Some students fail to thrive on Integrated Programme scheme

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Some students fail to thrive on Integrated Programme scheme

Postby FanFanX » Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:38 pm

Some students fail to thrive on Integrated Programme scheme

Some transfer to polys or other JCs, others do poorly in A levels
Published on Dec 22, 2011

By Sandra Davie, Senior Writer
As about 3,000 students on Wednesday celebrated winning a coveted place on the Integrated Programme (IP), others already on the scheme are about to make a quiet exit to the polytechnics and lesser-ranked junior colleges.

Around 5 per cent of IP students exit before graduation, said the Education Ministry. Some transfer to polytechnics or junior colleges not offering the scheme. Of those who complete it, about 5 per cent fail to get into the local universities, the ministry added. Altogether, between 200 and 250 youngsters a year fail to thrive on the programme.

Students on the IP skip the O levels and shoot straight for the A levels or International Baccalaureate. They are expected to learn in an independent way, without being stifled by having to prepare for two major exams in six years.

But this is not necessarily the most desirable route for everyone, said the ministry. Nor is it the only path to success. 'Ultimately, the IP should only be taken up by those who would benefit from the self-directed learning environment it aims to promote,' said a spokesman.


Surprisingly, those who fail to thrive on the IP are not just less academic youngsters who were taken on because of their sporting or co-curricular achievements. Several entered IP schools with Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) scores well above 250, and a handful were from the Gifted Education Programme.

The Straits Times interviewed 40 students who had either left brand-name schools offering the programme - such as Raffles and Hwa Chong Institution - or stayed on but fared poorly.

Some of those who left opted to go to the polytechnics, using their school examination or O-level results. Others transferred to lesser-ranked junior colleges.

Many of those who did badly were unable to get into the local universities, heading instead to private schools such as the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) or overseas to take up degree studies.

Recognising that not all students thrive on the scheme, two IP schools - Dunman High and Hwa Chong - also run O-level classes to prepare students for the examination. They said those lagging behind are identified at the end of Secondary 2 and advised to go into the O-level class. But some students also make the switch to the O-level track in Sec 4 or even JC1.

A few who do well enough in the O levels are admitted back into the JC level in the same school. If not, they are advised to leave for the polytechnics or other JCs.

Raffles Institution said it was looking into starting an O-level class. Principal Lim Lai Cheng said that if this happens, it will be 'to open up options' for those wanting to go to polytechnics or abroad.

The IP started in 2004 at eight schools. It was aimed at the top 10 per cent of students, who were clearly bound for university. The idea was to provide a seamless secondary and junior college education, giving them the space to develop intellectual curiosity and other talents.

The scheme became so popular that pupils and parents clamoured to get on board. More schools responded by offering the IP. In two years' time, 18 of them will be included in the programme, although the latest to join will also be offering the O-level track.

Parents are anxious that there will be even fewer places in top junior colleges for students who are not on the IP but hope to get in after the O levels. Some have turned to tuition centres that promise to help students excel in the PSLE.

Parents who have attended open houses at IP schools say they paint a rosy picture by publicising the stellar results of their IP students. There is no mention of their O-level class, or of those who fail.

Madam Clarissa Lim, who is considering the IP track for her son, said: 'It is only after talking to some parents of the older kids did I realise that a fair number of IP kids actually fall through the cracks.' The 38-year-old added: 'The schools should be more open so that parents will have to think hard about whether the IP suits their children.'

IP students who failed to thrive are divided about the merits of the scheme. One 22-year-old from Raffles Institution, who now studies at SIM, said: 'I didn't do so well in the A levels, but I still won't dismiss the IP as I felt that I gained in other ways. In my degree course at SIM, I am ahead of my classmates when it comes to research or when it comes to analysis.'

The student, who asked not to be named, added: 'In a sense it prepared me for the university well. Ironically it didn't prepare me well for the A levels.'

Others felt the IP had affected their academic progress. 'As far as I am concerned, I wasted one whole year,' said 18-year-old S. Lim, now in Ngee Ann Polytechnic. She had applied to the polytechnic after JC1. On her decision, she said: 'I am really one of those people who need a major exam to hunker down to study.'

The ministry said that for most students, O levels will continue to be the most suitable preparation for post-secondary education. It said this is why all the seven new IP schools will offer this route alongside the elite programme, to allow students to transfer across tracks.

sandra@sph.com.sg

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Re: Some students fail to thrive on Integrated Programme sch

Postby SAHM_TAN » Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:26 pm

wonder did anyone from top 10 percent fail.

wonder among the schools that offered IP, which has the highest pecentage of students who opted out / did not qualify for local uni.

