End of P3 School Year

With the final exams over, it’s time to reflect. I spend lots of time in the year devising different home learning things to work with Dar, improving areas he is weak at or just learning new knowledge. For example, we worked a lot on his Chinese composition writing and English writing. I know he’s weak in Visual Text Comprehension so we specially did many exercises on that section. I also did intense Science Revision with him for two weeks. On his own, he does assessment practice from various assessment books almost daily after school, each day a different subject. I had to mark them at the end of the day or week so I’m also doing “homework” on top of numerous things I have to handle.

Thus, I know I shouldn’t but I can’t help but be anxious about his results. Did what I do with him worked out? Did we revise enough?

SA2 Results

This time round, I was disappointed. I was not too happy with his SA2 results for Maths and Science. Despite still being in the band 1 category and above 85%, I knew he could have gotten higher if he didn’t make many careless mistakes which costs lots of marks. For me, I’m concerned about whether he improved/dropped in his own standard. Well, he dropped instead of maintaining or improved, from a 96.7% (last year) to a 93% overall (total of 4 subjects). Thus, it’s “not good”. Maybe to others, this is good enough but this is in comparison to himself, what he’s capable of.

He had been streamed into one of the best classes in the cohort for this year and so, the competition is very intense. Thus, he lost his class positions and level positions with this overall grade.

Most of the wrong answers were for questions which were so simple that it’s almost impossible to get them wrong. For the Maths, he lost 6 marks over 3 questions. Not problem sums in Section C which he got entirely correct but Section B questions that just need him to read off the weighing scale picture and bar chart and add numbers in a bar chart together (cos the reading already wrong, so calculation also wrong). Sigh! For Science, he didn’t write down what I taught him and read many simple questions carelessly, thus answering them wrong. Lost 10 marks!

It’s been three years and he still does this every year, in each exam, which made my heart tighten in disappointment each time. Yes, no matter how much we revised before the exams, taking time to go through with him, he still gets careless and makes mistakes on very simple questions. Not the difficult ones. I feel really exasperated over it and at a loss to how to help him with these. The only thing we can do is to keep telling him like a broken record that, he needs to buck up and be more serious in his work. Stop dreaming! Read properly! Check over and over again! Sigh. I find myself always saying, “something is seriously wrong with your eye!”. Yup, he finished the Maths paper early, checked twice and still didn’t spot the mistakes. *facepalm.

The surprising thing was that he did exceptionally well in Chinese. It’s his best out of all four subjects for this SA2 at 97.5% (combined- Oral/Listening/Compo/Paper2). I had thought Science would be his best because we revised the most. For Chinese revision, we only did a few mocked exam papers, revision assessments for each Sem 2 chapter. I didn’t even have time to let him revise Sem 1 chapters.

For his Chinese Paper 2, he had only 0.5 marks deducted because he didn’t know how to write a word in the comprehension answer. For Paper 1 composition, he got 14/15! I can’t believe it and actually stared at the marks column many times to make sure. When I read his composition however, I wasn’t too impressed. We wrote better compositions at home. I think the teachers were too lenient..haha. However, I noted his use of a descriptive phase about the sun, which I told him to write in our practise compositions. Maybe that particular sentence impressed the teacher. Anyway, from a boy who has trouble speaking Chinese and writing in sentences at the start of the year to such results…my hardwork of with him has paid off! (We did daily diary writing, went through compo structures and did several practice compositions). There was a great improvement in his Oral this Sem compared to last, having only 1 mark deducted from the total.

He did well in his English Paper 2 too with only 1 mark deducted. Alas, his composition was only so-so, 16/20, despite me telling him to write more descriptively and practising a lot of writing. Come December school holidays, I’m going to work more on his English Writing and get him to use better words in his composition. He wrote lots of creative phrases but I think he got too creative because they were all wrongly worded or used. E.g. “dark clouds looming in the air“.  It wasn’t necessary to write those so he got marks deducted for nothing. He also didn’t get full marks for his listening comprehension.

A Plan for Next Year

With all these results, I’m still thinking up a good plan for him next year and debating in my mind, whether to just “let go” and just let him do his own revision. However, I know he would just underperform as he’s too nonchalant about results. It doesn’t matter to him on achieving, although we had talked to him various times about it. He prefer dreaming up his own creative pursuits instead of doing work. He is so “dreamy” that he could forget about important homework or school letters (requiring signatures) to give me. He also started handing in more sloppy homework this year (some pages not done, corrections not done) since I do not check his bag or homework anymore, trusting him to do it. In reality, he does practice work set by me, only because I’m strict with him. Otherwise, he would be using his free time to work on his drawing of vehicles, creating picture books, reading or iPad games.

