Voices Of Youth

Focus on grades is deep-seated

While it is heartening to see "a country obsessed with grades (try) to transform itself into one obsessed with learning", it is worth noting that changing assessment structures will not necessarily change mindsets (Evolution in Education: Learning to see beyond grades; Oct 7 ).

While the assessment structure will relieve the stress of students at lower primary and secondary levels, students still have to take national examinations. Entrance into top high schools or universities require high entry scores, and is based on pen-and-paper examinations. These examinations hold high weighting, as seen with the O Levels and A Levels.

This meritocratic system, a zero-sum game, brings about the oft-held belief that grades are important. As long as Singapore continues having such examinations and placing emphasis on grades, even if mid-year tests are removed across the board, the deeply ingrained grades-obsessed culture will not be removed for good.

Nadia Lee Jean Wee, 16

Secondary 4 student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2018, with the headline 'Focus on grades is deep-seated'. Print Edition | Subscribe