Subject - Based Banding (P4 parents)

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At Primary 4 your child will be introduced to subject-based Banding - a refinement of the streaming process.

Primary school education in Singapore has changed remarkably in the last decade. Emphasis is no longer focused solely on academic excellence but in providing a balanced education that caters to all children’s varying abilities. One of the most recent change was the elimination of EM3 streams in 2008 and the implementation of Subject-based banding to ensure that children’s strengths and interest are taken into consideration.

What is Subject-based Banding?

Subject-based Banding has replaced the EM3 stream in Primary 5 and 6. In subject-based banding your child is not just relegated to class of the school’s weakest students, he is now given the choice to take a mix of standard or foundation subjects, depending on his strengths. For example, if he is strong in English and Science but very weak in Mother Tongue or Mathematics, he may choose to take the first two subjects at the standard level and the others at the foundation level. This will help him focus and improve on the subjects he is strong in while building up the fundamentals in the subjects that he is very weak in.

This also means that your child will be able to remain with his classmates during standard subject lessons, and enjoy the camaraderie and class spirit that he has established with them.

Why introduce Subject-based Banding?

• To recognise the different abilities of pupils and give them greater flexibility to concentrate on the subjects they are good in.
• To encourage greater interaction among pupils with different strengths.

Subject-based Banding and Secondary School admission.

Previously, pupils from EM3 stream would mostly enter the Normal (Technical) course at secondary level. With Subject-based Banding, these pupils, if they have strengths in some areas, are able to offer at least one subject at the standard level. If they excel in these subjects, they will have the opportunity to pursue higher level options at secondary school.

How does Subject-based Banding work?

At primary 4, your child will be recommended a subject combination (refer below) based on his examination results. Parents will then get a chance to fill up an option form indicating your preferred combination.

At primary 5, your child will take the subject combination chosen by you. English, Math, Science and Mother Tongue are available at standard and foundation levels. Mother Tongue is also available at the higher level.

At the end of P5, for children who take 1 or more foundation subject(s) and does very well in the
subjects, may be allowed to upgrade some subjects to standard level is the the school believes that your child can cope. Typically most schools require your child to score atleast grade 1 or 91% in a foundation subject to be allowed to swap for standard subject.

If your child takes 4 standard subjects and has difficulty coping, the school may allow him to take 1 or more subjects at foundation level at P6.

How Foundation Subjects affect PSLE

Scores in Foundation subjects would be lower as compared to Standard subjects as the PSLE score will take into account the difference in content and demand of any foundation subject(s) taken. Foundation level subjects cover about 75% of the standard curriculum.

Pupils offering at least 2 Foundation subjects will most likely be channelled to the Normal stream in secondary school.

Subject Combinations

If your child (for P4 exam) Your child will be recommended to take
Passes all 4 subjects and performs very
well in Mother Tongue Language
4 standard subjects + Higher Mother
Tongue Language
Passes all 4 subjects 4 standard subjects
Passes 3 subjects 4 standard subjects
Passes 2 subjects or less 4 standard subjects or
3 standard subjects + 1 other foundation
subject; or
2 standard subjects + 2 other foundation
subjects; or
1 standard subject + 3 other foundation
subjects; or
4 foundation
subjects