All About GEP

Academic support and discussions for GEP

GEP screening test? Go or no Go

Poll ended at Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:26 pm

Must Go
7
35%
Can Try
11
55%
Don't Go
2
10%
 
Total votes : 20

All About GEP

Postby ChiefKiasu » Thu Oct 18, 2007 11:27 pm

There is an ongoing debate in the ST Forums regarding the Gifted Education Programme (GEP) in Singapore. In a nutshell, the GEP selects 1% of the entire Primary 3 cohort of 9 year old children to be streamed into a special group which undergoes special attention and training from Primary 4 to Secondary 4.

To the creators, GEP is a means to ensure that gifted children are identified and nurtured from a very young age to maximize their potential.

To detractors, GEP is yet another of the highly efficient government machinery programmed to make judgement on children at a very young age to compute their estimated potential which will then determine the progression of the person regardless of what they do.

While the current debate rages over the question of whether parents should send their pre-school kids for GEP preparatory classes which are little disguised as enrichment courses, I would like to put forth my concern regarding the mechanics by which the educators are trying to implement their ideas.

I am not against identifying and paying special attention to young geniuses, or sending pre-school children for "brain training" to maximize their chance of getting into GEP. What I am against is the manner by which the programme has captured the imagination of parents such that it has become the epitome of success for their children. The GEP has become coveted as an elite status, such that some parents pressure their children to go for it even though they are obviously not so "gifted". They feel that by spending thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in preparatory courses, they can enhance the chance of their children succeeding. That set the stage for some major disappointment and loss of confidence in children, which is tragic for young children.

I am reminded of the movie Gattaca, which presents a bleak future where babies can be custom-built to the parents' specifications (you want a rocket scientist or an athlete?). Every baby, custom-built or natural born, are also given a life expectancy... and a rating of what he SHOULD BE. The main character was given a life expectancy of 30 odd years old and could not find any job other than that of a janitor. The story tells of how the human spirit helped him overcome the glass ceilings that put him in his supposed class and excel in a society that has already written him off from the moment he was born.

While not so extreme, our current educational system does classify and put students "in their right place"... not just once, but time and again, and at increasingly younger ages. This is done in the name of meritocracy, so that students can learn "at their right pace". I suppose this is better than that of the Hindu caste system or the feudal lord and serf system; that is, since one still can change his fate by being able to mark the right dots on the right answer sheet at the right time. Instead of spending the rest of his life blaming his parents for being born a commoner, he can spend his time blaming himself for being, um, not so "gifted".

So the root of the problem lies in the formalising of the programme. While the intent is clear, most parents only see the GEP as yet another of the multitudes of streaming exercises their children have to go through in their 10 years of school life. So it is GEP -> Express -> Normal -> Subnormal -> Hopeless... etc. And parents, being kiasu for their children, will do all it takes for their children to get into the best streams and classes. Can we really blame them?

So I say we should either abolish the GEP, or dilute it to a nascent and continuous activity where teachers get to identify and recommend those in their classes for special attention. And reduce the programme to something like 0.001% or not more than 30 students. I can't imagine a population having 1% of geniuses every year. That should really make the programme focus on what it should be doing - on the natural born geniuses.
Last edited by ChiefKiasu on Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:12 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby super_dad » Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:01 pm

I think there are merits to both side of the arguement. If you view at it from a numbers point of view, it is a methodical way of ensuring best use of resource. But if you view it from an individual point of view, some of the "not so clear cut" case will lose out and be disadvantage by the whole scheme of things.

At of the day, the individual have to fight for themselves, with the help of their parents (likely non-kiasu ones). Being in Gifted programme, doesn't necessary mean a brighter and more fulfilling future.
Depending on what you want to achieve in life.

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Postby ChiefKiasu » Thu Jan 03, 2008 5:31 pm

I think there is hope yet. The MoE has already removed the EM1-EM3 streaming a couple of years back. I hope the powers are now working on doing the same for the GEP.

Give our children a break. Let us not label them at such a young age before they even realize what it means to be labeled as such.

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Postby lizawa » Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:46 am

The fact is, EM1 - EM3 streaming is removed at the National level. The schools still stream the children. They have merged the EM1 / EM2 stream into what they call "Merged stream". So there are classes where students will be 5S (5 subjects, including Higher Mother Tongue). The other classes will do the normal 4S.

The weakest students will do some subjects at a foundation level, but they can choose to do their stronger subjects at the same level as the merged stream. So some flexibility is introduced for this group. But again, this is dependent on the school's resources and time tabling.

If I am correct, the GEP at secondary level has been removed. Most of the GEP secondary schools are now having Integrated Programmes. So they don't follow the MOE GEP programme anymore.

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To take or Not to take GEP screening test

Postby ck123 » Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:26 pm

[Moderator's note: Topics merged.]

Hi

Trying to get information from the experts here.

Should we let our kids take the GEP screening?

Went to my son school and heard parents debating on this topic so I think is good to hear from this forum. Pro and Cons?

Thanks

ck123
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Re: To take or Not to take GEP screening test

Postby ChiefKiasu » Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:57 pm

ck123 wrote:Hi

Trying to get information from the experts here.

Should we let our kids take the GEP screening?

Went to my son school and heard parents debating on this topic so I think is good to hear from this forum. Pro and Cons?

Thanks


In general, most parents feel that it being admitted to the GEP is an honor, since it means their children are amongst the "top 1%" in the nation, at least in terms of English, Math, and IQ mastery.

There are several camps of thought here.

There are those with genuinely gifted children who feel that the GEP can help their children further their talents. In fact, they wish that GEP testing can be done to identify their children earlier so that they can start the education earlier.

There are those with bright kids who are not sure if their children are "gifted" or "just hardworking". Failing to qualify for the GEP might create a permanent loss of self-esteem for these children even though they have been performing well in school. I think this group of students have the most to lose from the testing.

There are those who wonder why they need someone to test their children and tell them if they are gifted or not based on an arbitrary set of criteria.

And of course, there are those that ask, "why not? Free wan wat. Just try for fun lor."

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Postby BlueBells » Wed Aug 06, 2008 10:03 am

Taking the GEP test is fine. The problem arise after the test. If she is not gifted, no issue. If she is gifted, then what? Do you take her out of her current school so that she attends a GEP school, and start all over again, or leave her where she is currently happy and learning fine? The emotional stress can be quite high for a new kid in the class, trying to fit it, to make new friends, new syllabus, new environment, etc. .

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Postby wswslim » Wed Aug 06, 2008 11:17 am

Who to go about conduct GEP Test?

Where is the venue, pls advise.

Cheers,
WS

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Postby gifted » Wed Aug 06, 2008 1:38 pm

Hi ck123,

wats your decision then, to let your son try or not?? wats your view toward the screening??
:wink:

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Postby ck123 » Thu Aug 07, 2008 11:29 am

Hi gifted,

Personally I hope he can take and at least know what is GEP (so that next time he can tell his children ... too far right :lol: :lol: :lol: )

I was discussing with my son when he brought back the notice from school, he was asking me what would it be like in the GEP, so I started saying first round testing english and maths and 2nd round maths , english and general paper. He asked what is general paper? I answered should be testing general views and creativity. So he answer me " I am creative cause my classmates always find my ideas interesting!" Then I said but you must go through the first round which will be slightly more difficult than school exams. He answered "then I am not going."

So what should I do? :roll:

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