Gifted Education Programme

What is Gifted Education Programme?

Tomorrow is the Gifted Education Programme (GEP)’s Screening Test for the cohort of primary 3 students in Singapore. After which, about 4,000 primary 3 students will be shortlisted to go through the selection tests in October. At the end, only about 500 primary 3 students will be admitted into the Primary 4 GEP.

During the screening test, these students will sit for English and Mathematics papers. As for the selection test, students are tested on English, Mathematics and General Abilities.

It is certainly not easy to be among the final 500 being admitted. So, I am aware of parents who send their children for private lessons to prepare them for the GEP tests.

So, what is it in GEP that appeals to parents?

Elite teachers? Smarter cohort? Better future? Distinctive curriculum? Higher emphasis on social studies? A more secured way into integrated programme in secondary school?

For this, I can’t comment.

For sure, I know Bren made it into the integrated programme in secondary school too without being in the Gifted Education Programme  in primary school. In fact, I did not even sign him up for the GEP screening test years ago. Maybe, it was a right decision then because it at least boosted Bren’s confidence as he excelled academically and topped the class in the mainstream.

If you ask for my view whether we need to let our children go through preparatory classes for the GEP tests…

Now, that it is Darren’s turn, we decided to let him sit for the GEP screening test.

However, no. We don’t embrace the rationale for pre-training for GEP tests.

As  it is defined, GIFTED means “being endowed with high general abilities” or “having exceptionally high intelligence”.

Naturally, the eventual cohort in GEP will be made up of exceptionally bright students, the curriculum will be tougher and the competition will be intense.

If my child makes it through the selection (due to forced or rigorous preparation before the tests)…

- is he able to cope well under that educational system?

- will it too stressful for him if he is not endowed with that exceptional intelligence?

- am I causing my child to end up with a low morale at the young age of 10 years old, striving everyday to catch up with the smartest lot and building early disappointment in his education life?

I decided. I would rather let Darren attempt the tests and let nature take its own course. If he is successful using his inborn abilities, then certainly he will be more ready to survive in the cohort.

Furthermore, now that Bren is in the integrated programme, I fully understand the challenge a child faces when placed with the cream of the crop and I do not wish to give Darren the undue educational stress.

Do most parents let their children go through the GEP screening test?

I do not have the statistics but in my own social circle and at least in Darren’s class, most of his classmates are sitting for the GEP screening test.

What is this General Abilities Test (GAT)?

Though our elder boy had never attended the primary GEP screening test or selection test, he has a try of the General Abilities Test (GAT) during the Direct School Admission Test to some top secondary schools. On his experience, he had to attempt many questions (which include identifying tough picture patterns) within short time frame.  I can imagine that small mind thinking smart, fast and accurate and yet  remaining calm as time ticks by. Though Bren fared very well for the GAT, there is no way that he could prepare Darren with the model questions/answers. Again, I emphasize that it depends on individual’s abilities.

So, what I am going to do is : let my child get enough sleep the night before the screening test to better focus during the test and not give undue stress. Hmm…Yes! I will let nature takes its own course.  No pressure on him or myself.  If he succeeds in being the final cohort in the GEP, I guess he is ready and able to manage.  If he does not, I believe he will enjoy his mainstream education as much as Bren did too:)

“All the best my boy!”

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