Don't let 'qualitative descriptors' become euphemisms for exams

I refer to the article, "Schools to cut mid-year exams for some levels; Primary 1 and 2 pupils will not get graded or ranked" (Sept 28).

My daughter started Primary 1 this year, in what some would call a prestigious school.

I was taken aback by the number of weighted assessments and their range - from oral tests, listening comprehension and writing tests to proper test papers.

While I acknowledge that there is purpose behind some weighted assessments, I wonder if the Singapore education system has developed into a grades-chasing race for students (and parents).

While I applaud the Ministry of Education (MOE) for implementing the long-awaited changes to the Singapore education system and for moving away from a results-and-grades-oriented system, I do hope that the MOE will give careful thought to the "qualitative descriptors" that will be used to report pupils' learning progress.

It would be a travesty if pupils ended up being drilled by the schools to achieve these so-called qualitative descriptors. These would then just become euphemisms for assessments and exams.

Aw Wen Ni (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2018, with the headline 'Don't let 'qualitative descriptors' become euphemisms for exams'. Print Edition | Subscribe