Singapore Cuts Number Of Exams For Students To Avoid 'Competitive Learning'

The Minister of Education says there should be "less emphasis" on academic results.

Cover image via The Straits Times

Singapore's Ministry of Education (MOE) has announced big changes to the overall curriculum structure for both primary and secondary students

The upcoming changes were announced earlier today, 28 September, reported Channel News Asia.

Singapore's education system is arguably one of the best in the world.

In the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests, its students took first rank in all three categories of reading, mathematics, and science.

Starting from 2019 onwards, the Ministry will remove weighted assessments and mid-year exams for certain levels of education

All weighted assessments and exams will be removed for Primary 1 and 2 students.

According to the MOE press release, weighted assessments take on various modes such as class tests, quizzes, presentations, and group projects.

Mid-year examinations will also be removed for Secondary 1 students from next year onwards, while Primary 3, Primary 5, and Secondary 3 will follow in the three years after.

Additionally, some particulars from the report book will be struck out to better support students' learning progress

An example of changes that will be made to the Holistic Development Profile (HDP).

Image via The Straits Times

The Holistic Development Profile (HDP) will no longer list academic indicators such as:
- class positions,
- level positions,
- minimum and maximum marks,
- mean subject grades, and
- overall total marks scored.

Subjects with failed marks will also no longer be underlined or coloured to mark its difference.

Singapore's MOE said the reasoning behind the removal of these indicators "help students to focus on their learning progress and discourage excessive peer comparisons", reported Channel News Asia.

Singapore Education Minister Ong Ye Kung told school leaders that the change was necessary to help young children understand that "learning is not a competition"

Singapore Education Minister Ong Ye Kung.

Image via Kelvin Chng/The Straits Times

"I know that 'coming in first or second', in class or level, has traditionally been a proud recognition of a student's achievement," Ong said, as reported by The Straits Times.

"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."

Meanwhile in Malaysia, here are some things Dr Maszlee Malik has done since taking over the Education portfolio: