Abolishing Streaming in Secondary Schools: Netizens React

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mommyNg
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Re: Express or Normal Academic

Post by mommyNg » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:16 pm

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/ ... ma-against

Streaming into Normal and Express in secondary schools to stop in 2024; to be replaced by full subject-based banding

SINGAPORE - Streaming secondary school students into Normal and Express will end in 2024, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung has announced. Instead, all Secondary One students in the 2024 batch will take subjects based on their ability and strengths.

Subjects such as Maths will be taught at three levels - G1, G2 or G3, with G standing for 'General'. G1 will roughly correspond to today's N(T) standard, G2 to N(A) standard, and G3 to Express standard.

When they reach Secondary 4 in 2027, the students will take a common examination, and graduate with a common secondary school certificate, Mr Ong said. "It will list the subjects completed and the standard band of each subject," he added. "Singapore and Cambridge will co-brand this new certificate, as both are strong international brand names in education, which will enhance the recognition and value of the certificate.

"With full subject-based banding implemented, form classes re-organised across the board, and a combined secondary education certificate, we would have effectively mergedExpress, N(A) and N(T) streams into a single course. The Express, N(A) and N(T) streams, and their labels, will therefore be phased out.

"So from three education streams, we will now have 'One secondary education, many subject bands'. We will no longer have fishes swimming down three separate streams, but one broad river, with each fish negotiating its own journey."

As part of the move, about 25 pilot secondary schools will implement full subject-based banding from next year, with more schools joining in subsequent years.

All schools have already been offering subject-based banding since last year, which allows students in the Normal stream to take English, Mother Tongue, Maths and Science at a higher level, including at Express level.

From 2020, lower secondary school students can study more subjects at a higher level, such as Geography, History, and Literature. Students from one stream, including from Express, will also have the flexibility of taking a subject offered in another stream.

"Express students today are already exposed to technical subjects such as Design and Technology," said Mr Ong in Parliament on Tuesday (March 5). "In time, Express students may take subjects offered in the Normal stream, such as Mobile Robotics."

By implementing full SBB, pilot schools will also be able to "reshape the social environment in schools to benefit their students".

He highlighted the example of Boon Lay Secondary School, which organises its form classes according to co-curricular activities.

SBB was first piloted in 12 schools in 2014, and Mr Ong said the results have been encouraging. About half of the Normal (Academic) students in the pilot schools took up subjects at the Express level - a quarter took one subject, another 11 per cent took two subjects, and over 10 per cent took three subjects, or were laterally transferred to the Express stream, he explained.

"If we had included Mother Tongue, the numbers would be even higher. The numbers for N(T) students taking N(A) level subjects were quite similar."

And the two batches of students who took higher-level subjects have have performed comparably to their Express counterparts, Mr Ong revealed.

"To illustrate, for the national examinations in 2018, 25 per cent of Sec Four N(A) students who took O-level English got A1 or A2, compared to 24 per cent for Express students. For O-level Maths, 26 per cent of N(A) students got A1 or A2, compared to 50% for Express students. For O-level Combined Science, it was 33 per cent for N(A), compared to 34 per cent for Express students.

"The Normal stream students have held their own."

Earlier in his speech, Mr Ong highlighted how several MPs on Monday had called for a review of streaming.

Explaining the history of streaming, he said it was implemented during the "efficiency-driven" phase of the education system in the 1980s and 1990s, when the biggest concern was the "huge number of dropouts" who could not read or write at the end of primary school.

By customising education to the learning rates of students through streaming, school attrition rates were cut from about a third in the 1970s to less than 1 per cent today, he said.

But he also conceded that there are some downsides to streaming. It assumes that students need a certain pace of learning in all their subjects, whereas many have uneven strengths across different subjects. And, most importantly he added, there is the stigma of entering a stream that is considered "lower".

