Tuesday, September 23, 2008

GEP testing and kiasu-ism at its ugliest

Over the weekend, I was chatting with some relatives and the topic of GEP (Gifted Education Programme) testing came up. For the benefit of those who are unaware, this is the process:

In August every year, the cohort of P3 students is invited to sit for a GEP screening test. The test is not compulsory but all children are encouraged to go for it. The test comprises an English and a Maths paper, about 1½ hours each.

Out of the cohort of approximately 50,000 kids, some 3,000 pupils (about 6%) are shortlisted for the GEP selection test.

The selection test takes place over two days in October, the first comprises an English paper and a General Ability paper, about 2½ hours in total. The second consists of a Maths paper and another General Ability paper, also about 2½ hours altogether.

From the selection test, about 500 kids (about 1% of cohort) are invited to join the P4 GEP classes. The results are released in early November.

The English and Maths papers are based on the MOE syllabus for P1-3, while the General Ability papers test logical thinking and general reasoning ability. The testing adheres closely to research done on gifted children (you may read my previous post on this), mainly that giftedness is largely manifested by the time the child is aged 9, and about 1% of any cohort is considered intellectually gifted.

Controversy arises because in recent times, some parents have begun to send their kids to special tuition classes which claim to help them clear the GEP tests. This is despite the considerate pointers in the GEP notification letter for the screening test:

"The Screening Test questions are usually more difficult than those in school examination papers. Your child should not be unduly worried if he/she cannot answer all the questions."


"We strongly urge you not to place undue pressure on your child to study for the test."

If I were the MOE, I would put these two lines in bold and font size 28 at the top of the letter, with blinking neon lights if possible. And I would add "Any parent caught putting their child through coaching for GEP tests will be fined $10,000,000,000."

But I'm not the MOE and frankly, I don't think it would make any difference (apart from the MOE becoming extremely rich). Because at the end of the day, there will still be parents who think the GEP is the gateway to guaranteed success in Singapore and their kids must get in by hook or by crook. Even worse, there are parents who want this not so much for their kids but so they have bragging rights, like having a gifted child reflects on them as brilliant parents.

I've mentioned this before, the GEP is designed for intellectually gifted kids. If your child is not gifted, he will struggle in the programme and it will not edify his education at all. At the end of the day, they still all sit for the PSLE exams and in the GEP, less time is dedicated to PSLE topics, so ironically, your kid may actually score lower marks than if he was in the mainstream.

Also, if your child is truly gifted, chances are he will clear the GEP tests without any sort of coaching. Most of the GEP kids I know never went for any special classes for the tests. It would also be a more accurate reflection of his ability.

On the other side of the fence, I think it is absolutely unethical of tuition centres and teachers to offer such classes. Some of them claim they are just giving the kids practice in tackling reasoning tests, while others claim they can "train" the kids to answer GEP type questions as they have previously been a GEP teacher. Whatever the excuse, it's cashing in on the insecurities and kiasu-ness of Singapore parents. The results have not been proven. Maybe to some degree for the screening test since it's based on English and Maths, but not the selection tests. And even if they do succeed in squeaking a few kids by into the programme, it's at what cost? Think about it, the tuition centre is motivated by the few thousand bucks it can extract from you, it certainly doesn't have the long-term interest of your child at heart.

As you can tell, this topic really riles me up, maybe because it bothers me to see some of the kids internalise so much of their parents' expectations. When Lesley-Anne was in P3, her class being the top class at her school, was the hotbed of GEP hopeful kids. In fact, all except one in her class passed the screening test (the teacher tactfully gave out the slips discretely so that child wouldn't feel so badly about himself).

When the results of the selection test came back, Lesley-Anne described the situation as one of tense anticipation. Imagine the teacher carrying a pile of acceptance booklets (17 out of 40 in the class made it to GEP) and as she gave them out, the remaining students whose names were not called watched anxiously as the stack of booklets quickly diminished.

