New system requires emphasis on mindset change

I am encouraged by the fact that we are trying to reduce the emphasis on academic grades.

I understand that the Ministry of Education is encouraging students to monitor their own progress, using the new Primary School Leaving Examination scoring system, instead of competing against their peers from the same cohort ("New PSLE scoring system to have 8 grade bands"; Thursday).

This shift of focus would be beneficial in helping students focus more on learning from their mistakes and improving themselves.

For the new system to work, there needs to be a mindset change among not just parents but also society itself.

Parents need to show their children that grades are not all that matters.

Students, too, need to know that grades so early in life do not determine their future.

Relatives have a part to play by not asking students about their performance in examinations - they should focus on asking students what they do in school.

School grades should not be a conversation starter for students and adults alike - they should not be the first thing that parents think of when talking to other parents about their children.

It is not a harmless comment when someone asks if a student scored full marks for a test - it's stressful for the student and gives the impression that grades are important and getting good grades is all that matters.

The perception that grades are what defines a person's success needs to change.

The new PSLE system is a step in the right direction but it would require much more time to change the people's mindset.

Tan Shyn Yi (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2016, with the headline 'New system requires emphasis on mindset change'. Print Edition | Subscribe