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Levelling up academically low progress students
National Institute of Education (Singapore)
NIE Working Paper Series;3
This paper draws from international literature and local studies in Singapore on low progress students to delineate the present state of local knowledge and practice, and suggest future directions for research and policy. The needs of low progress students vary and they may not perform as well as their peers due to a variety of reasons. According to local research, there is a range of learning orientations, motivations and talents, non-academic capabilities and psychological needs among these students, which should be considered in efforts to level them up. Besides individual factors, this paper also recognizes the importance of addressing both school- and education-system-related factors, as well as broader societal factors that could contribute to low progress. However, for the purpose of a more focused discussion, this paper looks more closely at the contributing school- and education-system-related factors to low progress. These factors can be categorized into areas of curriculum, instruction and pedagogy, assessment, teacher quality and attitudes, and school culture and structure. They are examined for constructive ideas, strategies and practices of which implications can inform and better the teaching and learning of local low progress students. We also seek to prepare students to face the new challenges in the 21st century as well as to fulfil the vision of achieving a student-centric education where each student matters and where education is positioned as a means by which meritocracy is implemented and social inequalities mediated. Therefore, this paper proposes that it is timely to revisit some long-held beliefs and practices, from preschool education to teacher education, from education policy to micro-classroom pedagogies and management, from curriculum to assessment, and from the school level to engagement of community and family as stakeholders.
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