Lesley-Anne didn't expect to get called, since she was nowhere near the top performers in that class, so she was pleasantly surprised when she was selected. But other kids, especially those who have regularly topped the class, were more concerned. When all the booklets were eventually given out, some kids who didn't get selected actually cried. Especially one boy, as I found out later, whose mother was already checking out the different GEP schools (even before the results were out).

Which brings me to the point, why this obsession with being gifted? What's wrong with being "regular"? Being gifted is a blessing, like a musical or artistic talent, but it certainly doesn't guarantee success in life. In Singapore, I suspect if you're looking for a job, most companies won't care if you were in the GEP, unless it's the civil service. And I have never heard any kid say, "My dream is to be in the civil service!" I would like to believe that all the age-old attributes of integrity, diligence and reliability are what matter most, at the end of the day.

Earlier this year, Andre asked me, out of the blue, "Will I go to GEP like che-che?" I was stumped for a moment. I didn't want to demoralise him, but neither did I want to give him false hope. In the end, I replied, "Well, you go for the test. If you make it, you make it. If you don't, you don't. But GEP or not, it doesn't really matter. What matters is that you study hard and try your best." He seemed content with the answer, and I meant every word - I wouldn't exchange my happy, vivacious boy for all the smarts in the world.


Alcovelet said...

Monica, I hear the anger in your voice. It's really pathetic, this whole business, and the victims are the kids and their lives. I was at a bulge bracket bank before, and trust me, when I hire, I don't give a darn if the guy was in some gifted programme when he was 9. The issue though, is not so easy to define. I'm a parent myself and of course want the best for my child, but then, what is the definition of "the best"? Maybe, we should all just exercise a little self restraint. The trick is how much to let go - I don't have any answers, although the extremities are obvious.

monlim said...

I guess it's knowing the difference between giving a little push for motivation and shoving the kid towards where he doesn't want to go. Parenthood is tough, I know, maybe sometimes parents need to remember childhood can be tough too!

Alcovelet said...

I know what you're saying, I thought I had developed the perfect formula by thinking to myself - "if you push to make yourself proud, forget it.; If you push to make your kid proud, then do it." Then I found I couldn't apply the formula!

monlim said...

Don't worry too much, it's a learning journey for all of us!

bACk in GERMANY said...

Adding on... I hate parents who force their kids to take up the third language programme (offered to the top 10% of PSLE cohort) just so they can have something to shout about!

Alcovelet said...

I actually had to take French and I hated it. Their movies didn't even make sense to me! These days, my Italian is better than my French, that's for sure. Like spaghetti, macaroni, tagliatelli ... You know what, thinking through my answers to all your posts makes me understand why I'm rebelling against the school system. I'm hoping I don't go too far left!!

monlim said...

I think homeschooling is a completely brave move - I applaud your courage!

Ann said...

Hi, Monlim. I'm very lucky to chance upon your blog on GEP issues at this point of time. My boy has just been selected for GEP and I really need a lot of advices from GEP parents. Now I'm in a dilemma as I'm not sure which school is a better choice for him. I also have a lot of uncertainties and doubts in my mind. However after reading your blog, at least some of my questions are answered and my doubts are cleared. Thank you very much.

monlim said...

Ann: Congrats on your boy making it! I'm glad my blog was of help. All the best, whatever you decide, and do drop by again, we all learn from each other - it's a terrific support community of parents here :)

Ann said...

Hi, monlim. You know before I discover your blog, I was asking around in the forum hoping to know more about GEP from other GEP parents. However, what I receive are not advices or comments from GEP parents, but jealousy and insulting from non-GEP parents. They think that I want to boast about my boy getting into GEP and the reason for him to get into GEP is he was sent for training for preparation into GEP which I am definitely not doing. Only in your blog I could find understanding of my anxiety and feeling and also answers to my queries. Looking forward to your every posting on your girl's progress in GEP and please pardon me for my broken English. Initially, I am quite hesitant and feel rather embarrassed to post my comments in your blog, comparing my standard of language with yours.

monlim said...

Ann: Don't be embarrassed by your English! Haven't you read all my Singlish lapses? :D Anyway, we're not the language police, haha!

