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THE YCEO: Singapore removes school examination rankings. Says kids are not into competition

“I stand first in the class”, “I stood second”, “me third”….and the rest?

The stigma of being highest OR lowest will be no more in Singapore after the country decides not to label its students for taking positions in class. “learning is not a competition” is the new mantra as the Education Minister Ong Ye Kung describes.

Report books will not just stop showing a student’s position in relation to class or cohort. The information to be dropped includes:

A student’s position is not just one thing to be dropped off the result book, the new list will also for a now show of:

Class and level mean
Minimum and maximum marks
Underlining and/or colouring of failing marks
Pass/fail for end-of-year result
Mean subject grades
Overall total marks
L1R5 (English plus five relevant subjects), L1R4 , EMB3 (English, maths, best three subjects) and EMB1 for lower secondary levels
The new steps taken by The Ministry of Education (MOE) on Friday (Sept 28) are inclined to encourage students to focus on their natural abilities and improve their learning curve instead of being worried about their grades.

The Primary 1 and Primary 2 pupils will also be rid off the examinations altogether and its assessment forms will also exclude the grading.

The MOE revealed the pupil’s learning will be assessed through discussions, quizzes and homework data collected by the teachers.

“Qualitative descriptors” will be new technique to analyze and define a pupil’s progress, replacing the traditional marks and grades system.

The older primary and secondary school students will get rounded off marks in each subject, presented as a whole number excluding decimal points, reducing the academic score as a focal point. Parent-Teacher meeting will be held on regular basis to keep the parents informed about the pupil’s progress.

Mr. Ong addressed some 17,000 students earlier this week and said: I know that ‘coming in first or second’, in class or level, has traditionally been a proud recognition of a student’s achievement. But removing these indicators is for a good reason, so that the child understands from young that learning is not a competition, but a self-discipline they need to master for life.

“Notwithstanding, the report book should still contain some form of yardstick and information to allow students to judge their relative performance, and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.”

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