Another dot in the blogosphere?

Doing the same thing differently

Posted on: May 4, 2021

I wanted so much to find some way to disagree with this opinion piece, New PSLE scoring, cut-off points for secondary school are stressful for parents all the same. But I could not.

We are going to have arguments like this for as long as we have examinations and scoring systems. This is because we are just doing the same thing differently. Some examples from the article:

Schools will scrap mid-year exams permanently for some levels, but it its place are still “weighted assessments” whose grade still counts to a child’s yearly performance. 

Schools may have done away with many scoring awards, but at the least, at the end of each year, the top quintile of each cohort still gets a merit bursary award from their Community Development Councils (CDC).

With some sort of grade or other still in play, the multi-billion dollar tuition industry is unlikely to change. Parents and students will likely still semi-willingly march behind.

All this speaks of mindset. But can we blame generations shaped by schooling policies? 

Consider this:

Layer on the fact that our O-level examination results is stored even in our Singpass –  it sends a dichotomous message: Please, children of Singapore, know that you are not your grade. But by the way, adults, your grades will haunt you for the rest of your life.

What other country in the world has an identification tool that displays your GCE O levels results? Why should your identity and worth be tied to the student that you were at age 16?

I am now more like the person when I got my Ph.D. 15 years ago. Why can’t that be in my Singpass app? Because some policies are more important than people and those ideas move at a glacial pace. The effective appearance is that we are doing the same thing differently.

Photo by Tomu00e1u0161 Malu00edk on

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