Singapore moving beyond testing and ranking
Focus shifting to skills for changing economy and future work
Singapore, one of the world’s highest-ranked education systems, is re-thinking its approach to education. According to this article from the World Economic Forum, Singapore’s Ministry of Education is implementing changes that will “encourage individuals to concentrate on their own learning development,” and reduce the emphasis on rote-learning, student ranking, and exam preparation.
Assessment beyond testing
One of the changes that Singapore is implementing is a shift in focus away from marks and grades, to assessment based on discussions, homework, and quizzes.
Assessment is an essential component of education. Teachers use assessment data to inform their classroom practice; students use it to better understand their own learning; and parents use it to support their children’s success. But assessment does not have to be limited to traditional pen-and-paper tests and exams. Teachers use a range of assessment tools to support student growth and development, including observation, peer feedback, and student self-assessment.
The changes in Singapore are intended to encourage deeper forms of assessment, and reduce grade competition among students and schools. As Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s Minister of Education, says, “Learning is not a competition.”
Building skills for the future
For the past few years, People for Education has been advocating for a broader set of competencies to be integrated into Ontario’s curriculum, in order to provide students with the skills they need to thrive in a time of profound economic, social, and technological transformation.
Many of the competencies we have identified in our research are widely recognized as vital to future success and employment. According to The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2018, there will be a significant shift in workplace skills between now and 2022 (see chart).
The changes being made in Singapore are in recognition of the importance of skills such as critical thinking, leadership, and problem-solving:
“Alongside academic performance the new policies aim to foster social development among pupils to raise self-awareness and build decision-making skills.”
One of the world’s leading education systems is now working to incorporate vital skills and competencies into students’ learning. Is Ontario next?