askST: Is there a standard guide for schools on assigning work for home-based learning?

During the home-based learning period, teachers are available for consultations remotely should students need them. PHOTO: COURTESY OF YU JIARONG

Q: Some schools seem to be giving their students more work for home-based learning (HBL) than others, according to parents. Is there a standard guide on assigning work?

A: Schools and teachers have the autonomy to decide on the sequencing of topics, pace of coverage and pedagogy to be applied, based on the profile and learning needs of their students. The Ministry of Education (MOE) has given schools an HBL guide and sample plans.

Schools will also provide broad guidance for teachers, including on how to ensure continuity of learning in the planned curriculum and how to calibrate the appropriate learning load for students. Teachers will monitor their students' progress in learning through their HBL participation and assignments completed.

Q: Now that school-based mid-year examinations are cancelled, how will MOE/schools support my child who will be sitting the national examinations (PSLE and N, O and A levels)?

A: Schools will review and adjust their plans to ensure continuity of teaching and learning through HBL.

They will provide adequate and appropriate opportunities (for example, quizzes, practice papers, performance tasks) to assess students' ability to apply their learning across a range of topics or subjects, and to familiarise the students with the national examination requirements.

Teachers will guide, monitor and assess students' learning, plus provide them with feedback for improvement. During the HBL period, teachers are also still available for consultations remotely should students encounter challenges in their lessons and assignments.

Q: If HBL is prolonged, what will happen to exams?

A: For school-based exams, schools will review and adjust their plans to ensure continuity of teaching, learning and assessment through HBL.

For national exams, MOE recognises these are major milestones and will ensure they will proceed as far as possible so that graduating students are not disadvantaged.

Various measures will be taken to lessen the impact of prolonged HBL on students. For example, if curriculum time cannot be fully recovered, certain topics may be removed from the exams, and the marking scheme will take this into account.

MOE said it will also take into consideration the exceptional circumstances when awarding grades to ensure no student is disadvantaged. As of now, national exams will proceed with no adjustments necessary.

Q: How are MOE/schools supporting students' mental well-being?

A: While some students will experience disruption and feel worried, or may also feel a loss of freedom and miss interacting with their friends, teachers will contact them regularly to check in on them. They will refer students to school counsellors when more support is needed.

Students are encouraged to take active steps to maintain their well-being, including keeping to regular routines, taking care of their physical health and maintaining social relationships via technology with their classmates and friends. Students are encouraged to alert a trusted adult if a friend is distressed.

Q: There were teething issues with accessing the Student Learning Space (SLS) during last week's one-day HBL. Is the SLS equipped for full HBL?

A: While most students and teachers were able to access SLS last week, some saw intermittent availability of the system on the morning of the first day of HBL. MOE said it resolved the issue quickly to better manage the rise in user numbers, and added that it will ensure the system remains accessible throughout the full HBL period.


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