RI’s ‘O’ level scores: only one in 10 qualified for JC.

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RI’s ‘O’ level scores: only one in 10 qualified for JC.

Postby havok_ex » Tue Jan 19, 2016 1:06 am

http://themiddleground.sg/2016/01/18/32412/

By Bertha Henson and Lionel Ong

RAFFLES Institution’s (RI) experiment with the “dual track” system seems to have gone a little awry. Its “pioneer” GCE ‘O’ level class achieved dismal results when the 10 students were given their grades on Jan 11. All but one scored 20 points and above for their six best subjects. If this means nothing to you, consider that this knocks them out of junior college and they would be hard put to land their choice of course in a polytechnic.

Entry into junior colleges typically requires a score of 15 20 and below, according to the Joint Admissions Exercise information booklet. The ‘O’ levels score is tabulated by looking at six subjects for JC and five in the case of applying for polytechnics. Students who ace their subjects get six points. But this can go down to two points, if they subtract two points for passing their Higher Mother Tongue as well as another two points for fulfilling their Co-Curricular Activities’ (CCA) requirement.

TMG spoke to three of the students and a parent of another who expressed resignation, disappointment and, in the case of the parent, outright shock at the grades. Only one of the 10 fared well enough to enter JC with 20 points. One student recalled the mood in the school auditorium where they received their results. “I went with my family to collect my results and they were very shocked.” As for the other students and parents, he said: “Everyone was just shocked. Everyone was wondering ‘how did this happen?'”

Last year was the first time in seven years that RI students sat for the ‘O’ levels. It has been running the six-year Integrated Programme leading seamlessly to the ‘A’ levels since 2007. But two years ago, it reinstated the ‘O’ level track for students who might not be able to cope with the “through-train” system. The school, while taking the cream of the PSLE crop with a high cut-off point, also admits students through the Direct School Admissions (DSA) system because of their facility in a sport. The students we spoke to said the school’s cutoff point was 259 during the year they gained admission, but they were only required to attain a score of 200, and to clear a general aptitude test because of their facility in a sport.

At the end of Secondary Two, the 10 students, most of whom were school athletes, were asked to move to the ‘O’ level track to do a fixed combination of eight subjects.

One student, who played hockey for the school, said he was surprised by his results because he did fairly well in school, scoring 12 points for his mid-year examination and 17 points for his preliminary examination. Teachers had been assuring the class that the preliminary examination was meant to be tougher than the ‘O’ level papers. But his final ‘O’ level results were a far cry from what he had expected. He scored 24 points. He wondered if the school lost out because teachers were unfamiliar with the ‘O’ level syllabus: “When we were doing the paper, we all knew that something was wrong.”

Another student, a track-and-field athlete, conceded that training for competitions might have taken time away from studies. He was out of class for between two and three months last year because of national and international competitions. “Just like how the other students put in time and effort into their work, we as sportsmen have to also put it in our sports.”

All three students are looking to get into local polytechnics, including one who is applying through the Joint Polytechnic Special Admissions Exercise, which is based on students’ specific talents and capabilities. In other words, it is the DSA process all over again. The parent intends to send her son abroad for his studies.

Parents were upset enough to call for a meeting with the school management. They met on Friday (Jan 15) to discuss, among other things, whether the school’s teachers were au fait with the ‘O’ level syllabus and the option to re-take the ‘O’ levels in the school. This year, RI has at least another 10 students who will be sitting for the ‘O’ levels.

When contacted by TMG, RI declined to comment.

Other schools which have a “dual track” programme include St Joseph’s Institution (SJI) and Anglo Chinese School (Independent) (ACS(I)). They have the four-year ‘O’ level classes as well as six-year classes which culminate in students taking the International Baccalaureate.

SJI had 347 students who sat for the ‘O’ levels last year. A check with its website showed that 96 per cent of its students qualified for JC, which means that most of them scored below 20 points. ‘O’ level students in ACS(I) scored an average of 11.89 points.

