Fine-tune streaming process

To improve the system, we must realise that besides level of intelligence, there are other factors affecting the academic performance of students, says this forum contributor.
To improve the system, we must realise that besides level of intelligence, there are other factors affecting the academic performance of students, says this forum contributor. PHOTO: ST FILE

The streaming process in our education system should be retained to cater to students learning at different speeds.

However, I believe it should be fine-tuned to benefit more students (Make streaming process at school more fluid, by Madam Lily Ong, Feb 26).

Currently, only the two extreme ends of each cohort benefit from the concept most significantly.

Our top A-level students in overseas universities outshine students from more developed countries because our education system provides them with the opportunity to stretch their potential to the maximum at every stage of their school life.

On the other hand, streaming allows the slow learners in each cohort to complete their education at a slower pace.

To improve the system, we must realise that besides level of intelligence, there are other factors affecting the academic performance of students.

One factor is a student's command of the English language.

Students with a poor command of the language will not fully comprehend lessons in class, no matter how intelligent, attentive or hardworking they may be.

Similarly, they might fail to interpret examination questions correctly.

In addition, with insufficient vocabulary and poor sentence structure, they might be unable to express their ideas accurately. Marks cannot be awarded for such answers.

Such students should be streamed into a class that places more emphasis on strengthening their language skills rather than having content-heavy lessons in the early years of their school life.

With hard work, there will not be a problem for them to catch up with the curriculum.

Other factors include poor attitude towards studies and lack of attention during lessons.

Similar streams catering to these specific needs can be formed.

It is desirable if parents do not feel that it is the duty of teachers to see to the needs of all the different types of students.

Otherwise, they will not receive sincere feedback or be able to adopt effective solutions to help their child improve.

Yeo Boon Eng (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2019, with the headline 'Fine-tune streaming process'. Print Edition | Subscribe