Tackle issue of mobility among streams

The lack of mobility among streams is the problem we need to solve if we want to narrow the social divide.
The lack of mobility among streams is the problem we need to solve if we want to narrow the social divide.PHOTO: ST FILE

Abolishing streaming is unlikely to eradicate social mobility issues (Scrap streaming in secondary schools: Louis Ng, Feb 28).

Streaming does not cause the social divide. It just highlights it.

MP Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) said that a student from the Normal (Technical) stream has a "less than 1 per cent chance of moving to the Express stream".

The lack of mobility among streams is the problem we need to solve if we want to narrow the social divide.

How can we support children from lower-income families who do not have the same access to time, money and parental attention?

One way, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, is to be aware that students from lower-income backgrounds have particularly high levels of stress and performance anxiety caused by fear of rejection when taking tests that emphasise rank and status.

This is known as "rejection sensitivity".

It directly impacts their ability to perform academically because their negative emotions hijack their ability to think straight.

The study showed that by providing help to these students to address their worries and channel their anxiety into something positive, the test score's failure rate was halved.

Maybe the answer lies in putting more into professional development to equip our educators with knowledge and tools for impactful ground-up gains.

Priscilla Ang Ee Lin (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2019, with the headline 'Tackle issue of mobility among streams'. Print Edition | Subscribe