A number of changes and updates to the A-Level curriculum and Autonomous University (AUs) admissions were announced by the Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing in his Committee of Supply speech on Mar. 1.
Chan said that the Ministry of Education (MOE) has reviewed the GCE A-Level curriculum and Autonomous University admissions as part of efforts to enhance holistic education and strengthen the development of 21st Century Competencies (21CC) in students.
Summary of the changes
These changes include:
- having the fourth content-based subject to be counted for University Admission Score (UAS) only if it improves the overall score, starting from 2026.
- having Project Work to be graded as a "Pass/Fail" subject from 2024 JC1/Pre-U2 intake.
- making it compulsory for Junior College (JC) and Millennia Institute (MI) students to take General Paper from 2024.
- removing of Mid-Year examinations at JC/MI levels progressively from 2024.
MOE hopes that these changes can rebalance the overall A-Level curriculum load, lower the assessment stakes, and provide more time and space for students to develop their skillsets and pursue their interests.
Computation of University Admission Score (UAS)
Currently, JC/MI students that are applying to AUs are required to include four content-based subjects, General Paper, and Project Work in the computation of their UAS, resulting in a maximum of 90 points.
From 2026, the fourth content-based subject will be included in the computation only if it improves the UAS.
MOE hopes that this change will allow JC/MI students room to choose their fourth content-based subject by interest without worrying about the grades.
Additionally, Project Work will be graded as "Pass/Fail" from 2024.
This means that the new maximum is 70 points for UAS in the future.
Project Work to become Pass/Fail subject
With Project Work becoming a "Pass/Fail" subject, MOE hopes that the JC/MI students will have more time and opportunities to explore their interests.
Despite the changes, the curriculum for Project Work will remain rigorous to ensure that students can develop the relevant skills and competencies.
Besides a change to the grading, students will be able to choose their project from either a set Project Theme or an area of interest identified by their groups.
Students can also indicate their involvement in Project Work topics when applying to the various AUs via aptitude-based admissions, which take into consideration of factors besides academic grades, such as leadership qualities.
General Paper to be made compulsory
MOE understands that General Paper (GP) allows JC/MI students to develop 21CC such as critical and inventive thinking through the study of current affairs and ongoing issues of local, regional, and global significance.
As such, all JC/MI students are required to take GP as a compulsory subject from 2024 to help every student develop their competencies.
Knowledge and Inquiry will no longer be an option in lieu of GP but will continue to be a contrasting subject for all JC/MI students.
Removal of Mid-Year examinations for JC/MI
The removal of Mid-Year examinations aims to encourage a mindset shift away from an over-emphasis on tests and academic results.
It also aligns the assessment practices with those at primary and secondary levels, providing a seamless experience for students progressing through the general education system, MOE said.
MOE emphasised that the removal of Mid-Year examinations will not be replaced by more school-based assessments.
The change will be implemented progressively, starting with the 2024 cohort.
Top photo via Facebook/Chan Chun Sing
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