I have added a poll to see what readers think of this new proposal?
Actually mid-year exams and assessments may have a role as a “buffer” to reduce the weightage of the final exam. Removing mid-year exams actually has the effect of transferring more weightage to the final exam, making it more stressful? It boils down to whether people prefer a grading based on 100% weightage for final year exam, or something like 30% mid-year, 20% assessments and 50% final exams. Based on personal experience, many students (including myself) do prefer having a mid-year exam so that their results of the year is not entirely based on the final exams.
Also, for people who are natural procrastinators, who tend to do things at the last minute (possibly around 90% of the human population?), cancelling exams at the Primary 1 and Primary 2 level may end up causing a false sense of security, leading to a frantic panic attack at Primary 3? As a tutor, I receive numerous tutoring requests as late as September/October (for the final year exam), hence I know that numerous students/parents tend to panic at the last minute due to procrastination.
Possibly a worst case scenario that can end up is that the child does not learn well the fundamentals during P1 and P2, and this is undetected by his/her parents due to the absence of exams. Suddenly at P3, the reality is unveiled and it comes as a sudden shock. The P3 student has to catch up with the two years of fundamentals (P1 & P2) quickly before it is too late, as many subjects are cumulative in the sense that P3 topics relies on previous knowledge of P1 and P2 material.
Nonetheless, it is a new policy and it is good to see some changes coming that is intended to reduce the stress of young students. The time “saved” from doing exams can potentially be channeled into learning something new that is not found in the traditional syllabus. Scrapping the class/level position is good, there is no need to be obsessed with being “first” in class at such a young age. Possibly a percentile grade is still necessary for parents to gauge how their child is doing. Keeping PSLE is also good, despite PSLE being stressful it is actually a meritocratic system that theoretically allows a talented student from a poor family to rise to the top.
Source: Channel News Asia
The changes will be implemented in stages, beginning with the removal of all weighted assessments and exams for Primary 1 and 2 students from next year. Weighted assessments, said MOE, can take various modes such as class tests, presentations or group projects.
Currently, Primary 1 students do not have exams, but weighted assessments are conducted throughout the year. Primary 2 students now have weighted assessments throughout the year, as well as a year-end exam.
Secondary 1 students will also no longer have a mid-year examination from next year. From 2020 and 2021, this will also be removed for Primary 3, Primary 5 and Secondary 3 students.