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Removal of mid-year exams will help nurture joy for learning

Published Date: 17 March 2022 12:00 PM

News Forum Letter Replies

We thank Mr Chng Seo Pake ("Removal of mid-year exams may cause those lagging behind to go unnoticed until it's too late", Mar 12), Dr Tan Kok Siang ("It's the obsession with excelling in exams that is problematic", Mar 12) and Ms Kieira Teo ("Mindsets need to change to achieve focus on learning", Mar 14) for their thoughtful feedback on the removal of mid-year examinations.

In recent years, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has introduced several policy changes under the Learn for Life movement to nurture our students to be confident and resilient learners. The removal of mid-year examinations for all remaining levels in primary and secondary schools by 2023 is another step towards inculcating a joy of learning in our students, and is part of ongoing efforts to move away from an overemphasis in academic grades.

Schools that have removed the mid-year examinations shared that they have more time to design and provide a variety of learning experiences. Students enjoy more opportunities to discover their interests and strengths, as well as to act on teachers' feedback. We believe this will strengthen students' intrinsic motivation to learn, and help them become more self-directed in learning.

We agree with Ms Teo that examinations are not the be-all and end-all. Examinations are but one of many avenues for teachers and students to assess learning progress. For example, teachers can check their students' understanding and mastery through regular assignments, quizzes and classroom interactions. We would like to assure Mr Chng that these touchpoints can provide useful and timely feedback for students to improve learning, and enable teachers to nimbly adjust teaching practices to better support their students.

We also agree with Dr Tan that parents play a crucial role in helping their children build resilience and develop a passion for learning. MOE will continue to partner parents to help children focus on the value of the learning journey and not just the assessment outcomes. Together, we will help our students to thrive in the test of life, instead of associating their time in school with a life of tests.

Mr Sng Chern Wei
Deputy Director-General of Education (Curriculum)
Ministry of Education