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t r i b u n e . o n l i n e
the students' voice

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IQ Tests - Distress or Destress? by Lim Zhiyi

There has always been a lot of debate over the question of IQ tests, and how they fragment society, drawing a line of segregation between the intelligent and non-intelligent and discriminating against children with lower intelligence. In fact, much of society's elite, including prominent politicians and academics, advocates against IQ tests, and IQ tests have also fallen into disfavour with the general public. This issue has been of much concern in Singapore as well, with much talk about the viability of the Gifted Education Programme ( GEP ) in the recent parliamentary elections.

As a teenager who has experienced almost five years of the GEP, I would like to point out that this concern is entirely invalid. It arises from many misconceptions about what constitutes the programme, and what many do not realise is that the programme is just another separate curriculum tailored to fit students of different educational needs, just like the EM1, EM2 and EM3 streams.

Allow me to make an example of the EM1 and EM2 streams. The EM1 curriculum consists of an extra subject and covers a broader range of topics, so as to fit the students' higher academic ability. EM2 students, however, tend to focus on more specific topics to concentrate their learning capabilities on more important subjects. Like the GEP, the educational needs of both the EM1 students and EM2 students are met with different curriculums according to their academic ability, making sure that students are not overly-stressed with curriculums that too advanced for their learning pace.

So why abolish the GEP and IQ tests, when they are clearly not the cause of any separation between the students? The reason why the public is against streaming is because students of " lower " streams are not looked well upon - thus, if anything should be abolished, it should be the prejudice towards a " lower " stream, and not the streaming process itself.

Instead of attacking at what seems to be the problem, why not simply cut to the heart of the problem itself?