The hockey player advised his juniors not to be complacent about getting a place in Raffles Institution (Junior College) (RI(JC)), or even any JC. He did not attend any polytechnic open houses because he thought he would be moving on to RI(JC). After getting over the initial shock of his grades, he spent the next two days scouring polytechnic options to submit his application. “I had to decide my entire future in two days.”


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Re: RI’s ‘O’ level scores: only one in 10 qualified for JC.

Postby starlight1968sg » Tue Jan 19, 2016 6:33 am

Totally shocked, even as an outsider.

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Re: RI’s ‘O’ level scores: only one in 10 qualified for JC.

Postby phtthp » Tue Jan 19, 2016 6:48 am

Yes, shocking !

20+ points very hard to get into a good Junior College, nor into a good course at the Polytechnic.
Poly also look at grades, to determine which faculty to enter.

perhaps they can re-take "O" level as a private candidate, try again one more time. Be focused, this time.
if can get better "O" level results : can enter back JC, next round.

think perhaps it is the over commitment in Sports training, a few times per week (very siong) which the school require, that lead them to "no time to study, properly".

This is a wake-up call, for those who intend to DSA via Sports, into Secondary schools, esp. the Top Tier IP schools
Last edited by phtthp on Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: RI’s ‘O’ level scores: only one in 10 qualified for JC.

Postby Jennifer » Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:00 am

phtthp wrote:20+ points very hard to get into a good Junior College, nor into a good course at the Polytechnic

perhaps they can re-take "O" level as a private candidate, try again one more time.
if can get better "O" level results : can enter back JC, next round.

think perhaps it is the over commitment in Sports training, a few times per week (very siong) which the school require, that lead them to "no time to study, properly".

This is a wake-up call, for those who intend to DSA via Sports, into Secondary schools.


Think again about DSA via sports into a IP sec sch.

Students in Singapore Sports School also train. From the recent reports, the students did fairly well in the academic aspects.

It is which sec sch the sports students choose that make a difference.

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Re: RI’s ‘O’ level scores: only one in 10 qualified for JC.

Postby phtthp » Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:10 am

Jennifer wrote:Think again about DSA via sports into a IP sec sch.

Students in Singapore Sports School also train. From the recent reports, the students did fairly well in the academic aspects.

It is which sec sch the sports students choose that make a difference.

if this happen to RI, how did RGS girls (also IP school) fare, in the "on-demand" O level class ?

or in any IP Secondary schools, with the "on-demand" O level class, those who DSA in via Sports ?
How did NYGH "O" level class, perform ?

Dunman High, also have one such similar class, around 15 to 20 students.
How did Dunman High "O" level students, perform ?

How about River Valley High ?


NJC don't have any on-demand "O" level class
If child can't cope with IP, NJC will help student first, try their best to cope.
But if still can't cope after trying, NJC will ask student to leave

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Re: RI’s ‘O’ level scores: only one in 10 qualified for JC.

Postby slmkhoo » Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:34 am

I don't think it's fair to call it an 'O' level "track" - it's for those who are struggling with the regular Raffles Program, so are arguably the few weakest students whose other option would have been to leave. It's not like some other IP schools which have a real dual-track system.

And RGS doesn't have an 'O' level class.

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Re: RI’s ‘O’ level scores: only one in 10 qualified for JC.

Postby Jennifer » Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:43 am

slmkhoo wrote:I don't think it's fair to call it an 'O' level "track" - it's for those who are struggling with the regular Raffles Program, so are arguably the few weakest students whose other option would have been to leave. It's not like some other IP schools which have a real dual-track system.

And RGS doesn't have an 'O' level class.


That's why I posted "It is which sec sch the sports students choose that make a difference."

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Re: RI’s ‘O’ level scores: only one in 10 qualified for JC.

