In Singapore, major examinations have been a mainstay in our academic system from Primary 1 all the way up to tertiary levels. No doubt that examinations is the most common method to assess a student’s ability or knowledge in a particular subject at a particular level, but is it the most effective way to grade our young ones based on these twice yearly major exams?
Many different ways of assessing students’ learning progress and grasp of concepts accurately have been brought forward by academics over the years. Feedback have also been given from parents, pupils and educators regarding the “over-emphasis” on major examinations. As the education system and the way people view raw test scores from examinations evolves, there is therefore a need for us to explore and design new assessment tools that complements holistic learning. A good way to start is from the Primary 1 level where students transit from kindergardens to their first step of formal education in schools. And this is exactly what the MOE is currently embarking on by doing away with Primary 1 examinations in sixteen “testbed” schools.
Holistic development is especially important in a child’s formative years which generally is during her time in a Primary School. Under a less stressful environment, students can develop communication skills, learn to freely express their creativity and explore different areas of interest that they might have not discovered. The focus is much more on learning, developing and exploring which are beneficial instead of being bogged down by the pressure to score in major examinations at the beginning of a child’s formal education.
On the other hand, as a parent you could also be concerned about whether is there sufficient time for the child to prepare for PSLE. Also, with a change in learning environment, pedagogies that are suitable for holistic learning and assessment have to evolve too. Educators, both teachers and tutors alike will have to adapt to the change in order to bring the initiative forward. And this takes time too, which is a challenge.
What do you think? Should more schools follow in doing away Primary 1 major examinations? Share with us your view by taking part in the poll below!