Your views - All are good school - maybe it's true?

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Your views - All are good school - maybe it's true?

Postby BeContented » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:01 pm

Now that my 2 kids have completed their Pri education, it prompted me to wonder about the statement - all schools are good school. Soooo many of us clamour for better schools, for GEP etc & we do see repeated 'clawing' at each other :sweat: :evil: Guess I'll share my experience.

DS came from a true-blue neighborhood sch where you have only ~10 kids scoring > 250 each year with 50% of the cohort going normal stream in Sec. DS did well enough fortunately.

DD was in same sch as her elder bro. During P2&P3, she + 2 other classmates (let's call them B & C) were consistently the top 3 kids in all SA1 & SA2.
Come P4, DD transferred to a better sch. B went GEP. C stayed on.
Each continued to fare well in their respective schools.

Fast forward 3 years, all 3 finished their PSLE 2013. And surprisingly, all 3 scored within 5 points of each other....... Despite the different types of school with different perceived resources & one with a different curriculum (GEP).

So it really got me wondering, perhaps the statement is true. A lot depends on our own kids I guess - not just resources, but ability, inner desire, motivation, family support etc. What's your take?? :wink:

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Re: Your views - All are good school - maybe it's true?

Postby wonderm » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:19 pm

Interesting observation. Thanks for sharing.

Agree with you. In addition, I think T score doesn't reflect everything a child learns. For example, the additional challenge and exposure provided by GEP programme, peer influence from classmates and schoolmates were not tested in PSLE.

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Re: Your views - All are good school - maybe it's true?

Postby timtamfan » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:49 pm

I think the school is just one of many many factors that can contribute to making a child 'good'. To me, what's more critical is the learning environment (home and school) and child attitude. A good school for me is one with teachers who are willing and open to communicate and work with parents, and are flexible in teaching approach. The only advantage of the traditional 'good' school is they have (or had) a track record, and perhaps the student cohort is (on average) slightly more serious about studies. Someone mentioned and I agree, that the top two classes of all schools are 'equally good'.

I also consider school leadership (mainly principal) to be critical. MY DC school had some changes over the past years and can feel the school dynamism and focus change, sometimes not for the better
Last edited by timtamfan on Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Your views - All are good school - maybe it's true?

Postby Nebbermind » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:11 pm

I donch have any actual data but I believe if we are able to determine the average $€£ per student spends on enrichment in, say, a gep school vs a neighbourhood school, we may find some answers.

Can also look at parent profile, ie, % of kids with zero, one or both parents being degree holder. Or can even look as far back as grandparents. These may also provide some answers.

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Re: Your views - All are good school - maybe it's true?

Postby doodbug » Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:43 am

Hi BeContented,

Thank you for sharing. It is an interesting account. In your daughter's case, it may seem like there was no 'academic advantage' in transferring to a 'better' school. Perhaps you may like to share your assessment on whether it was a good move to have changed schools, and whether the experience in a 'better' school was any 'superior' to her previous neighbourhood school.

It will be interesting to carry out a regression study to ascertain if the difference in academic performance across schools (i.e. PSLE scores) can be fully explained by tuition expenditures and factors like family income. If the differences are fully accounted for by these two factors, then MOE is not wrong to say, all schools are good schools. However intuitively, there may be some remnant difference left unaccounted for - we just do not know how large this portion is. The remaining determinants could be quality of teachers, a more competitive environment and the impact on a child's motivation etc.

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Re: Your views - All are good school - maybe it's true?

Postby jetsetter » Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:25 am

Agree with the rest who highlighted enrichment, sch tchrs, motivation, hereditary talent as other contributory factors.

"Come P4, DD transferred to a better sch. B went GEP. C stayed on."

C - the "constant" (base) here who stayed in the neighbourhood sch.
Did she go for premium enrichments like TLL that feeds students with "GEP-like" materials? DId she go for many enrichmts per wk, relied on Popular assessments or zero at all?
Are her folks > dip holders? Grandparents/caregivers educated? went to student care?

B - the one who had extra GEP training after P4.
Did she stop all external enrichment and relied solely on MOE's GEP materials?
Are her folks > dip holders? Grandparents/caregivers? Student Care?

A (your DD) - went to a "better" sch in P4
Did she go for enrichment (quality/frequency) after sch?
Parents' profiles? Caregivers/student care?

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Re: Your views - All are good school - maybe it's true?

Postby limlim » Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:46 pm

It is difficult to measure how "good" is a school. Whether the criteria is ability to impart knowledge or the ability to guide.

Statistics may be a good or reasonable gauge. few isolated cases.. hardly.

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Re: Your views - All are good school - maybe it's true?

Postby mel2sg » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:08 pm

I do not know what constitutes a good school but I definitely know what a below-average neighbourhood school is.

Looking at the school past years PSLE achievements - not impressive, it was on downward trend, with students achieving t-score above 260 decreasing & percentage of retained students increasing. Then, as my girl will be taking PSLE this year, I feedback & hint to teacher & Principal over their strategy of 'adopting same approach but hoping for better outcome' but to no avail. :roll:

Well, we have to take it into hand to monitor & support in whatever ways we can. She got tuition for Chinese & Science, while, my wife personally taught her Maths. Thanks god, she did well - qualify to apply for top IP schools.

To summarize, all schools are good school - definitely big NO :shrug:

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Re: Your views - All are good school - maybe it's true?

Postby Nebbermind » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:14 pm

mel2sg wrote:I do not know what constitutes a good school but I definitely know what a below-average neighbourhood school is.

Looking at the school past years PSLE achievements - not impressive, it was on downward trend, with students achieving t-score above 260 decreasing & percentage of retained students increasing. Then, as my girl will be taking PSLE this year, I feedback & hint to teacher & Principal over their strategy of 'adopting same approach but hoping for better outcome' but to no avail. :roll:

Well, we have to take it into hand to monitor & support in whatever ways we can. She got tuition for Chinese & Science, while, my wife personally taught her Maths. Thanks god, she did well - qualify to apply for top IP schools.

To summarize, all schools are good school - definitely big NO :shrug:


But seriously, how many >250 in 'good' school could achieve it without tuition/enrichment/parental coaching?

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Re: Your views - All are good school - maybe it's true?

Postby sparks » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:17 pm

IMO, not all schools are good schools. If it is, we would not be deliberating so much as to which schools to choose. There are definitely schools that we will never send our children too, based on the behaviour of teachers/students/results there, right? It may be a possibility in future but definitely not in near term.

Good schools to me is not just abt academic achievements. More impt is that it allows the child blossom whilst under its care. My ds is in a sought-after 'good'school. However, if I can turn back the clock, I wld not send him there. It did not turn out to be a 'good' school for ds & IMO. I agree very much with all timtamfan's views, esp that principal is critical in steering the school's culture.

It is not surprising that a child in a neighbourhood school may get same grades as another in a 'top' school due to the big fish in small pond effect. It's a known fact that the top 2-4 classes are groomed to score well in major exams. So, rather than squeezing my ds into one where he barely qualifies, I have no qualms putting him into another where the cutoff is below his t-score by a comfortable margin & the school has got a hands-on good principal & a reputation of nurturing students into well-rounded individuals. I think the selection of secondary schools is more critical since this is the period that a child starts to bloom & develops own character & values.

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