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MOE's New Subject Based Banding & How It Affects Secondary School Students

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

Ready for the New FSBB?

subject based banding

The FSBB framework represents a significant shift in the way students are educated in Singapore. Here's everything you need to know about the topic.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has introduced a new subject-based banding (SBB) as a move towards a more inclusive and flexible learning experience.

Traditionally, students were assigned to specific academic tracks based on their performance in a few key subjects. Meanwhile, the new SBB allows students to take different subject combinations based on their interests and strengths, regardless of their overall academic performance.

This initiative is coming to full effect in 2024 after its initial run in 2020 on 28 secondary schools around Singapore.

A year before this nationwide implementation, is your child ready for this new framework? What adjustments are due for this system change? And what are its broader effects on students?

As a tuition centre working to keep our teaching strategies up with the times, we at OVERMUGGED have laid down the facts to help students and parents alike with the transition.

Continue reading below to learn more.

What is MOE's New Subject Based Banding Framework?

lower and upper secondary students

This full subject-based banding is an educational framework that aims to provide students with greater flexibility in their secondary education by allowing them to take subjects at different levels based on their strengths and interests.

At the start of their secondary education, students are initially placed into subject bands based on their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results.

As they progress, their subject bands can change based on their academic performance and interests.

All students will receive a common certificate highlighting subject levels and marks, which will assist them in entering JC or Polytechnic in 2028.

This shift to a more customized and flexible learning experience allows students to take different subject combinations regardless of their overall academic performance, and focus on subjects they excel in while exploring their passions.

Most major schools in Singapore will implement FSBB starting from 2024, except for schools that offer their own specialised curriculum such as integrated programme schools and NUS High School of Mathematics and Science, which offers its own diploma.

How Does the Full Subject-Based Banding Framework Work?

For over three decades, Singapore has utilized streaming in schools, where students choose to study all subjects at different levels (Express, Normal - Academic, or Normal Technical) after completing their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).

Under the new FSBB system, instead of choosing between the three streams, students can opt to study for their stronger subjects at a higher level.

Here's an infographic from MOE outlining the FSBB process:

FSBB process

All subjects are categorized into three levels: General one (G1), General two (G2), and General three (G3), with G1 being the easiest and G3 being the most challenging.

To ensure that students are studying at their respective appropriate levels, the PSLE results of the student will be used to initially determine their subject level for Sec 1.

However, suppose the student shows potential in a particular subject at a higher level, as determined by their teacher's assessment and exam performance. In that case, they may be offered a higher level in that subject.

Below is an infographic from MOE showing how subject bands of each student can change during their secondary education:

subject classes

Without traditional streams, schools may assign classes in different ways - from Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) to student houses.

In Secondary 4, all students will take a common exam, and the results determine admission to JC or Poly. The final mark sheet shows all subjects, subject levels, and marks achieved for each subject.

How Will the Full Subject Based Banding Framework Affect Secondary School Students

More opportunities due to interest-based banding

FSBB offers students greater flexibility by allowing them to choose subject combinations based on their interests and strengths, irrespective of their overall academic performance.

Compared to the conventional streaming system, students were assigned to academic tracks based on how they fared on certain key subjects, while FSBB gives them more academic and career paths to pursue.

Reduced stigmatisation from mixed-form classes

In the traditional streaming system, students were labelled and grouped based on their academic performance, which could lead to stigmatization and stereotyping.

SBB eliminates that by promoting a mixed-form class for students taking Common Curriculum Subjects together, which would usually comprise

  • Character and Citizenship Education (CCE),

  • Design and Technology (D&T),

  • Food and Consumer Education (FCE),

  • Music,

  • Art, and

  • Physical Education (PE).

With this initiative, SBB aims to create a more inclusive and equitable learning environment for all students.

Better subject mastery

The traditional streaming system was implemented at a very early stage in the education system, often as early as Primary 4. In addition, students were grouped based on their performance in the PSLE.

As FSBB is implemented at a later stage, in Secondary 1, students can develop a deeper understanding of these subjects without the pressure to succeed.

In addition, since SBB takes on different subject combinations based on their strengths and interests and does not solely depend on PSLE scores, they can explore their passions further and build a stronger foundation for future studies or careers.

Thrive in the New FSBB System with OVERMUGGED

secondary schools

With the new SBB framework, secondary school students are empowered to customize their own learning journey and pursue their dreams.

Is your child ready to embrace the future of education with the SBB framework?

Trust OVERMUGGED to prepare your child achieve their full potential and thrive in Singapore's dynamic educational landscape.

Along with familiarising ourselves with new subject banding system and the revised curriculum, we have also reviewed and updated our teaching materials and methods to align with the new system.

Above all, we maintain an open communication with parents to help them understand these changes and what additional support their children may need.


Register your interest and we will reach out to you within 1-2 working days!

You can also drop us a message at 8770 2540 for further enquiries.

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