Seriously, I think a large part of the huge divide between GEP and non-GEP is due to parents, not the kids. Yes, there are some obnoxious GEP parents but there are also lots of obnoxious non-GEP parents. I guess it stems from insecurity and over-competitiveness - fear that your child might lose out in some way.

There are quite a few parents of gifted kids on this blog, so they can provide a good perspective on the issue, without all the bitching. Stay cool, keep focusing on the positives!

Anonymous said...

dear monica

i happened to stumble across your fascinating blog this evening. you are an exceptionally conscientious parent and obviously very proud of both your children. i happen to be from the GEP and am now 32 years old. I read your post with great fascination. my advice is : dont make being in the GEP a big deal to your kid. really it is nothing very special. yes the teachers and curriculum was good but the best outcomes and best turned out individuals became that way out of their own talent. GEP kids after a while don't really mention it. it's not cool. it's not a big deal. let them grow up, have some time on their own. there is so much to life than once being in the GEP. when i look at my cohort, yes, quite a few "academic" successes as such, but there are many other people i know who are much greater successes in their lives and who were not in the GEP. so dont dwell on it too much.

Anonymous said...

The way GEP is done is crap especially in the 1st round.The paper is marked by the respective school teachers.The teachers need to recommend the student for the second round eventhough the student would have passed the test.In a recent incident, the system was abused by one school at least.If you or your child is not in the favoured list of the school,you can say sayonora to GEP eventhough your child can be an Einstein.Same old third world crap practiced in a first world.

monlim said...

Anon: I would caution against such conspiracy theories unless you have concrete evidence. Not saying it's not impossible but there are a few reasons why I think this argument is flawed. First, majority (if not all) of the questions in the first round are MCQs, they're not arbitrarily marked by the school's own teachers. Second, most of my daughter's GEP classmates came from neighbourhood schools which by your argument, wouldn't have gotten in even if they were Einsteins.

And if you're thinking, "Of course you'll disagree since your daughter is in GEP!" Please. That line is getting old and is such a convenient way of avoiding legitimate debate.

bACk in GERMANY said...

Dear Anon,

Your conspiracy theories don't, however, make logical sense.

If I were the teacher and I didn't like the student, I hope he would get into GEP and get out of the school. And the same would be true for the kid. Once he's selected to be in GEP he would have a chance to change school. So why would the teachers want to spoil the chances of him getting out of the school if they really didn't like the kid?

Gee, I never knew I was unpopular among the teachers in my school when I didn't get selected for GEP after two rounds of tests during my time!

Albert said...

It is great to look at your blog about GEP topics. I posted some articles at my blog too. But I am not good at English. So I have to publish them at Chinese. It is quite interested. I always help my daughter at her Math. I am her math tutor. I also knew model program of math. I introduce it to my daughter when she was at P3. I found it wastes her times on drawing. So I let her give up it. I think it is too hard for her to get rid of it now, because school teachers also introduced the method. I know that she may become the GEP kid, the reason is that she knew how to use the method of algebra. The algebra released a lot of time to let her review the math exam of screen test of GEP. She also was free to listen to the cockcrow because there were a lot of cocks at the school.Now she is p6. I think she is same as your daughter. She prepares PSLE since she is p5. In fact, I already introduced her PSLE math when she was p4.I often heard that she have a lot of homework, but I also often found her to take a lot of time to watch chinese dramas or listen to stories. It is quite hard to teach a p6 pupil to manage or schedule her time. My wife likes to give her time table and let her follow it. It is good way for her, I think. For PSLE, I think it is easy for GEP kids. They always take higher grade. The top pupils also often come out from them. I hope the top one is from them too for this year. I also prefer the top one come out from RGPS. They always are very good at GEP exams to compare to other GEP schools.

Albert said...

Do you know advantages for GEP pupils? If they get 200 grades for their PSLE, they still can enroll the secondary school expected by them. What the worse grade was taken at RGPS last year? It is 262. I think it is enough to get better school already. How about your daughter? She will take easy for PSLE.:)

monlim said...

Albert: Thanks for reading my blog! From what I know, if you get in through DSA, they will accept you as long as you hit at least 200 aggregate for PSLE. But need to be accepted at DSA first :)

As for my daughter, I think I'm more stressed out over PSLE than she is!

Albert said...

Hi, good to see my comment is publish at your blog. Yesterday,I saw my daughter prepared her math. A math exam will be taken today. She also needs to do some homework via net. It is good for me to find that she is trying to use algebra method to resolve her fraction questions. In despite of disliking to use algebra for her math, but she knows it is easy for her to resolve her math questions.I introduce algebra to her when she is at p3 and school teacher starts to teach algebra at p5. So she should have over 2 years experience at algebra. I know she still make some mistakes on it. But she knows it is the best method to list out those relations. I also suggest her to use the method for her Math Olympiads which will be hold on 25 April.

Albert said...

Yes, I know it. My daughter has fixed her goal at RGS or NYGS. Base on her words, she should be all right for the IP because her average grades always are more than 80. Her classmates are same with her, and plan to enroll above schools in despite of average grades less than 70. You should know that over 93% GEP pupils will pass the DSA selection.So what's to worry about?

monlim said...

Albert: Great that you and your daughter has such confidence. I'm not sure how true your 93% is though, I know last year, many GEP kids didn't pass DSA. I guess for me, I will always worry!

Albert said...

Monlim: I think your daughter should be at P6. So you should attend the meeting for P6 pupils and a special meeting for GEP kids. Otherwise, you need to talk to GEP branch officers. It is easy to get information too. I am proud of my daughter always. We encourage her to try her best to achieve the president award. Because the award is ahead, so her classmates and she will work hard for their success. We continue to encourage and support my daughter and she gets confidence too by those results. She is good at memory too. Her former teacher also agrees that GEP kids all have better memory power. Some work hard and some are really intelligent. But I know these capacities may be achieved via training. So we educate her since she was just born.If you know detail about IQ test, you will know why some kids get high IQ. They just know some knowledge over their ages. For my daughter too, GEP lets her know more to compare to mainstream pupils,even secondary students.

Anonymous said...

Hello.I happened to stumble across your blog.GEP is really nothing special, except for the fact that the curriculum is different,and that there are better and more well trained teachers.GEP encourages leadership skills,and also helps pupils to grow up equipped with the right moral skills. Believe it or not,teachers sometimes use proper lessons for CME lessons instead. Really, I also hate the fact that some parents are always so kiasu.I myself did not have any tuition, and so did most of my other classmates.However,I know a girl who has at least 2 tuitions a day and still manages to survive.Don't worry though, MOST pupils will eventually warm up to the workload by Primary 5, while many once in a blue moon, someone drops out.

Walfin said...

Hi all. I am another just-dropped-by.

I never had tuition and I was the only one in my primary school to get into GEP. It was a school where most people were in the qualify-for-financial-assistance income bracket (and my family lived in a 3 room flat then).

If anything I think the MOE should change the test format every year and make it a strict liability offence for anyone who leaks the test to the general public. GEP is something has the potential to lift people out of poverty if they have the capacity to do well. Tuition for the test just entrenches the socioeconomic position of the parents.

Though sometimes I wish they'd revert to the "tiao ban" system of yesteryear. That would save a hell lot more money.

Anonymous said...

