When MOE announced that there will be no mid-year exams for Primary 3 and 5 students starting from 2020, there were a lot of buzz among parents. The main concern was how they would assess their children’s progress.
Without a score to help them determine how their children measured against their peers, parents began to feel unnerved even as they welcomed the move towards a less stressful learning environment at school.
With the pandemic going on this year, MOE decided in April that mid-year exams will be cancelled for all levels as learning was moved online. Considering that this is the first time there will be no mid-year exams for all students, coupled with home-based learning, you must be wondering how you can gauge your children’s progress with no assessments of any form.
Are formal assessments the only way for you to tell your children’s progress?
Here are some alternative methods you could use, away from assessments and scores, to help you understand your children’s learning progress.
How to Keep Track of Your Child’s Progress With No Mid-Year Exams
1. Communication is key when there are no mid-year exams
A great way to track your children’s progress is to speak to their teachers. Since the teachers actively work with your children every day, they are therefore in the best position to advise you of their progress.
Just because there are no mid-year exams in primary school does not mean that you should stop talking to your children’s teachers. It is even more important in times like these that you continue the open dialogue to keep up with your children’s progress.
Other than communicating with their teachers, you need to talk to the main people involved in this academic journey – your children. With the lack of focus in examinations, you may want to direct your concerns towards their socio-emotional and mental health at school. Start with non-academic questions to open the dialogue.
When your children get home from school, they too need some time to process what has happened in their day. Through your dialogue, you can help your children to unpack their emotions and challenges that they face at school.
2. Track their daily progress through homework
The best form of gauging your children’s progress in school is through their homework. Children are more successful at school when their parents take notice of their homework and get involved with them. When teachers leave feedback for your children to improve, take notice of the feedback and help your children to work on them.
Without primary school assessments such as mid-year exams, this is a useful way of tracking how your children are doing at school. If your children’s work is not up to your expectations, take this opportunity to try to understand where they could be lacking in terms of their concepts. Sometimes, all they need is just a bit of explanation!
3. Create more home-learning experiences
By now, most of you would have been experts in creating home-learning experiences, especially through the Circuit Breaker period when we were all staying in. One of the best ways to track your children’s progress at school is to complement their learning with activities at home. Using a more hands-on approach to learning, you can show them how their knowledge can be translated to real world situations.
For example, if they are learning basic fractions in Primary 3, you can get pizza for dinner and ask them to demonstrate dividing the pizza equally among the family members. If they are doing science, you can set up basic science experiments at home for them to be engaged and understand the concepts better.
Through your discussion with your children, you can get a better gauge of where they stand in terms of their understanding.
4. Adjust your expectations
The pandemic has certainly changed the face of education this year. More than ever, we have found ourselves questioning how education should be taking place and how our children should be learning.
When primary school assessments were planned in the school calendar, parents had a goal for their children to achieve. There was something for their children to work towards. Now, with no mid-year exams in primary schools, it becomes harder to have a concrete, physical and feasible goal for your children to attain. It is no longer about the grades, especially when no grades are awarded.
This is where parents’ expectations come into play. Set realistic expectations of your children. Learning should not be assessed based on grades. Your children are always learning in their own ways. They may not be able to translate their thoughts and ideas effectively on pen and paper, but that does not mean that they are incapable of understanding concepts.
If you change the way learning is viewed, you will be more open to the way your children learn and help them to develop appropriately.
How Else Can You Help Your Children to Progress Without Exams and Assessments?
Sometimes, it may be very daunting for parents to take on the task of assessing their children’s learning. It is challenging to keep up with the current curriculum and make sure that your children are keeping up to the rigour despite having no exams in primary school.
It could be worth your while to consider sending your children to external enrichment programmes where professional teachers can help you and your children.
MindChamps Enrichment Academy has a wide range of programmes that are suitable for preschoolers and primary school students. There is something for everyone, ranging from Reading and Creative Writing courses, to courses that cultivate the Champion Mindset in children, and PSLE Success™ for those who are sitting for the PSLE – you will be able to find a programme for your children.
To find out more, register your interest on our website so we can get in touch.
Written by Danielle Hee