Singapore gets rid of ranking system from report cards, says learning is not a competition

Singapore gets rid of ranking system from report cards, says learning is not a competition

With an aim to make education free of competition, the Education Minister of Singapore Ong Ye Kung proposed the idea to stop examination ranking. Therefore, nobody should know who stood first in rank or last. Not just the rank, but the new report card format will reflect a lot of other things, including:

  • Class and level mean
  • Minimum and maximum marks
  • Underlining and/or colouring of failing marks
  • Pass/fail for end-of-year result
  • Mean subject grades
  • Overall total marks
  • L1R5 (English plus five relevant subjects), L1R4 , EMB3 (English, maths, best three subjects) and EMB1 for lower secondary levels


The main purpose of these changes is to shift the focus of children from competing to learning.

In short, there is no point comparing oneself with another.

Other changes

There will be no Primary 1 and 2 examinations in the country. The assessment forms will not be counted in overall grade.

What will be the new form of assessment?

1. With these changes, there will be a holistic discussion in classrooms, where teachers will analyse the performance of students through quizzes and homework.

2. Schools will use other ways like “qualitative descriptors”, in place of marks and grades, to evaluate pupils’ progress at these two levels.

3. Marks will be presented without decimal points for older students in primary and secondary schools so as to reduce the focus from marks

4. Parents will get the report during parent-teacher meetings.

In an address to some 1,700 school leaders earlier this week, Mr Ong said: “I know that ‘coming in first or second’, in class or level, has traditionally been a proud recognition of a student’s achievement. But removing these indicators is for a good reason, so that the child understands from young that learning is not a competition, but a self-discipline they need to master for life.

“Notwithstanding, the report book should still contain some form of yardstick and information to allow students to judge their relative performance, and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.”