Hi I happened to stumble upon your interesting blog when I was searching through the net for more information of GEP (its selection process and objectives) that is held in Singapore.
My family and I currently reside in Canada and left Singapore 2.5 years ago due to my husband's job commitment. When my Grade 4 son was selected for the Gifted programme here in Canada I was interested to find out how and whether it was possible for him to 'qualify' for GEP in Singapore if and when my husband's job commitment requires us to return to Singapore. I am surprise that through my limited research work these past few months I find that these two education bodies have very disparate objectives of the Gifted program and hence inevitably leads to very different way of identifying these 'gifted' students.
In Canada (at least for the Ontario) the children undergoes 2 rounds of test. The first a cognitive ability test is done provincial wide (or if one is similar to US, state wide) for all students in the grade. If the student gets above 98% both in his/her verbal and non-verbal area he/she is invited for the second stage. In the second stage, the child undergoes a one-to-one test with a psychologist to undergo a WISC-IV test. If you are familiar with the WISC test it comprises of Verbal Comprehension Index(VCI), Perceptual Reasoning Index(PRI), Working Memory Index(WMI), Processing Speed Index(PSI), Full Scale IQ(IQ), and General Ability Index(GAI). If the child then gets a 99% on the full scale IQ and 98%-99% for the rest of the areas, he/she will be identified as gifted. Due to the way and type of tests conducted I realised that here the question of 'training' or 'preparing' the child ahead of time did not pose any problem. I realised that in Canada they are interested to sieve out those 'gifted' children whether they are in the top classes or not and put them in an environment where a program (an IEP) is formulated to realise their true abilities.
As we are given the full psychological report, I now realise that my son is 'gifted' and not only just a bright boy (although he was one of the top student in his school back in Singapore and getting very good grades here). Knowing this is important as it makes us want to provide an environment here at home too where he hopefully could make use of his full potential.

I guess the objectives of the GEP in Singapore and Canada are different.


monlim said...

Nina: Thanks for sharing, I believe there's another SG mum here YY who migrated to Canada and has some experience with the gifted selection process there.

I'm not sure which aspect you're actually referring to when you say the SG and Canadian systems are different - I still believe you can't study to "pass" the GEP selection test in SG either, though that won't stop parents and tuition centres from trying. From what I know, the test assesses many of the similar aspects of an IQ test, such as spatial and verbal ability, and has done quite a good job of sieving out those who are truly gifted though it doesn't use the WISC test. But since the tests are not revealed to the public (which I think is a good thing), we'll never know for sure.

Anonymous said...

Thanks monlim for posting my comment.

Apologise if I have inadvertantly inferred that Singapore is not sieving out the true gifted children. What I was trying to allude to is that certain type of giftednesses are not sieved out. Apologise for the mistake.

From what I have read that first and foremost, in Singapore I gathered that not all P3 students sits for the test..it is opened to those that have been recommended by the school which is usually those students from the top classes.

Secondly time and again there has been a debate amongst Singaporean parents that there could be instances that for those children who are 'trained/schooled' on tackling GEP type questions could have an added advantage. This is to say that as there are some Math question that involves knowledge of higher level Math (e.g one of the question that requires knowledge of finding the area of a triangle), a child who has had the opportunity to be 'tuitioned' would be able to tackle it easily.

This contrast with the Canadian 2nd round of testing whereby what I understand from my son is that, as they are a one-to-one test with a psychologist, one area would be when he is given only analysis-type math problems to be solved one after another in a given time frame to test how far he could go as it progresses in complexity. The child is also assessed on how fast he/she solves a problem.

Finally although certainly not the least an area which I believe that the Singapore doesn't test out is the children's memory ability - a characteristics of giftedness. Here the child is given a string of memory tests.

As none of the questions are syllabus related, due to these approach, children who have not been doing well in school or even failing for that matter or labelled as problem children have been identified as gifted here in Canada. I don't believe from what I have read that Singapore's barage of test will be able to identify such cases although I can't deny that they are able to identify those students who have been doing well in school. This can be seen in the need for MOE to include in the test the child's knowledge in the subject. I hazard a guess that those gifted children who either haven't had the opportunity to have a conducive learning environment either due to financial or social reasons will still be at the bottom of the ladder without an IEP that would be able to help them. Simply said that Singapore is not too interested in the wayfarers.

Whereas in Canada when there is a limited availability due to resource problem, they will place priority to those identified gifted child that has problem in getting the grades that they should be expected to get over those that are already getting straight A+s and coping well in school.

Hence objective or purposes of GEP varies. As a Singaporean and a kiasu parent I do see the value of investing limited resources on guiding the gifted to further excel and hence do not find that either approach is better than the other....simply said that objective and emphasis and hence approach of test is different.

What I felt strange is that MOE or the Gifted Branch do not release to the parent the detailed result of the Selection test and are not sharing with the public on their criterion on how the kids are selected. Why is there a need for such secrecy or the lack of transparency?


