In the recent announcement on education changes, they are going to replace T-scores with grades in a bid to reduce stress. (I seriously doubt their goal will be achieved).
Let’s see what the implications are:
#1 had an aggregate of 240.
#2 had an aggregate of 230.
As a result, we all felt that #1 is smarter.
I even told #2 that as she did worse than her sister, she has to end up in a “lousier” school. (I can’t believe I seriously said that.. worse, I can’t believe I felt that way!)
With the new changes, the PSLE will be based on a grade system, much like the ‘O’ levels. Let’s look at their grades.
#1 had 4 As.
#2 had 3 As and 1 A*.
Just by a policy shift, #2 is now smarter!
She would have been able to enter the ‘better’ school.
#1’s aggregate was 10 marks higher than #2, which is significant. And yet, under the new system, she would have fared poorer. Honestly, I don’t think this move will reduce any stress in the children. The parents will just end up figuring out how to beat the new system and how to find strategies to give their kids the best grades.
This really got me thinking.
1) So who actually IS smarter?
2) Why are we even labelling our children as ‘smart’ or ‘not so smart’ based on some written/oral exams.
3) Are the ‘smart’ children good in other areas? Are they better at problem solving? Better at thinking out of the box and coming up with new ideas? Better at communicating and selling their ideas to other people? Better at designing functional and aesthetically pleasing structures? Or are they merely better at memorising the required answers and reproducing them?
There are so many other smarts. Some pre-schools are based on the philosophy of multiple intelligences. Maybe it’s time our schools adopt this multi-faceted approach towards teaching and testing our children.
We got it all wrong. Education should not be about competition, to squeeze the child to get the best scores to enter the best institutions. It should be about instructing and stretching the child to their fullest potential in the areas of their interests and natural talents so that they are equipped to perform work in an area which they are gifted at. Look at those extremely successful people in any field. Why are they so successful? They have been guided and encouraged in what they are good at and interested in thus they excel in doing their life’s work. They are doing what they are meant to do. That, as parents, is our job. To look for the gifts in our children and to let it bloom. Instead of looking for the best tuition centres to get the best marks for PSLE.
I have never put much emphasis on the PSLE as I have long realised that our Singapore education system is only single-faceted. I think these questions are food for thought. If all parents stop to ponder these questions and groom their children in areas they are naturally smart in, maybe it will be a collective step towards a less stressful and more fulfilling life.
Sane tip: Knowing your child’s strengths and weaknesses and styles of learning will reduce a lot of stress for you. You cannot expect a square peg to fit into a round hole. I give you an example. #3 is a brilliant child, able to think out of the box and is highly logical. However, she does not do well academically. Do I get stressed? No. I lower my expectations in the academic arena but I have high expectations for her in life. She has high EQ, thinks very quickly on her feet, and is very resourceful. I am not stressed, and neither is she.
Save tip: I have saved a lot of money by not sending them to tuition. The extra money saved from 3 kids can easily raise the other 3 kids!