Benefits of streaming for students
PUPILS from Standard One to Standard Three are not streamed according to their end-of-year examination results when they move to the next higher class.
However, which class they go to in Standard Four depends on their performance in the Standard Three end-of-year examination.
Those who got first to the 30th position in their class would be placed in Standard Four A. Pupils in positions 31 to 60 would be placed in the next class (Standard Four B) and so on.
It is true that when good students are placed together in the same class, they will progress faster as they would not be held back by those who require more learning time and attention from teachers. Mixing bright and slow pupils in the same class benefits neither the former nor the latter.
As most of the pupils in the A class would be highly motivated and do much of their studies on their own, the good teachers should be assigned to the B class and so on to help the slower students. M Ganeshadeva The STAR Opinion Letters 14 December 2016
School exams are stressful but fruitful
ABOLISHING exams is a crazy idea. Are our children becoming soft, lazy and incapable of stress and strain? They must be prepared to be put through the mill so that when they are in a competitive world, they will be able to take the hard knocks. If they can’t, they just fade away. It is a reality of life.
In the field of games, for example, each player plays for six to seven hours daily so as to sharpen his skills and maintain his stamina. It may be badminton, squash, tennis, whatever. He plays for hours and fine-tunes his style. Only after sweating it out in the court will he be able to become a winner. Look at champions in any game.
The same principle applies to working life. The cream moves up; the rest stay at the bottom – no promotion, no reward.
Abolishing exams is wrong and harmful. Without exams, students lose interest in books. They become restless; they play truant. They will not be keen to acquire knowledge. So, will they be knowledgeable and skilful?
Yes, exam means stress and strain. It means hard work. Exam is the only way to ascertain the standard of each student.
School assessment is unreliable, and could be biased. It is not a true test of knowledge.
In the 1950s and 60s, our school system was exam-based, and even test-based. I could remember the time when weekly tests were the norm, and there were three term exams. And the passing mark was 50, not 40. We had to pass certain core subjects in order to be promoted. There was no such thing as automatic promotion. Today, a student could fail all subjects and still be promoted to the next Year or Form!
Automatic promotion is a curse. It promotes laziness and truancy. And this idea of automatic promotion becomes a disease in life. It becomes a way of life; and people expect rewards without working.
There is nothing automatic in life. There is a price to pay for a prize.
Abolish exams and you abolish excellence and meritocracy. Effort is part of the game in life. SH Huang The STAR Opinion Letters 13 December 2016