Effects of Streaming on Student Psychology

Published Date: 18 February 2019 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang, Nee Soon GRC


To ask the Minister for Education whether the Ministry has studied the effects of streaming in secondary schools on the (i) self-esteem and (ii) confidence levels of students in each stream respectively.


1. MOE introduced streaming in 1980 to systematically customise learning for students of different profiles. It has very successfully lowered student attrition and improved educational outcomes.

2. Factors impacting self-esteem and confidence are complex and multi-faceted. NIE studies have shown that some Normal Academic students, after spending some years in secondary schools, were similar or more confident academically relative to some Express students. But there is also feedback from teachers that students in Normal Streams may over time also lose confidence and the mindset of growth and development.

3. The trade-off between customisation and stigmatisation is something we need to recognize. That is why over the years, MOE has taken steps, through measures such as out-of-stream subjects, subject-based banding and the Polytechnic Foundation Programme, to blur the lines between education streams. Our work in this area is on-going.

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