By Edmen Leong
Director – Specialised Educational Services

A summary of the presentation by Edmen Leong at the UNITE SPLD 2016 Conference.

As DAS teachers, we are encouraged at how our students progress in literacy, however, we noticed that some of our students struggled to progress in school situations, especially exams. Our students were coming to us demoralised thinking they would never make it in exams. We recognised that the success we were having in literacy at DAS was not translating to their exam scores and progress in school.

In Singapore, there are high expectations for students to do well in school, and our students with dyslexia struggle to succeed in high stakes examinations. Therefore, we felt that there needed to be a programme that focused on the skills required for success in passing exams. A group of teachers at DAS did our research by looking at our student’s past exam papers and found that our students had weaknesses in certain areas of these papers due to their dyslexia. Areas that we highlighted where students were struggling with were:

  • Grammar
  • Synthesis and Transformation
  • Editing
  • Cloze Passage
  • Comprehension

All of these areas are problems with language learning and cognition and difficulties in aspects of language that students with dyslexia have when students attempt exams. We realised that our students not only had to do well with literacy but they needed to cope with the demands of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) and they needed to be successful in that. As a result, we designed a programme for our student’s with dyslexia and the difficulties in learning they had when it came to sitting exams and in particular, attempting the English Paper 2 in PSLE.

At DAS we teach students using the Orton-Gillingham principles which is a method that is:

  • Emotionally sound – lessons are tailored to students abilities
  • Structured, Sequential and Cumulative – concepts taught one at a time and progressively
  • Direct and Explicit – Instructions, objectives and activities are explicit
  • Multisensory – multiple pathways to learning
  • Cognitive – Students understand whey each concept is taught

So when developing the English Exams Skills programme now known as PREP2PSLE programme we ensured that these principles were incorporated into our programme. We were encouraged that picking up the elements that our students struggled with in PSLE exams, and explicitly teaching these elements, they are now making better progress.

Feedback from our students and parents are very encouraging.

“I find answering the comprehension questions easier now, especially the true and false questions”

“Mark is confident in managing the paper because he has the skills to dissect the questions”

To view the UNITE SPLD 2016 presentation that Edmen made about the development of the PREP2PSLE programme click here:

The PREP2PSLE programme is available to students from Primary 3 to Primary 6. To find out more about our programme click here.