Anonymous said...

just another add-on...thank you for the heads up on YY...will look out for YY's input in your blog.


monlim said...

Nina: Actually, it's not true that only those recommended by the school sit for the test. In the first round (screening test), most p3 kids sit for it. I do know some opt not to go for it, but this is the minority. The numbers are actually revealed during the GEP briefing (for successful candidates), ie how many sat for the test that year, how many selected etc.

I believe the "training" for GEP type questions, if it does work (and there's no way to prove this), it's only for round 1 because round 1 essentially comprise English and Maths higher order tests. Possibly you can train a child to get higher scores in the maths test through practice. Again, I don't know for sure but I'm guessing that this is because in the SG education system, English and Maths are crucial (as I've discovered!) - it's very hard to thrive in the system if you don't have a strong foundation in these two subjects.

But in the 2nd round (selection test), there is a general ability test (which tests spatial skills etc) in addition to Maths and English, and from the few examples I've heard, the Maths and English questions are not so easily studied - they're quite unconventional and really test logical thinking which I think kids who are not gifted would find it beyond them to work out.

My experience is anecdotal but I know of quite a few kids in GEP who never went for coaching and some even didn't perform exceptionally before GEP, ie teachers were surprised when they got in. But when you speak to them, you can tell they're clearly intellectually gifted.

Conversely, I know of parents of bright kids who try to coach their kids into the programme, usually succeeding for round 1 but not round 2.

So unless there's evidence, I wouldn't be so quick to say SG is not interested in the wayfarers, another ex-GEP poster mentioned that quite a few of her classmates came from humble backgrounds.

There's actually quite a lot of info given to parents on the objectives of the programme and what the tests assess, short of giving the papers and questions.

monlim said...

Nina: In case my reply comes across as critical, my apologies! Not meant to be, I'm just sharing based on my experiences. Actually, I think the SG education system is so tough that a child who doesn't have the resources/nurturing etc possibly won't do as well despite being gifted. So the GEP is potentially a great programme for identifying these kids and giving them the platform to develop their intellectual potential. To what extent it has succeeded, we'll never know for sure, but I'm pretty certain at least some have been given a leg-up in life due to the programme (just by looking at some of my daughter's classmates).

Thanks for sharing your views!

Anonymous said...

Sorry I couldn't respond to your last entry as it was after 3am when I last submitted my entry ...hence I had to call it a day/night?... :)

Actually it is really refreshing to now know some of the 'insider' things that you have shared....these are the sort of information that one cannot glean from scouring the internet.

It is really heartening to note that Singapore did indeed open the initial round to all P3 students..hence the ability to 'net' all potential candidates...I hope the first round included the cognitive type of questions that would help get those that wasn't performing too well in class. It is also good to know that the selection test did manage to identify those that require coaching. As gifted program were not catered for them they would definitely have a very stressful education journey if they have made it through and would be detrimental to such a young state of mind.

It seems that MOE is not hence the 'heartless' type that I have led myself to believe. You see I seem to be always rooting for the underdogs whenever I watch a game and when MOE couldn't give me any information on the objective of the program and what the tests asseses (although they did tell me the number of papers that would be set) I thought that they might be just interested to only groom further the bright kids. Kudos to MOE for helping especially those that wouldn't have had the opportunity to help themselves. I am glad.

By the way, I am curious from my searches it wasn't clear if MOE does release to the parent their child's assessment report be it whether they are successful or not. I was told from MOE that they treat this as confidential. I have problem in coming to terms on why the need of confidentiality as the result be it what it may be could be used by the parent to further understand their children and assist their children further. It is only through such test that a better analysis of the children's strength and weaknesses are studied.

I also wonder how a Singapore IEP is done up as compared to those that they have done here. Who reviews your children's IEP with you? Who gets involved or have a say in the formulation of the IEP and how often is this done? Over here in Canada at least with my son's school board, we have the IEP done yearly, input is from all quarters (the learning resource teacher, his class teacher, the school board and the parents) and it gets reviewed every quarterly. Once the IEP is done, the parent would have to sign and give the proper endorsement.

