Full Subject-Based Banding Guide: For Parents & Students

March 27, 2024

G1, G2, G3...Mixed Form Classes? If the new full SBB system has your head spinning, you're not alone! Navigating secondary school just got a whole lot more complex.

Let’s go through how this new system works and how it could impact your child's learning.

Key Takeaways

  • What is it? SBB replaces traditional Express/Normal streams. Secondary school students take subjects at G1, G2, or G3 levels based on their individual strengths in each area.
  • When will it happen? The full SBB programme is effective from 2024 for the new batch of secondary 1 students. These students will take the SEC national exams in 2027 based on the programmes’ new changes.
  • How does it benefit students? The SBB system aims to boost student confidence, enrich peer interaction with mixed form classes, and expand post-secondary education options. 

What is Full Subject-Based Banding (SBB)?

What is Subject Based Banding Summary

Starting 2024, students in secondary 1 will be under the Full Subject-Based Banding (SBB) system. Here are the following changes:

G1, G2, and G3 Subject Levels

MOE introduced G1, G2, and G3 to refer to the different levels of subject proficiencies:

  • General 1 (G1): corresponds to what was previously Normal (Technical),
  • General 2 (G2): corresponds to Normal (Academic), and 
  • General 3 (G3): corresponds to the Express stream

The Full SBB system allows all students to take subjects at G1, G2, and G3 levels, according to their performance in those specific subjects. This means a student could be taking Mathematics at a G3 level while studying English at G1.

The first batch of full SBB students will also be taking their national exams based on their chosen G1, G2, or G3 subject levels.

Mixed Form Classes

Instead of being in the same form class, under SBB, mixed form classes will consist of students from different posting groups (similar to different streams). This enables every child to learn with peers of different strengths, interests, and backgrounds. In other words, students will have different classmates depending on the subject.

Lower secondary students will be grouped into mixed form classes, while upper secondary students will have different subject combinations, so their classes will naturally be mixed. Each school will also assess if mixed form classes should apply for their upper secondary cohorts.

New Curriculum for Sec 1-4

Under the new SBB system, the curriculum will change to the following:

Lower Secondary

Upper Secondary

  • Six common curriculum subjects: Art, Design & Technology, Food & Consumer Education, Music, Physical Education, Character and Citizenship Education.
  • Subjects Offered at G1, G2 and G3: English Language, Mother Tongue Language, Mathematics, Science, and Humanities subjects.
  • Compulsory subjects: English Language, Mother Tongue Language, Humanities, Mathematics, and Science offered at G1, G2 and G3.
  • Elective subjects: Additional Mathematics, Humanities, Art, Design & Technology, and Computing offered at G1, G2 and G3.

Changes to Admission: Secondary School & JC/Poly/ITE

PSLE Score

Posting Group

Subject Level for Most Subjects

4-20

3

G3

21 & 22

2/3

G2/G3

23 & 24

2

G2

25

1/2

G1/G2

26-30

1

G1

For students who just completed their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), you will be impacted by these new admission requirements when enrolling for secondary schools. 

Starting from 2024, all incoming Secondary 1 students will enter a common form class system. Their admission will be based on their PSLE results, where they will select subjects across G1, G2, and G3 levels—with G3 being the highest level.

Junior College (JC)

There will not be any changes to the admission criteria for Junior Colleges to ensure students can cope with the A-Level curriculum.

Polytechnics 

The aggregate admission score is revised from 26 to 22 points. From the 2028 intake, students will be assessed using four G3 subjects and one G2 subject, instead of five G3 subjects.

Projected Admission Criteria for JC, Polytechnics & Nitec

, Full Subject-Based Banding Guide: For Parents & Students

For more information, read the Frequently Asked Questions of Full SBB.

SBB vs Streaming: What Are The Differences?


Streaming

Subject-Based Banding (SBB)

Class Structure

Separate classes for Express, Normal Academic N(A), & Normal Technical N(T) streams

Mixed form classes allowing students of different abilities to learn together

Curriculum Flexibility

Fixed to the stream selected

Flexibility for students to take subjects at different levels based on their strengths

Learning Needs

Generalised according to stream

Tailored to individual learning needs and abilities

National Exams

O Level & N Level exams (until 2026)

SEC exams (from 2027 onwards)

Post-Secondary Pathways

Determined by stream outcomes

Offers a wider range of pathways regardless of the subjects taken at different levels

How Does the Full SBB System Benefit Your Child?

With the implementation of full SBB, every student can now select subjects based on their individual strengths and interests. But that’s not all. Here are 3 ways the new system benefits your child:

1. Gives Them A Confidence Boost

For students who excel in certain areas, the ability to take these subjects at higher levels helps foster a sense of accomplishment in their abilities. The removal of the Express, N(A), and N(T) streams is also a move towards eliminating labels that could potentially limit a student's belief in their abilities and prospects. 

2. Enriches Peer Interaction

With mixed form classes, children get to learn alongside peers with different talents, and expose themselves to a broad range of perspectives, which enriches their overall learning experience.

3. Expands Their Opportunities

Full SBB opens up a multitude of post-secondary pathways, moving away from the one-size-fits-all model to one that accommodates progression based on individual capabilities and aspirations.

Take Your Subject Proficiency to the Next Level

Secondary School Students in Classroom

With full SBB, we're stepping towards a more progressive and inclusive secondary education system. 

Now, regardless of your child’s academic abilities, every child’s PSLE score only determines their initial posting group, but there’s always a chance to improve and take on a more challenging subject level throughout their time in secondary school.

Whatever your academic aptitude may be, our tailored support for O Level/SEC math can play a critical role in helping your child improve from a G1 to G2-G3 level. 

At eipimath, this tailored support includes:

  • One-to-one & small class sizes where you can learn with your friends
  • WhatsApp and Telegram support outside of lessons
  • Curated resources such as summaries for exam revision, video lessons, and more.

 If you have any questions about our math tuition classes, feel free to reach out to us!