Changes Affecting Express Course

Bunch of Secondary School Students

Greater Control of the GCE ‘O’ Levels

Key changes

From 2006, MOE is taking greater responsibility for developing examination syllabuses and formats, setting standards, and awarding grades.

Although we are taking full ownership of the syllabuses, MOE and the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) will continue to work with the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) in designing syllabuses and outsource to UCLES the setting of question papers and marking of examination scripts.

Why are we doing this?

So that the examinations are in line with our curriculum. This ensures that we are able to meet our educational needs and maintain the high standards that Singapore is known for.

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New GCE ‘O’ Level Subjects

Key changes

Some secondary schools are allowed to offer new GCE ‘O’ Level subjects in addition to or in place of an elective subject. They may choose from the range of subjects offered by the Cambridge International Examinations group of ‘O’ Level syllabuses. Some possible subjects include Economics, Computer Studies and Drama.

In time, schools may develop new subjects in their curriculum niche areas or partner with recognised post-secondary educational institutions to develop new GCE ‘O’ Level subjects.

Why are we doing this?

  • To give our students more choices in what they study.
  • To enable schools to set up curriculum niches of their own.
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Refinements to Mother Tongue Language (MTL) Learning

Eligibility Criteria for Higher MTL (HMTL)

Key changes

The formal eligibility criteria for HMTL have been eased to the following:

  • Top 10% of the PSLE cohort; or
  • Top 11-30% of the PSLE cohort with A* in MTL at PSLE or at least a Merit in HMTL.
Background

A mass customisation approach that allows us to meet the needs of different groups of students has been adopted in the teaching of MTL. This approach enables the MTL to be taught at a level and pace suitable for students from different language backgrounds and with different language abilities. Five Mother Tongue syllabuses - Basic MTL, MTL ‘B’, MTL for N(A) course, MTL and HMTL - are thus available to encourage every Singaporean to study his MTL to as high a level as he is capable of.

Why are we doing this?

To allow more students to offer HMTL if they have the ability and interest to do so. This will develop a larger pool of Singaporeans with a deeper understanding of their MTL and culture.

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Eligibility Criteria for MTL ‘B’

Key changes

  • MTL ‘B’ syllabus may be offered from Secondary 1. Students with Grade C and below in MTL at PSLE will be allowed to take MTL ‘B’.
  • Those with learning disabilities, e.g. dyslexia, ADHD, autism and hearing impairment, will also be considered. Students with severe disabilities will be exempted totally from the MTL requirement.
  • Secondary schools have the flexibility to allow other students to offer MTL ‘B’, taking into consideration the student’s performance, language ability and the standard that he can achieve with reasonable effort.
  • Students who re-enter our education system (e.g. students who return from overseas) and are unable to cope with the MTL syllabus will be considered for the MTL ‘B’ syllabus.
Background

The MTL ‘B’ syllabus was introduced to help students who face exceptional difficulties with MTL. Emphasising practical communication skills, it aims to motivate these students to learn their MTL up to a realistic level, and to sustain their interest in their MTL and culture.

Why are we doing this?

To help students who are exceptionally weak in MTL, so that their broader academic development will not suffer because of the time they have to put into MTL.

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Teaching and Learning of Chinese Language (CL)

Key changes

  • 10% space in curriculum for implementing school-based curriculum.
  • Changes to the GCE ‘O’ Level CL examination format from 2006 to reduce emphasis on memorisation, increase testing in context and increase weighting for speaking/ listening component.
  • Use of approved CL electronic handheld dictionaries in composition examinations will be allowed in school-based assessments from 2006 and in ‘O’ Level examinations from 2007.
  • CL and HCL students may take Literature in Chinese as part of their Combined Humanities elective for the GCE ‘O’ Levels from 2006.

Why are we doing this?

To make the Mother Tongue languages “living” languages that students will use in everyday situations and develop in students a lifelong interest in their Mother Tongue language and culture.

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Teaching and Learning of Malay Language (ML)

Key changes

  • Clear learning outcomes to reflect different levels of achievement or Tahap.
  • Instructional and reading materials that students will find interesting.
  • Changes to the GCE ‘O’ Level ML examination format from 2006 to reduce emphasis on memorisation, increase testing in context and increase weighting for speaking/listening component.

Why are we doing this?

To make the Mother Tongue languages “living” languages that students will use in everyday situations and develop in students a lifelong interest in their Mother Tongue language and culture.

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Teaching and Learning of Tamil Language (TL)

Key changes

  • Spoken Tamil will be the medium of conversations between teachers and students in all TL classes.
  • Instructional and reading materials that students will find interesting.
  • Changes to the GCE ‘O’ Level TL examination format from 2006 to reduce emphasis on memorisation, increase testing in context and increase weighting for speaking/listening component.

Why are we doing this?

To make the Mother Tongue languages “living” languages that students will use in everyday situations and develop in students a lifelong interest in their Mother Tongue language and culture.

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