Mid-year examinations for all primary and secondary school levels will be removed by 2023, announced Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing on Monday (Mar 7).
Speaking in Parliament during his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate, Mr Chan noted that mid-year examinations for Primary 3 and 5 and Secondary 1 and 3 students have been removed over the last few years.
“We saw the positive impact. Schools and teachers can better pace and deepen students’ learning,” he said.
“They use ongoing assessments to identify what students have mastered and the areas they have difficulties with. Students also focus more on their learning and less on marks.”
Removing mid-year examinations for all primary and secondary levels frees up more time for “self-directed learning and developing 21st-century competencies”, said the Education Minister.
Schools can choose to remove the remaining mid-year examinations for some or all of the remaining levels in 2022 if they are “ready to do so”, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) in a separate factsheet.
More than one-third of secondary schools and about one in 14 primary schools have already removed mid-year examinations for Secondary 2 and Primary 4 students respectively, it said.
Schools will continue to conduct a range of assessments, including weighted assessments each term.
The Education Ministry is also reviewing curriculum content and assessment demand, said Mr Chan.
“Any one standard curriculum will necessarily not be able to meet the diverse learning needs of our students,” he added.
“Any average curriculum will necessarily mean that many students will be overstretched while others are under-stretched. Hence, we must have a range of options to cater to our students’ diverse abilities and learning needs.”
DSA TO JC TO BE EXPANDED
MOE will expand the Direct School Admission (DSA) programme for all government and government-aided junior colleges, Mr Chan announced.
These are: Anderson Serangoon Junior College, Anglo-Chinese Junior College, Catholic Junior College, Eunoia Junior College, Jurong Pioneer Junior College, National Junior College, Nanyang Junior College, St. Andrew’s Junior College, Tampines Meridian Junior College, Temasek Junior College, Victoria Junior College and Yishun Innova Junior College.
From the 2022 DSA-JC exercise, these junior colleges can admit up to 20 per cent of their non-Integrated Programme intake through DSA, double of the current 10 per cent.
“This recognises other forms of merit beyond academic grades,” Mr Chan said.
THIRD LANGUAGE AND OVERSEAS PROGRAMMES
A Modular Third Language Programme will be piloted in schools, so that more secondary school students can learn new languages and discover other cultures, said Mr Chan.
Under the programme, students can pick up a third language at different levels, build on their proficiency, and stack modules towards a certificate, he added.
Students can take up a “learning module” at the start of each school semester and “deepen their mastery” in that third language across their secondary school years, said the ministry in the factsheet.
The pilot programme will allow MOE to assess the feasibility of this approach and the level of interest among students, it said.
MOE will also designate Raffles Institution (RI) as the fourth centre for the Elective Programme in Malay Language for Secondary Schools (EMAS) from 2023.
The other centres are Bukit Panjang Government High School, Tanjong Katong Secondary School and Anderson Secondary School.
The EMAS programme supports students with a strong proficiency in Malay through language and cultural activities like local camps and immersion programmes.
This will allow more students to access the programme, and students from other schools may also attend the programme at RI, Mr Chan said.
The Education Ministry also wants every school to have an overseas partnership, he said.
Currently, about two-thirds of schools have established partnerships with overseas counterparts.
“This facilitates more student exchanges, so that students broaden their horizons and learn about different cultures,” said Mr Chan.
“While the exchanges have been virtual for now because of COVID, technology allows our students and their overseas peers to still learn, play and celebrate special occasions together.”
Institutes of higher learning will also continue to work towards the target of having 70 per cent of students with an overseas experience, of which 70 per cent will be in ASEAN countries, China and India, he added.