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     FrontPage Edition: Fri 29 September 2006

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Primary schools to do away with EM3 stream from 2008

Source: www.moe.gov.sg

REFINING HOW WE DELIVER ABILITY-DRIVEN EDUCATION

 
The Ministry of Education and schools will be making refinements to how we deliver ability-driven education in primary schools.
Schools will introduce subject-based banding to replace the current EM3 stream.
There will also be new programmes to provide enriching learning experiences for high-ability students at the primary school level, and to allow for greater integration between Gifted Education Programme (GEP) students with others.
These refinements are being introduced to take us further in providing students with customised and differentiated learning experiences, so as to realise their potential, while enhancing opportunities for interaction among students.
Ability-driven education has been a key feature behind Singapore¨s success in education.
The introduction of streaming in the late 1970s to cater to students with different abilities and learning styles brought drop-out rates down sharply and allowed many more students to stay engaged in their learning.
Various refinements have been made over the years. In recent years, these have included the removal of the distinction between EM1 and EM2 streams, and the integration of EM3 students with other students in their non-academic subjects in most schools.
In secondary schools, more opportunities for Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) students to be transferred across courses or take selective subjects at a more advanced level have also been introduced.
The following further refinements were announced by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Education, at the MOE Work Plan Seminar on 28 Sep 2006.
(A) Subject-Based Banding
Primary schools will introduce Subject-based Banding starting from the 2008 Primary 5 cohort, replacing the current EM3 stream.
With Subject-based Banding, students will be able to offer a mix of Standard or Foundation subjects depending on their aptitude in each subject, rather than have to opt for the EM3 stream comprising the Foundation level for all subjects.
For instance, if a student is weak in English and Mathematics, he can choose to take English and Mathematics at the Foundation level while taking Mother Tongue Language (MTL) and Science at the Standard level.
Schools will work out class and timetabling arrangements that allow students to take separate classes in Foundation subjects while being integrated with other students for the rest of the curriculum.
We expect that many students who would be in the EM3 stream under the current system will be spending about half their curriculum time with the rest of their classmates in their regular classes.
Subject-based Banding would benefit a group of students who under the current arrangement would have been in the EM3 stream, but have specific strengths in one or more subjects1.
Currently, 40% of EM3 students pass at least one subject in their Primary 4 examinations. They would benefit from being given the opportunity to offer these subjects at the Standard level, together with other students taking these subjects.
More.....
1Since 2005, schools have allowed some students to take MTL at the Standard level. With Subject-based Banding, this will allow any subject to be taken at the Standard level.

Source: www.moe.gov.sg Press Release 28 Sep 2006

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