But then again, not everyone who study in JC make it to local uni, so is this news surprising?

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Re: Some students fail to thrive on Integrated Programme sch

Postby SAHM_TAN » Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:41 pm

I'm wondering what's education all about...

what is primary education about?

what is secondary education about?

what's post-secondary education about?

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Re: Some students fail to thrive on Integrated Programme sch

Postby phankao » Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:22 pm

SAHM_TAN wrote:wonder did anyone from top 10 percent fail.

wonder among the schools that offered IP, which has the highest pecentage of students who opted out / did not qualify for local uni.

But then again, not everyone who study in JC make it to local uni, so is this news surprising?


I'm sure there are students from the Top 10% who do not feel suited for the IP too. My elder ds' classmate was one of them. After Year 1, he withdrew from the school himself and went to a neighborhood school. He became the top student there in his 2nd year.

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Re: Some students fail to thrive on Integrated Programme sch

Postby Edureach » Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:35 pm

We all recognise the distinct advantages of being in the IP. All these programmes are there for specific reasons. A fair number of parents would go all out to ensure that their kids can partake in such programmes nevermind if theirs are definately suitable or not.

10% dropout rate is not really alarming though i personally emphatise with their disappointment in such instances. This must also be measured to our top 2nd tier jcs which hve a fall out rate of approx 15%. Remember that 70% of A-level cohort manage to enroll in local unis. Obviously there are many cases of students from top IP schools that failed to enroll in their desire courses vs-a vs many from non-IP which managed to do it. Does it mean that IP is not a guaranteed success route? Ans is yes! Another question, does IP live up to its expectation? My answer is yes if only the student is an independent learner willing to explore, discover interdisciplinary knowledge and above all these has an aptitude of a self-starter.

For those who fall outside the IP or who hve chosen to enroll in top 0-level schools despite being academicallyt qualified, take note that u do not actually lose out. 0-levels which is an intermediate exam trains a student to be self-discipline and an attempt to take this exam actually helps a student to sharpen his exam technicques when moving up to A-levels. Off course many would argue that top IP schools produce the most scholarship recipents and have the most conductive enviroment to achieve a student's aspiration and potential. My answer is not necessary. An analysis of the past 5-yr A-level results show that it is rather difficult to add value in top IP schs. Incidentally, during the last 3 yr period, two of top scholarship holders ie awarded both President and Safos hailed from a top non-IP school. Even RI managed to produce only one during this period and nil from all other IP schools. Off course I must conclude that RI and HCI produce the nation's top scholars in sheer numbers.


My conclusion is top performers may come from a non IP school though top schools hve collectively attract most of the nation's brighest students which largely account for its superior performance.

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Re: Some students fail to thrive on Integrated Programme sch

Postby phankao » Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:38 pm

The key in that article is "self-directed learning". Those that just like to "mug" may not thrive, bc IP programs require more than that.

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Re: Some students fail to thrive on Integrated Programme sch

Postby MandyMummy » Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:45 pm

I think it is impt for the students who are not suitable for IP to find an exit path at some point. But to know when to exit and where to go are not easy.

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Re: Some students fail to thrive on Integrated Programme sch

Postby SAHM_TAN » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:35 pm

What attributes are required / suited for IP, since students from top 10% also opt out? The right T-score gives eligibility but how to decide on suitability?

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Re: Some students fail to thrive on Integrated Programme sch

Postby phankao » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:43 pm

SAHM_TAN wrote:What attributes are required / suited for IP, since students from top 10% also opt out? The right T-score gives eligibility but how to decide on suitability?


If they are mature enough to be working on their own, plan their own schedules, work well with others in a team.

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Re: Some students fail to thrive on Integrated Programme sch

Postby jtoh » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:41 pm

I don't find the information in this article surprising. Not everyone is suited for the IP style of learning, which emphasizes self-directed and independent learning. Top PSLE scorers do not necessarily thrive in an IP setting. Someone who studies very very hard and memorizes facts well can do very well in PSLE.

Secondary school, especially secondary school in an IP setting is a very different ballgame. I've seen top students with scores of 270s flounder in a top IP school. They might have been pushed very hard in primary school, sent to all kinds of tuition centres and forced to study by their parents. When they get to secondary school, they're burnt out. And faced with classmates who are just as bright or even brighter than them, and that they're no longer number one, they lose their confidence and stop trying. Of course such cases are few, but they do exist.

That's why I do not think that having so many new IPs is a good thing. Parents are clamoring to get their kids into IP schools without thinking through if their kids are able to thrive in one. Just like how parents are sending their kids to GEP-grooming classes in the hope that they'll get in without thinking if the programme is suitable for them.

IP is a good programme... for the right kind of students.

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