"Students can develop a mindset where they tell themselves, 'I am only a Normal stream student, so this is as good as I can be.' It can become self-fulfilling," Mr Ong said.


On the whole, I applaud this move to replace streaming into Normal and Express in secondary schools by full subject-based banding, to reduce stigmatism and to encourage more integration between students from different background and academic ability. :rahrah:

MOE would still need to iron out the implementation details though, such as having sufficient school/teacher resources to cater to dynamic demands, cut-off points (if any) to decide which subjects to take at G1, G2, and G3 level, the new "name" to replace N and O levels, the entry criteria to various paths such as NITEC, Poly, and JCs, etc. But I believe the change is in the right direction.... :smile:

floppy
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Re: Express or Normal Academic

Post by floppy » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:31 pm

mommyNg wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:16 pm

On the whole, I applaud this move to replace streaming into Normal and Express in secondary schools by full subject-based banding, to reduce stigmatism and to encourage more integration between students from different background and academic ability. :rahrah:

MOE would still need to iron out the implementation details though, such as having sufficient school/teacher resources to cater to dynamic demands, cut-off points (if any) to decide which subjects to take at G1, G2, and G3 level, the new "name" to replace N and O levels, the entry criteria to various paths such as NITEC, Poly, and JCs, etc. But I believe the change is in the right direction.... :smile:
The devil is, as always, in the details.

“encourage more integration between students from different background and academic ability”
- only true to a certain extent: integration only happen if the sec school offers all 3 (or even 2) streams. And as we all know, the top tier schools only offer 1 stream :wink:
The skeptic in me says, the commoners are welcome to integrate among themselves, while the elite stays in their fenced enclosure :evil:

mommyNg
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Re: Express or Normal Academic

Post by mommyNg » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:49 pm

floppy wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:31 pm
mommyNg wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:16 pm

On the whole, I applaud this move to replace streaming into Normal and Express in secondary schools by full subject-based banding, to reduce stigmatism and to encourage more integration between students from different background and academic ability. :rahrah:

MOE would still need to iron out the implementation details though, such as having sufficient school/teacher resources to cater to dynamic demands, cut-off points (if any) to decide which subjects to take at G1, G2, and G3 level, the new "name" to replace N and O levels, the entry criteria to various paths such as NITEC, Poly, and JCs, etc. But I believe the change is in the right direction.... :smile:
The devil is, as always, in the details.

“encourage more integration between students from different background and academic ability”
- only true to a certain extent: integration only happen if the sec school offers all 3 (or even 2) streams. And as we all know, the top tier schools only offer 1 stream :wink:
The skeptic in me says, the commoners are welcome to integrate among themselves, while the elite stays in their fenced enclosure :evil:
Well, at least for current schools that are already offering at least 2 streams, this is a good move. It is true to a certain extent that students in the N level class are looked upon differently by students in the O level class from the same school.... at least from the personal anecdotes that I heard...

Maybe we should kill off the GEP programme in primary schools and do similar subject-banding (e.g., pull-out classes) for them (primary school students) too, then the elite would have to get out their fenced enclosure and integrate with the commoners :evil:

janet88
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Re: Express or Normal Academic

Post by janet88 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:07 pm

the worse is when teachers see NA students as incapable of going further.
I'm ok kids take a longer time if they are slow...but when students are demoralised because of the teachers' attitude towards them, it hurts their self-esteem badly.

marsilingmom
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Re: Express or Normal Academic

Post by marsilingmom » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:18 pm

Any mention of which schools will be piloting this next year?


sky minecrafter
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Re: Express or Normal Academic

Post by sky minecrafter » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:36 pm

@mks. mommyNg's sharing: seccondary subject-based banding Y2024. Ours - pioneers!

floppy
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Re: Express or Normal Academic

Post by floppy » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:47 pm

Given that my kid is going to be the pioneering batch, the details that I am most interested in are the COP / criterias for JC / ITE / Polys. As the subjects are structured into G1, G2 and G3, I suspect it’s going to be some kind of Ranking Points system, with G2 or G3 subjects as pre-requisites for some poly or JC courses. Therein lies the real challenge.

