Using Student Assessment Resultsfor Education Quality and Systems Strengthening CASE STUDYUses of assessment information to support student learning in SINGAPORE YEAP BAN HAR MARSHALL CAVENDISH INSTITUTE ESCHBORN, GERMANY – OCTOBER 25, 2011
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General Overview of Singapore and its Education System Land 700 sq km People 4.7 million
General Overview of Singapore and its Education System GDP per capita in current U.S. dollars 1965 $510 2010 $43 300
General Overview of Singapore and its Education System Students 500 000 Teachers 30 000 Principals & Vice-Principals 900 Schools 173 Primary Schools (Primary 1 – 6) 155 Secondary Schools (Secondary 1 – 4) 13 Junior Colleges (JC 1 – 2) Canossa Convent Primary School 15 Mixed-Level Schools Singapore The data refers to 1-12 school system. Pre-school is not part of the formal education system. The data excludes post-secondary education system which includes institutes of technical education, polytechnics and universities.
Universities National Examination Institutes of Poly Technical technics Junior Education Colleges Integrated National Examination Programmes Secondary Schools National Examination Primary SchoolsA detailed schematic diagram of Singapore‟s education system is available in Education Statistics Digesthttp://www.moe.gov.sg/education/education-statistics-digest/
General Overview of Student Assessment Activities in Singapore National examinations at the end of Grades 6, 10 and 12 are high stakes. G.C.E. Advanced Level Examination International Assessment (Grade 12) Trends in Mathematics & Science Study 1995, 1999, 2003, School Assessment 2007, 2011 G.C.E. Ordinary Level Examination Progress in International (Grade 10) Reading Literacy Study 2001, 2006, 2011 School Assessment Program for International Student Achievement 2009 Primary School Leaving Examination International assessments do not attract much (Grade 6)public attention and has little influence on school assessment. School Assessment School assessment are typically teacher-createdtests and examinations that mirrors the demands of the national examinations.
General Overview of Student Assessment Activities in Singapore Singapore‟s education system aspires to be meritocratic, hence the reliance on national test results. Stake Holders Purpose of Assessment Students and Parents Placement in subsequent stage and scholarships Schools Benchmarking against other schools Government Monitoring achievement of schools, ethnic groups and students from different home background Employers As an indicator of ability of applicants
General Overview of Student Assessment Activities in Singapore Singapore‟s education system is subjected to constant review. PERI (Primary Education Review & Implementation) SERI (Secondary Education Review & Implementation) The reports contain suggestions for improvement in the way assessment is done in Singapore. The review of university education is on-going now and is due to be completed in 2013. 26% of each cohort gains admission to local publicly- funded universities. Presently, national examination results play an important role in university admission.
Focus and Key Questions for this Case Study1. How is national examination information used to support student learning in Singapore?2. How have the uses changed over time?3. What were the mechanisms and drivers that allowed for those changes?
Findings Supporting Student Learning: National Examination There is a close match between the curriculum and national examination. This is due to the consultative relationship between agencies responsible for the curriculum (Ministry of Education) and national examination (Singapore Examination and Assessment Board). This ensures that the intended curriculum is implemented.
Findings Supporting Student Learning: National Examination Example: Mathematical problem solving forms a significant proportion of the national examination because it is the focus of the curriculum framework.
Findings Supporting Student Learning: National Examination Example: Mathematical problem solving forms a significant proportion of the national examination because it is the focus of the curriculum framework. Grade 6 National Examination
Findings Supporting Student Learning: National Examination “Identify areas that the school is underperforming in comparison to [the] national average (based on report given by MOE). Plan and strategize to improve. We also look into when the topic was first introduced and try and close the gap at the root of the problem.” Interview Data Example: 2010 Grade 6 National Examination in Mathematics School National The report also indicates how students in a school X Average performed in specific topics, in comparison to Quality 42.9% 43.3% national data. Pass Such data are used to improve the instructional Pass 79.0% 84.0% programme the following year. For example, School X may pay more attention to struggling students to improve its percentage pass.
PSLEIntegrated Specialised Normal (T)Programme Schools Normal (A) Express O Levels FindingsJunior College Polytechnics ITE A Levels pathway University most suitable learning Supporting Student Learning: National Examination Placement of students in
Findings Supporting Student Learning: Other Assessment LSM and LSP at Primary 1 & 2 Assessment at entry point to formal education determines if a student is given learning support in a small class and „specialist‟ help in core subjects – English language and Mathematics. Foundation Subjects at Primary 5 & 6 and Normal Courses School-based examinations determines if a student will benefit more from content differentiation. The least academically inclined students can study core subjects consisting of fewer topics and take more time. Informal Remedial Lessons Across Levels Typically, twice a year, school-based examinations are used to identify students who need „after-school‟ remedial lessons. Foundation Subjects & Normal Courses Gifted Education Programme Selection Test at Primary 3 Two rounds of tests, the first for every student and the second on invitation, are conducted to selected students for GEP in Primary 4 to Primary 6.
Findings Shifting Landscape in the Use of Assessment From … … toExclusive use of national examination Multiple ways of assessing students.results While national examinations results remain significant, more tools are used now. Example: DSANational examination results used for National examination results used tostudent placement. support learning. Example: Specialised SchoolsSchool-based assessment tended to School-based assessment are moremimic national examination. holistic. Example: Holistic Assessment (HAPpe)School were evaluated mostly on Schools are evaluated on a broad suitenational examination results. of criteria. Example: School Excellence Model
Findings Mechanism & Drivers Within Education Curriculum sets direction (Thinking Schools, Learning Nation) National examination provides the push in the direction Professional development provides teachers with support to move in that direction (Professional Learning Communities) Constant review to refine the system Beyond Education Inter-ministry committees involving key thinkers from the industry Delinking education and politics (Lee, 2007) Public opinions on impact of an examination-oriented society
References http://www.moe.gov.sg/publications/many-pathways/ is a historical account of education in Singapore. http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/education-statistics-digest/ contains Singapore‟s education statistics. http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/syllabuses/ contains curriculum documents. http://seab.gov.sg/ contains examination syllabuses. http://www.primaryeducation.sg/holistic-development-of-your-child/holistic- assessment/ is about holistic assessment that is recommended by a review committee on primary education. http://www.moe.gov.sg/media/press/2009/07/inaugural-international-educat.php is a press release of an International Education Roundtable, during which the Prime Minister made a remark about the need to take politics out of education. http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/admissions/dsa-sec/ provides information on direct school admission, a route that places less emphasis on examination results. http://www.moe.gov.sg/media/press/2010/09/more-pathways-secondary-schools.php provides information on specialised schools for the least academic students in the system.