The Big Read: Streaming – the good, the bad and the ugly side of an outdated policy
Commenting on the recent announcement that streaming will be replaced by subject-based banding, SMU Behavioural Sciences Institute Director Professor David Chan said that streaming relies too much on general instead of specific academic abilities and misses out the important information on the profile of strengths and weaknesses of the diverse abilities. He added that the problem is exacerbated if the Normal stream environment is not conducive to the development of the student’s specific abilities in particular subjects and are overall demotivating for the student to perform academically. Professor Chan said that the stigma associated with social labelling and categorisation resulting from streaming is clear and unhealthy in many ways, such as creating excessive negative stress and an overemphasis on achievement in all subjects regardless of abilities, aptitudes and interests. There is also an over-emphasis on overall academic ability and an under-emphasis and even neglect of the value of specific abilities.