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Changes in English Language components from P4 to P5


Even as I prepare to bid a fond farewell to my P6s , we begin to prepare for the new classes at Thinking Factory. There will be my current students moving up one level and new students joining us. While the move from P5 to P6 is an important one, my post today focuses on the P4s moving on to P5 level.

While the PSLE year is the more important of the two, the leap in English Language from P4 to P5 can be quite daunting, especially in languages. This is the year when some students watch their marks take a dive in the first part of the year. It can be quite surprising for a student who usually scores 48/50 for English in P4, score 69/95 in P5. Obviously, with hard work and perseverance those numbers will improve but as a teacher, my aim is to minimise the drop in grades from as early as CA1.

The new ruling to reduce the number of examinations in primary school have allowed P5 students a grace period to get used to the new components and demands. I applaud such a move. However, the general idea I get from my students from different schools, is that these rules are left to the discretion of each individual school to implement. Thus, some schools still have CA1, and all the exams following. Others, break up the SA1, giving oral in August and Writing in September. Others simply rename each examination. What we know for sure, is that every school has the full P5 English SA2.

So, what do the P4 students need to know about the changes in P5 year when it comes to the English Language?

Changes in the length of Paper 2

Paper 2 is now a much longer paper and broken up mainly into 2 parts.

Booklet A – 28 marks. This tests the students’ grammatical, vocabulary and comprehension knowledge and skills. This section is set in multiple choice questions, which unfortunately, doesn’t guarantee that it will be easier for the student.

Booklet B – 67 marks. This section still tests the students’ above knowledge and skills, however,  it is more challenging than Booklet A. There will be new rules to learn (Synthesis & Transformation), honing in the ability to hunt for clues in a passage (Vocabulary Cloze), being adept at spelling and identifying grammatical mistakes (Editing) and learning the skills of sequencing, comparing, and inferring (Comprehension Open-ended).

Changes in Writing

Higher expectations in composition writing and introduction of a new component, Situational Writing.

Composition – 40 marks

Marks for compositions will be out of 40 marks instead of 20. The weightage of Language and Content is evenly broken up into 20marks each. With such an increase in marks, students need to ensure that their grammar and sentence structures are good to score in Language. They must also ensure that they have used the theme well and have relevant and descriptive plot to score for Content.

Situational Writing – 15 marks

This tests the students’ skill in writing clearly and concisely, as well as, the students’ knowledge of formal and informal letter writing formats.

Changes in Oral

Oral – 30 marks

This is broken up into Reading which is now 10 marks, instead of 6 marks.

And Stimulus-based conversation, which is out of 20, instead of 10 marks. Thus, expectations of the students’ responses in SBC are much higher in P5 than in P4. Aside from being able to respond with clear responses, personal examples/experiences and opinions, the student also needs to display a great deal of confidence and general knowledge of a topic, be animated when discussing a topic and not fidget (surprisingly, this is easier said and done.)

Changes in Listening Comprehension

Listening Comprehension – 20 marks

This last component is probably the most manageable, though the questions can get quite complicated and not so straight forward anymore.

Now that you know what to expect from the leap from P4 to P5, what are the ways that we can help our children cope with the more demanding changes?

In my next post. I will write about what we usually do at Thinking Factory to help our students manage the changes, from the start of October of each P4 year.


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