Recommendation of changes to reduce Stress for PSLE

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Recommendation of changes to reduce Stress for PSLE

Postby Guest » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:09 pm

As we know for a fact now, PM Lee has mentioned that PSLE will be here to stay, however, MOE would be keen to look at ways to reduce the stress leading to PSLE.

Some experienced parents who have just recently made some recommendations of changes to help reduce stress for PSLE which I thought is worth collating them into one thread for discussion and for the relevant parties to assess them. So please keep your suggestions coming.
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Re: Recommendation of changes to reduce Stress for PSLE

Postby Guest » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:10 pm

Original post from Mum of 3:

Mum of 3 wrote:I would like to start a discussion on ways to reduce PSLE stress.

Some of my suggestions:
1) allocate more time for both English and Chinese compositions
2) limit the format types for situational writing - eg to letter and email
3) cut down on the syllabus - eg for Math, remove the topic Speed and for Science, remove the topics Communities and Adaptation.

Any views?
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Re: Recommendation of changes to reduce Stress for PSLE

Postby Sun_2010 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:42 pm

I am all for reduction of stress but ...

ksi wrote:Original post from Mum of 3:

Mum of 3 wrote:I would like to start a discussion on ways to reduce PSLE stress.

Some of my suggestions:
1) allocate more time for both English and Chinese compositions
2) limit the format types for situational writing - eg to letter and email
3) cut down on the syllabus - eg for Math, remove the topic Speed and for Science, remove the topics Communities and Adaptation.

Any views?


1) allocate more time for both English and Chinese compositions
Aye! Aye!

2) limit the format types for situational writing - eg to letter and email
Not sure of this, ...

3) cut down on the syllabus - eg for Math, remove the topic Speed and for Science, remove the topics Communities and Adaptation.

The content coverage for Maths in singapore is typical of the content covered in most other countries, one might even say lesser say compared to US .
The depth is of course pretty intense. That I think is the aim of the Primary maths syllabus - lesser content and greater depth.
So reduction in content may not be a good move. And may not solve the stress issue.

A topic like speed is an important topic.
The reason it is complex to many children is not because the basic concept of speed and time and distance is hard.
This is the first time they are exposed to three variables that are related in inverse proportions too.
The brain takes a while getting used to it. Tn concept it is a simple equation but to really understand it thru and thru takes time.
Learning speed really takes the kids to the next level in maths. And this is the basis of lot of Sec school Physics. It is too late to introduce it in Secondary school and then get a grip on it.

for Science , I am not sure of the content of other countries. But to me, the topic mentioned Communities and Adaptation, is the culmination of all that life science learnt in Primary syllabus.
They first learn some fruits have one seed , others have many - in P6 they learn the Why. So on. Without it they are learning parts and not the whole. Without the whole why learn the parts? the very basis of inquiry is we need to look at the whole and understand the parts.

Yes it could be a little complicated , but that is no reason not to teach it to 11-12 year olds.

I am for reducting stress levels in PSLE , but in the process of reducing stress, the very basic objective of giving a well rounded primary eductaion should not be lost (thru dumbbed down syllabus )

[/quote] [/quote]

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Re: Recommendation of changes to reduce Stress for PSLE

Postby BeContented » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:53 pm

Sun_2010 wrote:
1) allocate more time for both English and Chinese compositions
Aye! Aye!

2) limit the format types for situational writing - eg to letter and email
Not sure of this, ...

3) cut down on the syllabus - eg for Math, remove the topic Speed and for Science, remove the topics Communities and Adaptation.

The content coverage for Maths in singapore is typical of the content covered in most other countries, one might even say lesser say compared to US .
The depth is of course pretty intense. That I think is the aim of the Primary maths syllabus - lesser content and greater depth.
So reduction in content may not be a good move. And may not solve the stress issue.

A topic like speed is an important topic.
The reason it is complex to many children is not because the basic concept of speed and time and distance is hard.
This is the first time they are exposed to three variables that are related in inverse proportions too.
The brain takes a while getting used to it. Tn concept it is a simple equation but to really understand it thru and thru takes time.
Learning speed really takes the kids to the next level in maths. And this is the basis of lot of Sec school Physics. It is too late to introduce it in Secondary school and then get a grip on it.

for Science , I am not sure of the content of other countries. But to me, the topic mentioned Communities and Adaptation, is the culmination of all that life science learnt in Primary syllabus.
They first learn some fruits have one seed , others have many - in P6 they learn the Why. So on. Without it they are learning parts and not the whole. Without the whole why learn the parts? the very basis of inquiry is we need to look at the whole and understand the parts.

Yes it could be a little complicated , but that is no reason not to teach it to 11-12 year olds.

I am for reducting stress levels in PSLE , but in the process of reducing stress, the very basic objective of giving a well rounded primary eductaion should not be lost (thru dumbbed down syllabus )



:goodpost: I support what Sun has written.

