On Thursday, I was in BB & GG’s school to talk to their teachers about their DSA plus attend the P6 Curriculum Talk. It was very illuminating to say the least. GG & BB also joined me after their CCA ended and it was a long day for all us!
I took copious notes and photographed the key slides. My take-aways from this talk were these:
- This is a very short, hence action-packed year for us. Curriculum has be completed by mid-year and term 3 will be the start of the exams (orals and listening comprehension) plus revisions for the main exam which will happen in term 4.
- The t-score is such a secretive thing that no one, not schools, not parents know how it is calculated. Yes the formula is open to everyone, but the cohort mean score for the subject and the standard deviation is something that only the good folks at MOE know. Without these magical numbers, whatever we do and calculate is only speculation!
- If a child gets a U (below 20) in any subject, he may be retained back in P6. This is especially worrying for us for BB since everyone knows how his Hindi is…
- Important dates for us
- Direct School Admissions or DSA is an alternate method of entry into a secondary school, especially if the child is skilled in the niche area of the school. Some schools however, take in their entire cohort through DSA.
- The DSA exercise happens something like this:
- Applications May to June
- Selection by schools June to August
- Selection outcomes in the form of letters in September
- Exercise school option in October
- Secondary school posting in November/December
- The school also gave us some study strategies for the different subjects. It was nothing really new, but since there were loads of students in the audience on Thursday and this is something that parents keep reiterating, hopefully, now that these things are endorsed by the school, it will seep into their heads!
- Strategies for English included reading a lot, including newspapers and books in various genres, speaking and discussing using stimulus and using language correctly.
- For Maths, it was nothing more than Practice, Practice and more Practice, especially under test conditions!
- Strategies for Science included a thorough knowledge of the content, basically everything you’ve learnt from Primary 3 onwards as each year builds up the knowledge of the preceding year, understand the process and apply the process skills. Children should also read the exam question thoroughly, including all diagrams to understand what it is they are expected to be answering using key words to answer the question.
We also had a presentation a school which is BB’s dream school (not putting the name down fear, for fear of being jinxed, though if (fingers crossed) he gets in, I’ll definitely put the results and the school name here). He loved the presentation and I am going to do all I can to ensure that he makes it in! The school is perfect for him. Since he is interested in one aspect of science (mainly aeronautics), the school will be able to nurture it. Also Additional Math is compulsory as is Pure Sciences in Upper Secondary. This is great as because of his Hindi marks, it is possible that he may not get these subjects in Upper Secondary and without them, an engineering degree or even a diploma is out of the question! The school also spoke about a school trip to NASA and at that point I turned to look at BB and you should have seen his face! They also have the Singapore Flying Club as one of their CCA’s, which is another place BB wants to get to as soon as he is able! So all-in-all his “Dream School”. Please pray hard for my boy that he is able to get into the school of his choice!
For GG, our original choice may not be the best one for her. One, it is super far (at the fringes of the CBD area) and so getting there will be a minimum one hour bus ride. To get to school by 7:30, would mean leaving home by 6:15. Not sure if this is best for a girl who loves her sleep! Plus the educational system is something where students have to be self-driven. Not 100% sure if this learning style will be suitable for her. So brainstorming with the teacher, we’ve come up with some other schools. Now have to keep an eye on their open houses and see which one excites her the most!
OK, long post already, so going to stop here. Will talk more about the DSA process as we go through it.