Assuming the current COP is maintained - there is really no way for the ‘new normal’ students to make up for lost ground if they aspire to qualify for some JC. Under SBB, they can do their O Levels in 2 years - the stronger subjects in sec 4 as part of O Level exam, and the weaker ones in sec 5, ie one extra year to focus and improve.

Furthermore, if a ranking point system is used (how else to sort them out?), weaker students would probably have to take on a number of G3 subjects to ensure that their max scores are good / high enough to get to JC or their preferred course in Poly. How beneficial could that be? And how different is it from current NT stream when the students are told that their max points cannot meet the COP for poly courses no matter how well they do?

Lastly, with the current PFP, Normal students actually have an advantage over their O Level counterparts. They can qualify for some courses using N Level scores. With the new system, how else are they going to stand out? Since it’s a mixed bag, polys are unlikely to be able to set aside places for them. Forcing these students to compete with stronger students in the same year will inevitably result in many popular poly courses to be closed to them.

Like I said, the devil is in the details. I shall wait with bated breath :laugh:

MrsKiasu
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Re: Express or Normal Academic

Post by MrsKiasu » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:55 pm

sky minecrafter wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:36 pm
@mks. mommyNg's sharing: seccondary subject-based banding Y2024. Ours - pioneers!
Sky, hope it is not too complicated..hope I didnt understand wrongly..would the weaker ones need to chase till panting arh or subject based banding means still go by own capability level..and O level over 2 years? How arh, take few stronger subjects in Y4 and the bal in Y5 arh..wah this one I dont mind..can relax abit..

mommyNg
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Re: Express or Normal Academic

Post by mommyNg » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:01 pm

More on this:

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/ ... reaming-is

Looks like they will still use PSLE scores to decide which "band" you will be in Sec 1 (mostly G1, G2 or G3), then based on Sec 1's performance you can then choose to take higher level classes (G2/G3)? And refinements to the admission criteria for JCs, Polytechnics and the ITE will be announced separately later....

@mks, no more 5th year.. all will go through a four-year curriculum, for all subject bands.

"At the end of Sec 4, in 2027, these students will attain the common certificate with various subject permutations - six G3 subjects and one G2 subject, or five G3 and two G2, or two G3, three G2 and one G1, and so on," said Mr Ong.

"This will require us to undertake a review of our post-secondary posting system, so that students taking a combination of G1, G2 and G3 subjects, can be fairly considered for ITE, polytechnic and JCs. Our review will recognise students' particular strengths that make them suitable for specific post-secondary courses."

As 2024 is a few years away, Mr Ong said the ministry will use this time to undertake this review.

MOE will also explore other alternatives to a fifth year in secondary schools, which may be like the Polytechnic Foundation Programme which helps students who have completed their secondary education enter polytechnics or JCs.


Edgefield Secondary is one of the schools that piloted the subject-based banding in the school -
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/ ... ts-in-same

floppy
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Re: Express or Normal Academic

Post by floppy » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:07 pm

MrsKiasu wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:55 pm
sky minecrafter wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:36 pm
@mks. mommyNg's sharing: seccondary subject-based banding Y2024. Ours - pioneers!
Sky, hope it is not too complicated..hope I didnt understand wrongly..would the weaker ones need to chase till panting arh or subject based banding means still go by own capability level..and O level over 2 years? How arh, take few stronger subjects in Y4 and the bal in Y5 arh..wah this one I dont mind..can relax abit..
No mention of sec 5. From readings so far, doesn’t seem there will be one. Since it’s standardized into a single certification framework, if you allow a student who cleared G2 to move to G3, it can also be argued that a student should be allowed to move from G1 to G2, then G2 to G3 (ie 6 years).

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