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Re: Recommendation of changes to reduce Stress for PSLE

Postby janet88 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:54 pm

1) Teach students the answering techniques for Science - most kids know the concepts but not the 'how to' technique to handle OE questions that PSLE markers are looking for.

2) Math becomes a killer subject from P5. Teach our kids how to answer the problem sums.

3) Compositions - be it english or Chinese, there are different ways to start. For Chinese, it could be a flash back or describing the weather or person. Then there are proverbs and use of hao ci hao ju (good phrases).
For English, there is no need to have bombastic words. A compo can come to life even with simple use of words. I once read a 12 year old boy's compo and I was totally amazed how he brought the characters to life. No need for big words to impress.

Since PSLE is here to stay, perhaps the parent company like MOE can engage the services of professionals to train teachers to teach.

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Re: Recommendation of changes to reduce Stress for PSLE

Postby Sun_2010 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:58 pm

Time and again , we have parents telling us the shock they recived in P5 CA1/SA1. Where so many children in the class fail.
If that was done to wake up , it does succeed in waking up the parents and rushing them to the tution/enrichment centres.

1.Simply test what you teach to a large extent.
To me its about exam papers set . Extremely tough papers demoralise children, make parents panicky, lead parents to queue up tution/enrichment centres, and that adds stress to parents and children.

There should be a clear division questions in the paper. As an example - 70% based on what is fully taught in class. 20% slightly tricky, infered questions, 10 % tougher/complex questions. If less than 50% of the kids in a class get less than 60-65%, something wrong, topics need to be revisited.

2. MOE should Discourage Tution/Enrichment:
Whether parents listen or not does not matter. Preach it. It will trickle down. Along with the above measure and other measures.
Once a child is scoring in around 70s the parents will not feel compelled to run to a tution centre.
It would then be a good to have thing not a necessity like it appears now.

One more, will write it later, g2g

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Re: Recommendation of changes to reduce Stress for PSLE

Postby slmkhoo » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:13 pm

For Maths and Science, the topics are pretty much what you find in most Pr school curricula so I don't think they need to be cut. I think the main stressor is the style and complexity of questions which require high levels of language comprehension and logical thinking. If the PSLE is intended to be a test of whether a child has learned basic concepts, then most questions should be straightforward. Perhaps there should be a clear demarcation of one or 2 'special' or 'starred' questions for extra credit which are not compulsory. Also, markers should be less rigid in what sort of answers they accept, and partial marks should be given as long as it is clear that the child has a general understanding of the concepts being tested. This is already the case in Maths, I believe, so it's mainly in Science that marking needs to be relaxed.

For English compo, markers should relax their rules about 'no fantasy, no science fiction' etc. And there should be less weight given to bombastic words and strange idioms. If the child can write continuous prose of 150 words that makes sense, that should get at least a decent pass.

If there is a need to sift out the gifted kids, then have another test. But it should not be like the Pr school GEP where there are prerequisites of English and Maths before a child may take the test; let every child who wants to try take the test. Who knows how many gems have been lost because of the prerequisite requirements?

These are the things that MOE can do. What is can't do is change another main stressor - parents' belief that exam grades are so important that all life grinds to a halt before the PSLE.

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Re: Recommendation of changes to reduce Stress for PSLE

Postby janet88 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:17 pm

When my son was in P4, friends and kind neighbor told hubby & I to be prepared for a sharp drop and big landfall. We thanked them for giving us advice what to expect in P5. It was indeed painful last year. Throughout the whole year, we were in the dark tunnel, wondering when we will see light.

We drifted on to P6. Dark tunnel continues, and that the path was even harder to walk.

1) Kids are demoralized bcos they have put in hard work, yet 'rewarded' with poor results bcos the exams are tough. They will find it meaningless to continue working hard.

2) Again, the same statement. Test what is taught, if you want parents to rely less on tuition.

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Re: Recommendation of changes to reduce Stress for PSLE

Postby Chenonceau » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:18 pm

I like Sun's points on...
- not cutting syllabus by reducing breadth of content
- BUT to tackle the DEPTH of content
- NOT dumbing down the syllabus
- teaching what you test
- discouraging tuition

I add my following thoughts...

- if you give more time for compositions , then over the next few years, expectations of writing skill will go up the fill the extra time given because there will ALWAYS be children who can push the envelope of possibility when the system is governed by the Bell Curve

- this syllabus needs to be taught DIFFERENTLY. If teachers know HOW to teach it, covering the syllabus is not a problem (provided there are smaller classes and better access to high quality materials).

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Re: Recommendation of changes to reduce Stress for PSLE

Postby Jtutor » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:55 pm

I subscribe to Sun's viewpoints which are well thought.

With regards to maths, I wonder how some students manage to handle challenging qns (such as speed) while the majority struggle even with repeated explanations from teachers. Could it be due to the studying style (eg rote learning) as compared to logical thinking process which the MOE hopes to encourage?

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