This is a very good exchange of information...thank you.


monlim said...

Nina: I root for the underdogs too! I always feel for the kids who flounder in mainstream classes because their parents don't have the resources to give them extra help. The SG curriculum is so accelerated these days that it's almost impossible to perform top of the group without additional coaching, IMO. Plus the overly competitive spirit can crush some of the gentler souls.

MOE doesn't release the child's assessment report - I'm not sure if there even is one or it's just a score because it isn't an IQ test. Actually, not to justify their actions but maybe it's preferable in SG cos too many parents have the kiasu mentality here, so giving an assessment report might lead to parents comparing with each other and other parents using it as a gauge to try and "train" their kids into the programme (rather than try and help their kids)! You'll be appalled at the obsessive competitiveness among some parents, often to the point of irrationality. I've met them and they're not a pretty sight.

Pardon my ignorance, what is IEP?

Anonymous said...

Sorry for using terms so loosely. Over here an IEP (Individual Education plan) is a written plan that lays the strengths and weaknesses of the child accompanied by the special program that would be put in place to leverage on their strengths and address their weaknesses for each area identified - e.g. child's behaviour, subject(s), learning abilities, social interaction, self image, leadership skills etc.

This is a life document as it would be updated continuously during assessment and evaluation of the child's achievement of annual goals and learning expectations throughout the year.

You could say that this would reflect the school board's and the principal's commitment for the necessary resources to be put in place for the special program and a basis to ensure that the child's development is on track as per everyone's (including the parent's) expectation.

From my communication with MOE, I do understand that they also have an IEP put in place for the gifted children there.


monlim said...

Nina: The GEP kids receive a feedback form every term where each subject teacher lists the areas that the child is performing adequately in and which areas need more work. There's also an open-ended portion where any teacher can add remarks.

I suspect it's not as detailed as the IEP you mention, but I know this progress is tracked both by the school and the GEP HQ. If there are areas of serious concern, eg if the child is consistently not meeting the baseline for certain subjects or if the child shows behavioural or attitude problems, usually these are identified early and the child is sent to the GEP counsellor for help, ie they are quite generous about giving chances. Taking a kid out of the GEP is usually a last resort, in the history of GEP, I think there have only been a handful of cases.

Anonymous said...

I feel that the 1st round of GEP screening test may not be fair test.

It may favours pupils with private tuitions or families who can tutor their kids as it based on school syllabus pitched at higher level. In this round, some can "prepare" for it if they really want to.

For those who may be gifted but from disadvantage background or whatever reason may not pass the 1st round but that does not mean that they will not pass the screening test which test more on the general ability.

Thus, it makes more sense to me that the general ability should be in the 1st round to screen out gifted kids whereby test is not based on school syllabus and there is no way to prepare for it.


Anonymous said...

Hi, just received letter about my ds going to sit for the GEP test. Had heard of this programme but innorance about when this test going to be so now in quite a shock, suddenly thinking about his future and if this GEP going to help him all the way and also just knew that they are private class for this programme and thinking if my ds would be in the losing side now.

But after thinking about it this few days and hit on your post and comments about GEP, well, I realise and have the same sentiments as you. If he is gifted, he is gifted and he should be able to handle all those question w/o much difficulties. My ds is in the so call 1st class in school so of course I would expect him to perform better and if he didn't make it, so be it for he already achieve way beyond my expectation.

I want him to enjoy his study in school and learn without stress and within his own ability.

Anonymous said...

With the WISC, the Full Scale IQ and the General Ability Index are not calculated together generally. The GAI is normally only calculated when there is a significantly large different between the child's highest and lowest Index scores as it would not be a good indicator of the child's ability thus the GAI is calculated. The WISC does not use percentage to indicate IQs although I might be suspecting that Anon meant that those percentages were percentile ranks. The Index scores are calculated as the "normal, general IQ points format" i.e. mean of 100 and standard deviation of 15.

I wonder though, which version of the WISC does Singapore use. I'm pretty sure they don't have a standardized/national version. Here in Australia, they use the Australian version and some questions differ from the US version and so do the norms.

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