An international study released in August 2017 suggests that Singapore students, known worldwide for their academic excellence also experience high levels of anxiety.
The findings emerged in a study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which conducts triennial tests called the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa). The study polled 540,000 students from 72 countries and economies to look at the connection between well-being and achievement in the Pisa tests.
The 5,825 Singapore students polled were asked to respond to statements such as: “I often worry that it will be difficult for me to take a test”; “I worry I will get poor grades at school”; “I feel very anxious even if I am well prepared for a test”; “I get very tense when I study for a test”; and “I get nervous when I do not know how to solve a task at school”.
It emerged that their anxiety levels were significantly higher than the OECD average for all five questions. For example, 66 percent of students across all OECD countries said they were worried about poor grades at school, but among Singapore students, it was 86 percent.
When asked to comment on these findings, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said the 15-year-olds in Singapore who were surveyed comprised largely of Secondary 4 students preparing for their N- and O-level examinations. “Hence… it is understandable that our students are likely to be more anxious about doing well,” said the MOE, noting that in the same survey, more than eight in 10 of Singapore’s 15-year-olds also said they enjoyed learning science. “So, we recognise that while our students are anxious about doing well in examinations, their enjoyment in learning science has not been dampened.”
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By Hazel Vincent De Paul, The Finder Kids Vol. 22
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