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Productive failure
Scaling and translation
Mathematics learning
Teaching and learning
Issue Date: 
Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore
Lee, N. H. (2020). Translating productive failure in the Singapore A-level statistics curriculum (Report No. DEV 03/14 MK). National Institute of Education (Singapore), Office of Education Research.
In the recommendations made to the revised Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (A-level) Mathematics curriculum (Ministry of Education (MOE): Curriculum Planning and Development Division (CPDD), 2015a, 2015b), an emphasis was placed on the use of constructivist pedagogy to deepen students’ understanding of concepts and appreciation of the disciplinarity of the subject, and the development of students’ critical and inventive thinking capacities that are relevant to the 21st century. Current practices in the Junior Colleges (JCs), with its lecture and tutorial system, remain largely didactic with direct instruction being the main pedagogical approach. To support the shift in pedagogical approach, empirically-tested learning designs that embody the constructivist principles, and were proven effective in Singapore’s classrooms were needed.

This project proposed the use of Productive Failure (PF), a learning design that embodies constructivist principles, empirically tested, and proven effective and tractable in Singapore mathematics classrooms (Kapur, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014a; Kapur & Bielaczyc, 2012). Given PF’s positive learning outcomes and its alignment to the recommendations made in the revised A-level curriculum, the MOE’s CPDD’s Mathematics Unit collaborated with the PF research team, and through MOE’s existing processes and structures, worked with the JCs to translate the learning design across key concepts in the Singapore A-level Statistics curriculum.
Project number: 
DEV 03/14 MK
Grant ID: 
Education Research Funding Programme (ERFP)
Funding Agency: 
Ministry of Education, Singapore
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