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Singapore does away with marks in student report cards

The island-state of Singapore has introduced a reform to their education system, where schools will no longer indicate a student’s rank or other related metrics in their report cards.

This includes:

  • Class and level mean

  • Minimum and maximum marks

  • The end-of-year result of a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’

  • Overall total marks

The Ministry of Education in Singapore has said the move is to allow each student to focus on learning instead of marks and scores. The aim is to free up more time for students, help strengthen their holistic development and provide more opportunities to create a student-centred learning environment.

The changes have also extended to the removal of all examinations for classes one and two in primary school. For older primary and secondary students, mid-year examinations have been removed. For older students of primary and secondary classes, marks would be rounded off to a whole number. The method of assessments would shift to quizzes, homework, group projects and various other methods to evaluate the student’s progress and understanding. Qualitative descriptors would replace marks as an assessment tool.

The decision came after Singapore outperformed other countries in terms of student performance according to OECD’s (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Program for International Students (PISA) ranking released. This high performance was often said to be the result of an emphasis on rote learning and long study hours. The Ministry of Education considers the changes a step in the direction of creating more rounded individuals and not just high-performing individuals, with a focus on decision-making and social development skills for students.

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