Better PSLE 2009 results? Subject-based banding may have helped your child

AS part of helping a child to realise their full potential based on their interests and strengths, the Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) introduced subject-based banding from 2008 onwards in primary schools replacing the EM3 stream in primary 5 and 6. This refinement to the streaming process allows your child to take their weaker subjects at foundation (basic) level, while continuing their better performing subjects at standard level.

What is subject-based banding?

Prior to 2008, if a child was not good in all the subjects, the streaming system might have recommended that he or she would have to take all the subjects at the foundation level.

But under subject-based banding, if the child is good in mathematics and science but weaker in English and mother tongue, they may choose to take the first two subjects at standard level and the weaker subjects at the basic or foundation level. Thus while continuing their standard learning pace in the subjects they excel, they can spend more time to strengthen the fundamentals in the weaker subjects.

Of course, this flexibility has the added bonus of allowing them to enjoy during standard subject lessons the existing relationships forged with their classmates in earlier years.

Thus besides the greater flexibility to adopt a different learning pace for a weaker subject, subject-based banding encourages greater interaction among students with different strengths.

More neighbourhood schools with high PSLE scores in 2009

This may partly explain the surge of better results in more neighbourhood schools in 2009.

Of 44 primary schools identified (see criteria in full listing) with at least one student scoring 275, about half are neighbourhood schools. These include Fengshan Primary School, Hougang Primary School, Pasir Ris Primary School, Qihua Primary School, River Valley Primary School, and Yangzheng Primary School.

Joining these so-called neighbourhood schools are the perhaps more familiar top names like Anglo-Chinese School (Junior), Anglo-Chinese School (Primary), CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel, CHIJ Our Lady of Nativity, CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School, Catholic High School, Methodist Girls' School (Primary), Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School (Primary), and Raffles Girls' Primary School.

It is also worth noting more than half (7) of the top 13 scores came from neighbourhood schools.
- Qifa Primary School (West Coast)
- South View Primary School (Choa Chu Kang)
- Greenridge Primary School (Bukit Panjang)
- Rulang Primary School (Jurong West)
- Gongshang Primary School (Tampines)

In comparison, PSLE 2008 saw only two neighbourhood schools with top scores: Yew Tee Primary School and Elias Park Primary School


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