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*StarDust* 18th September 2012 08:30 AM

MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped

MP Hri Kumar says he would support ceasing exam as long as alternative can be agreed on

by Amanda Lee
04:45 AM Sep 18, 2012


SINGAPORE - As the "national conversation" gets underway, education - an issue close to many Singaporeans' hearts - has quickly emerged as a hot topic. And the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), for so long a rite of passage for children here, has come under the spotlight again, as a Member of Parliament renewed calls for it to be scrapped.

"I am all for slaying the PSLE sacred cow. But we need to first agree on an alternative way of deciding who goes to which secondary school, other than by way of a common exam," Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Hri Kumar wrote on his blog last Friday.

Mr Hri Kumar, who sits on the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Education, lauded the Ministry of Education's announcements last week to "remove banding, de-emphasise exams and promote non-academic aspects of a child's development", as he put it. But he pointed out that, "so long as a child's PSLE scores determines which secondary school he goes to, and so long as places in 'better' schools are limited", competition and stress are inevitable and parents will also "do what they can to help their kids out-score their peers". "To most, that means tuition," he added.

In May, sociologist and former Nominated MP Paulin Straughan also called for PSLE to be abolished, as a way to reduce stress and encourage young couples to have more children.

Contacted yesterday, Assoc Prof Straughan felt MOE's latest moves provided cold comfort. She reiterated that "there will always be an informal ranking of schools" based on the PSLE cut-off points for entry to the various secondary schools.

Other observers and educators TODAY spoke to were divided on whether the PSLE should stay.

Mrs Jenny Yeo, Principal of Southview Primary School, noted that the exam is "some form of assessment" to pit the educational standards of children here against their peers in other countries. She added that, in general, the situation here should not become one where children are "very relaxed about learning" and "just play all the way to Primary 6".

Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan, who chairs the GPC for Education, reiterated the PSLE's purpose as a placement exam. "No matter how you see it, you cannot run away from the fact that students have differing abilities," said Mr Lim.

Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Low Yen Ling felt the format of the PSLE could be tweaked. For example, 35 per cent of the PSLE could be weighted to regular national assessments at Primary 5 and Primary 6, she said.

She also suggested looking into how non-academic aspects could also be assessed as part of the PSLE score. For example, marks for participation could be given for activities related to national education or community service, she said.

Ms Low also noted that in Finland and New Zealand for instance, children undergo their first major national examination at the age of 16. This allows children the time to develop their interests and a level of maturity so that they can be self-driven in their studies, she said.

Laying out the various possibilities - including "making all secondary schools identical" or giving parents the choice to opt their children out of PSLE - Mr Hri Kumar noted on his blog that "different solutions lend themselves to different issues".

He said: "We can have more "through-train" schools, where students gain entry to affiliated secondary schools without a common exam. Those who wish to compete for a place in the 'better' secondary schools can sit for the PSLE. We could also allow private, independent primary schools to be set up, with graduates eligible to go to private or international secondary schools. But there will be no MOE funding and therefore higher fees, and this option may not be available to all."

He added while it was unlikely to have "absolute consensus", he would "prefer a system that gives parents more choices".

Mr Hri Kumar said that as part of the national conversation, the Government "should think about loosening its grip on education so that Singaporeans can choose for themselves what they want for their own children".

Concurring, Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng said it was "timely" to review the policy of not allowing parents to enrol their children in non-government schools, "even though some parents are more educated and may wanted to make their own choices". The Government could explore opening up a small market segment for private players to provide more options for parents, said Mr Baey.

Source: http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore...to-be-scrapped

id_peace 18th September 2012 09:07 AM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
Before I answer the question of whether I am for or I am against PSLE, let look at the reason why PSLE exist.I had tried to search online but i cannot find any. So i came out my own based on my reading and judgement. It is completely biases

The reason for PSLE is actually a standard exam taken by all students across the country primary school to benchmark the standard of the students and the schools. It had a significant landmark for a student as an obstacle to the next stage of life mentally, physically and emotional.

The pro of having PSLE

1.) It help to firm up a student basic foundation of educations to prepare them for the future education that they will receive ahead in the future.

