Mid-year exams in primary and secondary schools to be scrapped by 2023

Education Minister Chan Chun Sing announced several changes made to the primary, secondary and junior college school systems.

Caleb Lau

Grew up a musician, found a calling in photography and writing. Still in love with all of them.

Published: 7 March 2022, 5:18 PM

Primary and secondary school students will no longer sit for mid-year examinations from 2023, announced Education Minister Chan Chun Sing on Monday (Mar 7). 

Speaking in Parliament during the Committee of Supply 2022 Debate, he said this move will provide additional time for students to participate in deeper learning and develop “21st century competencies”.


The framework of 21st century competencies was identified by the Ministry of Education to prepare students for a globalised world. PHOTO CREDIT: MOE’S WEBSITE


Elaborating the purpose of the move, Mr Chan said: ““Schools and teachers can better pace and deepen students’ learning. They use ongoing assessments to identify what students have mastered and the areas they have difficulties with. 

“Students also focus more on their learning and less on marks.”

Mr Chan also reasoned that the Ministry of Education had seen a “positive impact” through the removal of mid-year exams for some levels in the past years.


Since 2019, mid-year examinations for Primary 3, 5 and Secondary 1 and 3 students have been scrapped. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/@MOESINGAPORE


To date, Mr Chan said more than a third of secondary schools and about one in 14 primary schools have already removed mid-year exams for Secondary 2 and Primary 4 students respectively.

In the meantime, the ministry said in a factsheet that schools can choose to remove the remaining mid-year examinations for some or all of the remaining levels in 2022. 

On top of that, schools will continue evaluating students’ learning through a range of assessments and activities, and provide feedback and guidance through regular assignments.

“Any average curriculum will necessarily mean that many students will be overstretched while others are under-stretched,” Mr Chan added.

“Hence, we must have a range of options to cater to our students’ diverse abilities and learning needs.”

In his speech, Mr Chan also spoke about changes made to the Full Subject-Based Banding scheme implemented in secondary schools.

In Full Subject-Based Banding, subjects are taught at three levels — General 1 (G1), G2 and G3. Students can take subjects in this range based on their abilities, with form classes consisting of students studying subjects at different levels.

The scheme, piloted among several secondary schools two years prior, will now be extended to three more schools from 2024.

Mr Chan said the pilot programme so far has had a positive impact on students.

“Students have made more friends across courses, learned new perspectives and how to relate to peers of different backgrounds, and have become more confident in themselves and their abilities,” he said.


The scheme will be extended to Crescent Girls’ School, Tanjong Katong Girls’ School and Tanjong Katong Secondary School, which currently only admit students in the Express course. PHOTO CREDIT: CRESCENT GIRLS’ SCHOOL’S WEBSITE


The extension of Full Subject-Based Banding will ensure that students of more diverse learning profiles can benefit from these schools’ distinctive programmes, instead of course-based subject offerings, said Mr Chan.

Alongside the aforementioned changes to the primary and secondary school system, Mr Chan announced the expansion of the Direct School Admission scheme for all government and government-aided junior colleges.

The Direct School Admission for junior colleges (DSA-JC) exercise allows students to apply, based on your talent in sports, CCAs and specific academic areas, to a school before taking the GCE O-Level examinations.


First introduced in 2004, the Direct School Admission scheme gives education institutions greater flexibility to select and admit students based on both their academic and non-academic backgrounds. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/@MOESINGAPORE


Schools under the scheme include Anderson Serangoon Junior College, Anglo-Chinese Junior College, Catholic Junior College, Eunoia Junior College, Jurong Pioneer Junior College, National Junior College, Nanyang Junior College, St. Andrew’s Junior College, Tampines Meridian Junior College, Temasek Junior College, Victoria Junior College and Yishun Innova Junior College.

Starting from the 2022 DSA-JC exercise, the intake for non-Integrated Programme students under the scheme will go up from 10 per cent to 20 percent of the cohort.

“This recognises other forms of merit beyond academic grades,” Mr Chan said.

You may like these