Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2011 - Stellar Program and Changes in P1 Assessment

During the Parent Engagement Session last Friday (Feb 18), we were informed that there has been some changes to the assessment methods for this year's P1 and P2 cohort as per suggestions based on the survey done last year by the Primary Education Review and Implementation (PERI) Committee.

Here are some of the information disseminated during the meeting:

Aim of Primary Education
  • lay a strong foundation
  • nurture the whole child (to be a cornered citizen, active contributor, confident person, self-directed learner)
Assessment as part of learning
  1. learn new topic or skill (teacher teaches)
  2. shows how much he has learnt (teacher assesses)
  3. gets feedback (teacher gives feedback(
  4. improves
Assessment at P1 and P2 
  • shorter assessments
  • more and richer feedback
  • appropriate types of assessment
    • written assessments
    • oral assessments
    • for P1 - short weighted assessment tasks in term 2, 3, 4 (short and regular)
    • for P2 - short weighted assessment tasks in terms 1&2, CA2 in term 3, SA2 in term 4
This means no long exams for the P1 students every term (hooray!). But then the next question is...
How will the child be assessed?
  • through performance tasks
    • reading, speaking, representing, writing
    • poetry recitation
    • show and tell
    • cooking / baking
    • level party
  • through review work sheets
examples of how the child will be assessed:
  • Math 
    • shapes, patterns, measurements
    • journal writing
    • mini written tests - MPA (math performance assessment)
  • MT 
    • dialogues
    • show and tell
  • Game skills (PE)
    • rhythm and composition (Music)
    • artistic expression (Art)
There was a slide show of the sample assessment tools for P1 and P2. The actual assessment  plan and schedule will be handed over to parents in the coming week. I already got the said documents as of time of writing :)

Another change for this year is that P1 students will move on to P2 in the same class and form teacher, as compared to the time when Kelvin was in P2, wherein they were put into classes according to their final results in P1 (at least that was what I was told).

More information about Primary Education in Singapore and the current programmes can be found in this website - http://www.primaryeducation.sg.

After the general overview of the changes, we were sent to the classrooms to meet with the form teachers to know more about the STELLAR program. 

What is STELLAR?
STrategies for 


This is the method of teaching they now adapt for P1 at Montfort. 
  1. Shared reading experiences
    • children read the storybook with the teacher and engage in oral discussion with teacher and peers
  2. Shared writing experiences
    • the teacher models writing using children's language. 
    • children engage in writing together and in writing independently
  3. Language use activities in learning centres
    • teacher prepares mini lessons based on specific needs of children to prepare them for the reading and writing activities (eg. grammar, vocabulary)
Stellar and Language learning:
Classroom environment is:
  • focused on children's interaction rather than on teacher talk
  • enriched with children's written language
  • filled with various reading materials for children's use
Each STELLAR unit includes
  1. Key teaching points 
    • concepts about print (eg. spacing between words, reading from left to right, punctuation)
    • vocabulary (eg. meaning of words, phrases)
  2. Development of the four language skills
    • listening
    • speaking
    • reading 
    • writing
I believe this is going to be a more interactive and fun way for the kids to learn as opposed to just telling them straight about the English language details like vocabulary, grammar, etc. And it covers all language skills in each step (STELLAR) of the way.

During Kelvin's time in P1, they had a textbook and an activity book for English. With the changes in the mode of teaching, Ira now is learning English language without the usual textbook and activity book pair, but they have STELLAR activity books. I specially like the red "My Grammar Handbook" which is a summary of the parts of speech and building vocabulary topics. I have been looking for a book like this since Kelvin was in P1 but I couldn't find any. The books they usually have at the bookshops are activity/exercise books. I am looking at other books under the same publisher (Teacher's Production) which I found at the back of Ira's book. I have yet to visit their shop though (located in Ghim Moh Rd). Currently, their website is under construction. 

Anyway, here are some of the suggested activities parents could do with their children in line with STELLAR program:
  • go to the library together
  • allow your child to choose books to read and reread
  • have lots of books, magazines and newspapers in your home
  • read to or with your child or have your child read to you
  • get your child to retell a story to you in his or her own words
  • suggest that your child give a different ending to the story
  • ask your child to identify words beginning with the same sound, for example "p" - pancake, pick, put, police, pat, etc
  • play language games like word scavenger hunt
  • make a list of high frequency words
  • help your child learn more interesting words by thinking of new words to replace known words, for example "big" - huge, enormous, large, gigantic, etc
To help the teachers and the children in this learning process, parent-support is very crucial. Our involvement in our children's education is going to be of great help in their holistic development.

Parents can help:
  • by being Role Models - read and write notes and message in front of your child
  • by Understanding - each language learning requires frequent exposure to listening, reading, speaking and writing opportunities and activities rather than simply completing work sheets

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