5 key changes to exams and assessments in schools

The Ministry of Education has announced several changes to move away from the narrow focus on examinations and grades and help students discover the joy of learning. PHOTO: ST FILE

The Ministry of Education on Friday (Sept 28) announced several changes to encourage schools, teachers, students and parents to move away from focusing too much on examinations and grades, and to help students to discover the joy of learning.

The five changes are:

1. From next year, all assessments and exams for Primary 1 and 2 pupils will be removed. Teachers will continue using bite-sized forms of assessments like quizzes to gauge their pupils' learning but they will not be taken into account, as there will be no grades.

Currently, Primary 1 pupils do not have exams, but weighted assessments - which make up the final grade - are conducted throughout the year. Primary 2 pupils now have weighted assessments throughout the year, as well as a year-end exam.

2. Secondary 1 students will also no longer have a mid-year exam from next year. From 2020 and 2021, this will also apply to Primary 3, Primary 5 and Sec 3 students. The aim is to free up more time for students during these transition years to adjust to the increased curriculum demands, such as taking on new subjects.

3. The MOE will set guidelines for schools so that there should be only one class test per subject per term that can be counted towards the year-end score. In addition, teachers will use assessment tools such as worksheets, class work and homework to gauge students' learning progress.

4. Report books will from next year no longer show a student's position in relation to class or cohort, to allow each student to focus on his or her learning progress and discourage them from being overly concerned with comparisons. Failing marks will also not be highlighted, and other academic indicators like students' L1R5 (English plus five relevant subjects) or L1R4 score will not be reflected for the lower secondary levels.

5. With the removal of grades at Primary 1 and 2, the MOE will adjust the academic criteria for Edusave awards. Instead, the awards will recognise the pupils' attitudes to learning, such as diligence, curiosity, collaboration and enthusiasm.

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