Friday, 11 May 2012

Pri 1 maths syllabus to be tweaked from next year

Source: Channelnewsasia
By Ng Jing Yng | Posted: 11 May 2012 0644 hrs

SINGAPORE: Pupils entering primary school next year will be given more breathing room to grasp basic numeracy skills with the Ministry of Education (MOE) planning to drop part of the Primary 1 mathematics syllabus as part of its regular curriculum review.

A ministry spokesperson said that "minor changes" will kick in from next year's Primary 1 cohort.

For instance, Primary 1 students will no longer learn about measuring and comparing objects' physical mass through the use of non-standard units like paper clips and apples. They will also not be taught about 3D shapes. 

They will instead learn about the orientation of objects such as whether they are facing left or right or pointing up or down.

"These minor changes improve the sequence of the topics being taught without increase in content," added the spokesperson.

In tandem with these changes, the format of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) for mathematics will be adjusted for these students come 2018. No details on the format change are available yet, but the MOE said schools will be informed of the change two years in advance. 

The syllabus adjustments come after the MOE's regular curriculum review - done every six years - and they are in line with the Primary Education Review and Implementation (PERI) initiated by the MOE to provide a more all-rounded primary school education.

Primary school teachers welcomed the latest move, saying it bridges current gaps in students' understanding and allows more time for students to grasp the remaining topics.

A teacher who has been teaching for seven years agreed that teaching children left and right orientation is useful because "not all know their left from their right and this knowledge is needed when it comes to heuristics problems".

Another primary school teacher with more than 30 years of experience said: "The syllabus is already very tight for Primary 1 and doing away with some topics will allow for more breathing space."

Noting that not all students enter primary school with a good knowledge of numeracy, she felt lightening the syllabus load will give teachers more time to impart basic numeracy skills.

"It is important to have a strong foundation so that it will be easier for them to understand more difficult concepts later on," she said.

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