In 2024, Full Subject-Based Banding (Full SBB) will replace streaming in secondary schools with academic streams. Full SBB offers a more flexible approach to education, allowing students to customize their learning based on their interests, aptitudes, and learning needs. This article answers some common questions about the transition to Full SBB.
Streaming was introduced four decades ago to address the high dropout rate in secondary schools. It allowed students with different academic abilities to learn at different paces. While it significantly reduced the dropout rate, there were downsides, including the stigmatization of certain streams and the lack of customization for individual subject strengths. Full SBB aims to address these issues by giving students the freedom to take subjects at different levels based on their abilities and interests.
Full SBB has been implemented in phases since 2020, allowing students to customize their learning at the subject level. They can take some subjects at a more demanding level while opting for a less demanding level in others. This flexibility allows students to adjust their subject levels as they progress through their secondary school journey, accommodating their changing strengths and learning needs.
Under Full SBB, students will be assigned to one of three Posting Groups based on their PSLE scores. However, unlike the previous streams, these Posting Groups will not define students’ identities or limit their access to post-secondary pathways. The groups will only facilitate students’ entry into secondary school and ensure a diverse student profile within schools.
While Full SBB will be implemented in all schools with the streaming system, schools catering to specific student profiles, such as those offering the Integrated Programme, Crest Secondary School, and Spectra Secondary School, will not adopt Full SBB as they have specialized programs for their students.
The learning experience under Full SBB will differ from traditional streaming. At lower secondary levels, students will be placed in mixed form classes with classmates of different profiles and strengths. They will spend a portion of their curriculum time in these mixed form classes, studying subjects like Art, Character and Citizenship Education, Design and Technology, Food and Consumer Education, Music, and Physical Education together. Core subjects like English Language, Mother Tongue Languages, Mathematics, Science, and Humanities will be taught at different levels according to students’ strengths and learning needs.
In upper secondary levels, students will have the opportunity to take elective subjects at a level that aligns with their strengths, interests, and post-secondary aspirations. Throughout their schooling years, students will have the flexibility to adjust their subject levels based on their learning needs.
Full SBB aims to provide a more inclusive and customized education for secondary school students. By allowing students to tailor their learning based on their individual abilities and interests, Full SBB promotes a holistic educational experience that prepares students for their future pathways and instills a love for learning.