop preoccupation with grades.

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