My only consolation is that he reads a LOT. I don’t need to tell him to do it. He reads while eating lunch, after homework, after dinner, before school starts. He reads so fast and kept asking for new books to read, so I bought him a Kindle recently for him to read e-books (He’s reading the Enid Blyton’s Adventure Series). I do not want to buy anymore paperback books now as I discovered them turning mouldy and donated almost all our entire collection away.

Also, after the exam, we started doing a Unit Study using a picture book. It is a form of lapbooking where we present several related information in the story on paper, after researching information on it. I’m still testing the effectiveness of acquiring knowledge this way. However, he seemed to find this quite fun and was enthusiastic, adding in his own ideas to decorate the pages. Look out for the images coming up on our instagram@ourbabyoflove

Brain Testing

This year, he went through several brain testing assessments, namely the ICAS and the GEP screening and selection.

For those that have not heard of ICAS, it is an independent, skills-based assessment program which recognises and rewards student achievement. The test is provided by an Australian University and many Primary Schools in Singapore let their students take the test to track their learning progress. It’s optional though and parents have to pay for the tests using edusave, so I’m not sure whether it really represents the entire Singapore P3 cohort. Since it’s a good experience, we just let him go ahead. Besides, almost all his classmates sat for the paper and his teachers encouraged it, so it seemed strange to not opt in.

However, I do wonder why they have to sit for these ICAS tests since all you get is a certificate and an analysis of their ability for different type of questions. The analysis didn’t help me much because he gave me only after the exams is over. Dar is quite blur and nonchalant about all this and it’s still a mystery when he exactly received those papers back. He dumped them into his bag and plain forgotten about it until yesterday when he discovered them in his bag and gave them to me. He said, “Cannot remember when it was given…maybe a few weeks ago??”..O_O. Therefore, the only reason for him to take the ICAS is so that we know which areas he could improve on or which subject is his best. I’m guessing that the school is also interested in learning who are their best students in each level. They want to take note of them and develop their academic strengths further.

By the way, we didn’t prepare him for any of the brain testing exams because I felt it should be based on his own strength and brain power. Hence, he just went for the tests without any studying or revision.

His ICAS results? He got a Distinction in ICAS Science earlier where he was top 4% of all the Primary 3 participants in Singapore. Looking at the papers he passed me yesterday, he got a Distinction for English too and his score was in the top 3% of the Primary 3 participants in Singapore. His Maths results were poorer and he got a 14%, getting a Credit Certificate.

As for GEP Selection Testing, he was selected for second round testing with 8 other classmates but was not successful in the second round. So hmm, he’s in the top 10% of the P3 cohort but not good enough to reach GEP status. Well, we kinda know as he’s definitely not the type to excel at brainy Maths questions. He couldn’t even do challenging Maths sums in some assessment books and needed my help all the time.

In Summary, not every high-potential kid could score well in the exams if they do not work hard. Brain testing put him in the top percent of the cohort but so what? He didn’t do well in his papers when he made so many careless mistakes nor put in effort to acquire more knowledge. He didn’t ask his teachers when he get things wrong and sometimes didn’t even bother to write down answers to wrong questions. Once he’s wrong, he just clean forgotten them.

Therefore, we kept emphasising this idea to him – You have to put in hard work. You have to work hard. If one does not constantly use his acquired knowledge or keep learning new knowledge, no matter how talented he is or how he is born with it, he would not excel in any area.

We kept telling him stories of ourselves too, that we had no parents to help us, they did not know English, gave us tuition nor help us in any way. We had to study so hard ourselves to eventually graduate from University. Now you have all the resources available, you have two graduates to help you, yet you don’t want to make full use of all these to excel.

In fact, till now, I’m still deeply disappointed with his Science since despite I taught P3 Science, set exam papers before, that I’m an insider with lots of tips for him, he just didn’t follow any of it. This shows, you can’t make a student get high marks just by teaching alone, the student has to want to do it himself.

To tackle all these, I’m reading up more on motivation and cracking my brain on how to get him to be more intrinsically motivated to excel.

Otherwise, it’s just a waste of what he was given and what we had nurtured him with.

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  1. Winniemum says:

    Hi, I have been following your blog. My kid will be in p3 next year but as a first time Mummy and not very hand on, i do not know what are the assessment books I can buy for him. Do you have any good books to recommend me please? :) thanks.