Postby phtthp » Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:49 am

starlight1968sg wrote:Totally shocked, even as an outsider.

For DSA : only need minimum 200 T-score, can enter RI, or any IP school

But, what was the official COP, for their batch ? 259
So much wide difference !
59 points difference, very huge !

Think this mininum DSA entry score at 200, need to be re-visited.
Maybe need to revise upwards
200 is set far too low


Another area to evaluate is :-
How well did RI Tr prepare their IP students, for O level curriculum ?

Bear in mind that RI was never an O level school in the first place, unlike Victoria boys Sec, Cedar girls Sec, Catholic High boys, St nick girls.

Thus, when RI open up this on-demand class, have MOE sent any official down so far to RI premises, check their O level curriculum preparation for RI students in nitty gritty detail, subject by subject, topic by topic, compare and contrast how much difference or deviation (if any) in the way RI teach O level students, vs those traditional O level Secondary schools ?

Traditional O level Secondary schools prepare their Sec 3 / Sec 4 students, very comprehensive, detailed step by step

Did RI teachers who teach this on demand O level class adopt a similar approach as these Traditional O level schools, or did the Tr deviate much, since the Teachers in RI are more IP type of Tr methodology ?

Moe need to send official down, to study in detail how they prepare this class of students, for O level

The fact that so many of them scored around 20+ points, indicate something not right, somewhere. Is it possible to be O level teaching methodology ?

Bear in mind : RI does not offer a proper O level track, in the first case.

Who are the RI teachers, involved in teaching this O level class, preparing them to sit for O level ?
How many of them ?
What kind of teaching methodology, did these Subject Tr apply in class ?

Are these Tr involved :
Any experience before, in teaching any O level school, before posted to RI to teach ?
Or are they fresh graduates from NIE, assigned to teach this class of students ?
What is their teaching qualification, and teaching experience for O level, like ?

Someone from Moe need to follow up this, closely.
Why ?
Because year in, year out, every batch of P6 students, apply for dsa into RI.
In the event that the children are sent to this class, one must not assume that Tr teaching this class, know how to teach them, guide them properly for O level, unless parents have the facts laid before them.
We do not assume blindly that all RI tr know how to teach O level, just becàuse it is RI.
We parents need to bear in mind one underlying fact :
RI never offer O level track, in the first place

Or

Is it because students simply no time to study, due to heavy commitment in Sports ?
Last edited by phtthp on Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:06 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: RI’s ‘O’ level scores: only one in 10 qualified for JC.

Postby havok_ex » Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:00 am

IMO it feels like a complacency problem by the Teachers. Even for Neighbourhood secondary schools, we have psle score of ~200 but we still can get below 20 and below 10. Did the students practice TYS? One of the students said that they felt smth was wrong while doing the o-level paper. Feels like he didn't practice the tys at all.

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Re: RI’s ‘O’ level scores: only one in 10 qualified for JC.

Postby phtthp » Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:21 am

slmkhoo wrote:I don't think it's fair to call it an 'O' level "track" - it's for those who are struggling with the regular Raffles Program, so are arguably the few weakest students whose other option would have been to leave. It's not like some other IP schools which have a real dual-track system.

And RGS doesn't have an 'O' level class.

Regardless of whether RI IP track or what, the very fact that these 16 year old boys in RI are sitting for major GCE O level exam, is not to be taken lightly.

If the children have to sit for O level exam, then make sure that RI prepare them adequately, exactly in the same manner as any typical O level student, from Those Traditional O level schools

If RI lack experienced O level Tr to teach this class, then the Principal of RI should SOS Moe, send down a few very experienced Tr from HQ, who had several years & had gone through several batches of experience, in handling & dealing with students, to guide & prepare them adequately for major O level exam

Poor thing
These children had sacrificed so much of their precious 4 years of golden time, effort & energy, to win glory in Sports for RI, at the expense of their studies
Last edited by phtthp on Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

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