28 schools to pilot aspects of full subject-based banding
From 2020, some students at 28 secondary schools will undergo a different system from their peers.
In March, the Ministry of Education announced the scrapping of the streams - Express, Normal Academic (NA) and Normal Technical (NT).
In place will be full subject-based banding (full SBB), where students can take not only their core subjects, but also humanities subjects at a level based on their strengths.
While this system will officially roll out by 2024, a group of 28 schools will take the lead in piloting full SBB next year, such as regrouping classes for a diverse mix of students, offering humanities subjects - geography, history and literature in English - at a more demanding level, or both.
Being one of the pilot schools is seen as a "natural progression" for St Andrew's Secondary School (SASS) as the school implemented aspects of SBB last year.
From 2020, the school will have about seven Secondary 1 classes made up of a mix of Express and NA, and NA and NT students. The school has been varying teaching methods to suit different learners.
Acknowledging that every student learns differently, a conscious effort is made by teachers to gauge the understanding of every student.
Ms Valerie Yeo, the subject head of corporate communications and literature at SASS, said: "There are many ways of doing this, such as through essays or exams. We have also adopted asking questions during and after the lesson, and how the student answers will reflect his understanding."
Another method is having students with different strengths placed in groups to help one another.
She said: "Sometimes students act as a guide for one another. It is a conscious and purposeful grouping of the students to assist with the pacing of the lesson."
While such methods will be reinforced, the school will also be looking into new measures come 2020, such as using differentiated learning materials.
Ms Yeo said: "Students could receive different materials for the exact same lesson and topic. Some may have additional prompts for the slower learners.
"We recognise that every boy has different learning styles and interests, and it is not just about abilities."
Currently, about 80 per cent of NT students in Sec 1 in SASS take at least one SBB subject, meaning they can take at least one of their core subjects - English, mathematics, science or mother tongue - at a higher level. About 25 per cent of the NA students in Sec 1 take one SBB subject at the Express level.
Teachers will also undergo enhanced training, such as encouraging positive classroom interactions among students of different strengths.
The 28 pilot schools
- Ang Mo Kio Secondary
- Assumption English School
- Bedok Green Secondary
- Bowen Secondary
- Clementi Town Secondary
- Deyi Secondary
- Edgefield Secondary
- Evergreen Secondary
- Gan Eng Seng School
- Greendale Secondary
- Jurong Secondary
- Jurong West Secondary
- Mayflower Secondary
- Montfort Secondary
- Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School (Secondary)
- Pei Hwa Secondary
- Ping Yi Secondary
- Queenstown Secondary
- Riverside Secondary
- St Andrew's Secondary
- St Anthony's Canossian Secondary
- St Patrick's School
- Swiss Cottage Secondary
- Temasek Secondary
- West Spring Secondary
- Whitley Secondary
- Yuying Secondary
- Zhenghua Secondary