2.) It really help a student to understand exactly where they stand against their peers at the national level. Being the first major obstacle in life, it really help a student to wake up from their idea if they had perform badly. It is better to correct their mistake now than when they faced with their face major obstacles at 16 instead.

3.) The system provided several tiers of secondary schools with each having their own ways of teaching for the students that they had based on the score of the students.

The cons

1.) It had created pressure for the students to excel try and excel at such a young age and that it will died off creativity with childhood.

2.) Major exam at this early age really count for nothing as they are still very unstable due to the young age. They may do well now and may not do well at 16 and vice versa. It will form an early condemnation of the students that does not do well.

3.) It is an outdated system that should be abolish much earlier.

With the pros and cons listed out, my biases judgement will be I support PSLE to continue with the following reasons.

1.) It is a major obstacles at young age that all kids should go through. It will help to build their mentalities and also characters through this major obstacle. It is a landmark for transition to secondary school.

2.) Students been students at young age will not take exams seriously if they scrap the PSLE. The students will not even bother much. I know i would not if they told me PSLE is scrapped when i am young. It will give the students a weak foundation for their futures.

3.) The educators need to know where all the students stand so that they could batch togather to control the pace of the classes to prevent situations where a class will be bored for a smart student and too fast for a slow student.

4.) Any major shock at this stage will help to wake a student up and any major good score will booster a student confidence that they can do well if they want to.

Conclusion: Unless they can come out with a competent system that would rival the PSLE, I would support PSLE based on the above reasons.

workingtoohard 18th September 2012 09:15 AM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
just use the same system on how kids enter primary school? balloting? a student's knowledge of the subject can still be tested in portions via final exams, just like how tertiary schools do. grades are still given, and if you don't do well, you have to retake it. don't need a huge cumulative one.

*StarDust* 18th September 2012 09:18 AM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
I had added a poll to this thread. Please give your votes and support your votes.

JetGrey 18th September 2012 11:55 PM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
It should not be scrapped. But it should be made slightly easier, in particular the Maths paper. Compare the PSLE Maths papers from this year and from one in 2000, you can see a HUGE difference. It should be a test of the basic mathematical skills that are required in sec sch, not a test of critical thinking.

Prototype445 18th September 2012 11:57 PM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
If PSLE were to be abolished, no doubt there would be negative consequences and such but one good thing that can come out of it is that it will encourage people to have at least an N-level or O-level cert after graduation. Let's be practical here, nobody can survive solely based on a PSLE cert today especially in such a country which relies on the population as resources.

*StarDust* 20th September 2012 09:12 AM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Prototype445 (Post 4688563)
If PSLE were to be abolished, no doubt there would be negative consequences and such but one good thing that can come out of it is that it will encourage people to have at least an N-level or O-level cert after graduation. Let's be practical here, nobody can survive solely based on a PSLE cert today especially in such a country which relies on the population as resources.

Yes, we had done passed the age where it used to be that Singaporeans were illiterate.

typeX 20th September 2012 12:45 PM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
PSLE should be scrapped in instead the curriculum should be revised to provide equal standards among primary schools.
Upper pri to early secondary is where kids brains develop the most, and the things they are exposed to have a huge impact on their brain development for the rest of their lives.
Primary school is too early to tell kids that they are wrong.

SkyedAngel 20th September 2012 01:51 PM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
If instead of PSLE, balloting is used instead there won't be such things as elite sec schools liao. :qmarksmile:

Prototype445 20th September 2012 02:32 PM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SkyedAngel (Post 4689760)
If instead of PSLE, balloting is used instead there won't be such things as elite sec schools liao. :qmarksmile:

So isn't that a good thing?

SkyedAngel 20th September 2012 02:34 PM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Prototype445 (Post 4689787)
So isn't that a good thing?

I suppose :qmarksmile: Doesn't apply to me anyway, graduating from sec school end of this year.

*StarDust* 20th September 2012 03:39 PM

Regular assessment instead of PSLE
 
Regular assessment instead of PSLE

From Theresa Tan Leng Leng
Updated 11:16 PM Sep 19, 2012


I refer to the report "MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped" (Sept 18), and applaud the support and suggestions by the Members of Parliament cited.

