Because of a decision made by the Ministry of Education (MOE), there have been no Mid-Year Examinations (MYE) for the last three years.
This decision aims to alleviate the students’ and teachers’ stress and some schools are already moving on to allowing their students to explore and develop new skills while taking the extra time to space out the students’ learning.
But is it all as good as it sounds? With the End-of-Year Examinations (EOYs) still being a weighted assessment, has the removal of MYEs made them have even higher stakes?
What’s Been Going On
This may be old news but for those (like myself) who don’t know, Primary 1 and 2 students have no more tests or exams and aren’t given grades.
Mid-Year Examinations (MYE) which are weighted examinations have been removed for Primary 3, Primary 5, Secondary 1 and Secondary 3 students, and some schools have already removed MYEs for the other levels.
Streaming (dividing students between Normal Technical (NT), Normal Academic (NA) and Express streams) is also being phased out.
What’s being put in its place is Subject-Based Banding, where students can study different subjects at different levels based on their aptitudes. Students still have to go through EOYs, but they won’t all be tested at the same difficulty during these weighted assessments.
Parents Now More Stressed
The removal of exams, which some have deemed a security blanket for Singaporeans, has a number of parents more stressed than ever.
How are they going to keep tabs on their child’s academic development without exams and results? Making learning fun and giving students a more stress-free life is good for their well-being and for their future, but it’s not really concrete, is it?
Some parents raised concerns that without the MYEs, the EOYs would have even higher stakes, putting more pressure on students in the second half of the year.
A number of parents stressed by the new lack of exams have decided to send their children to tuition centres or request more tutoring, and some tuition centres have seen an increase in enrolment since the changes were announced.
Teachers have more time to pace students’ education and make sure they fully understand what they’re learning, now that they don’t have to rush revision and new topics for the MYEs!
Students are less stressed because they have one less exam and they can focus properly on learning instead of getting good results. The ways that teachers are opting to teach them are increasingly creative as well.
An example of this is Hua Yi Secondary School, where they have a Learning Festival that was extended to five days after the announcement. Students can demonstrate their knowledge in robotics, learn sand art animation and wushu among other activities.
By shifting the focus to learning instead of getting good grades, students also feel less of a need to compete with each other.
With the extra curriculum time and subject banding, students can feel more at ease as they’re allowed to learn at their own pace.
Teachers will be teaching students more 21st-century competencies and more soft skills like adaptability and the ability to deal with failure, which will help them manage stress in the future or when it comes to their EOYs.
Students are being allowed to learn at their own pace and in a way that’s engaging for them. Teachers are also getting some breathing room now that they don’t have to constantly mark exam scripts.
Hopefully this will help further enrich students’ lives both inside and outside of school!