I suggest the Ministry of Education (MOE) consider developing frequent assessments rather than examinations during the academic year for our primary schoolchildren.

The assessments could be conducted up to three times a year covering not only the academic subjects but also sports, music, drama, National Education, social studies, home economics, technology and so on, to identify the strengths and weaknesses of students while providing a well-rounded education.

Under this proposed system, the curriculum in sports, music, home economics, technology and drama could be more diversified. For example, children could be exposed to a greater number of sports without having to go through a selection process, while those deemed more competent could proceed to join teams representing the schools. This would allow for the early identification and development of budding artists, chefs, fashion designers, computer wizards, musicians and sportsmen.

Singapore has also developed into a global city where people of different nationalities live and work permanently or temporarily, while many Singaporeans live in and out of Singapore due to job postings and investments.

As such, children who often travel with their parents require a less disruptive education that does not take too long to adapt to.

Moreover, there are parents who can afford and prefer to enrol their children in private schools or international schools.

By breaking up the assessment periods, returning Singaporean students and foreign students could easily join a local school without much distress and catching up to do.

I hope that the MOE and all Singaporeans will support a truly inclusive education system to develop our children into positive-thinking and self-motivated learners for life.

Source: http://www.todayonline.com/Voices/ED...nstead-of-PSLE

id_peace 20th September 2012 07:26 PM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SkyedAngel (Post 4689791)
I suppose :qmarksmile: Doesn't apply to me anyway, graduating from sec school end of this year.

:rolleyess: If i married very very young, my kid will be as old as you. :qmarkconfused:

BlackFly 20th September 2012 07:34 PM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
No. But let the Normal technical students have the chance for O levels

xiaoming01 20th September 2012 07:43 PM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
our system is too focus on academic result that many kids' childhood is just about studying, tuition and exam. how many kids will get another chance to take O level after they are in technical stream? its time for our education system to have a revamp and i support this

typeX 20th September 2012 07:45 PM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Prototype445 (Post 4689787)
So isn't that a good thing?

not to some I guess..

some people need that to feel superior ahead of others because they have nothing else to feel special about. :(

Prototype445 20th September 2012 07:47 PM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by typeX (Post 4690027)
not to some I guess..

some people need that to feel superior ahead of others because they have nothing else to feel special about. :(

Well those are the people who only focus on academics and truth be told, it WILL NOT get them far in life. life is more than just study, grades and prestige. A life like that is a meaningless one

typeX 20th September 2012 08:21 PM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
worth a watch


Prototype445 20th September 2012 08:28 PM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by typeX (Post 4690067)

Thanks for sharing the video
It was really eye-opening
Now let's push for this to MOE We need diversification

swordfish00 20th September 2012 08:47 PM

Re: MP echoes calls for PSLE to be scrapped
 
I think it's elite schools are okay, as long as the elitism is managed. There's a very distinct line in between being elite and being elitist. There's a reason why secondary schools (and classes within cohorts in primary schools) differ in terms of academic standards - if all its students are of a similar academic standard, it's a lot easier to handle the curriculum etc. teaching matters.

I think it's more important for people to change their results-oriented mindset. Why do people think that students from elite schools are superior? Maybe they do get prettier report cards but that doesn't make them a better person! Lots of people (including those from non-elite schools) think so though.

Okay that was a bit off point. Anyway I think PSLE shouldn't be scrapped just because they can be a wake-up call for kids (twelve years old, it's time they grow up) but it would be good if (as suggested in the article) school results from P5 and P6 are slightly factored in also, plus more de-emphasizing of exams.

Again some digression - last night I was helping my little brother with his PSLE math practice paper. One 5 mark question seriously was a test of critical thinking - not the standard type found in workbooks... took me 20 mins to solve (okay, I'm outta practice) and turns out it's a -really- easy 2-step answer. It just takes 'seeing' the solution from the diagram which I think most P6 kids probably can't under exam conditions. These kind of questions are probably why parents (and students) complain about the papers being 'too hard', but don't these questions really sort kids out based on ability? Which is the purpose of exams...


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