Subject-Based Banding: Perspectives of Teachers and Students


Subject-Based Banding is a system used in secondary schools that allows students to take several subjects in their learning course. The technique combines English, mathematics, sciences, and mother tongue at the secondary school level. A full Subject-Based Banding in secondary schools has various advantages for students (Chan, 2019). First, it allows the students to learn according to their ability and pace. Second, it will enable students to develop social interaction skills as they can interact in their language of choice, either English or their mother tongue. Finally, Subject-Based Banding enhances social cohesion among students, especially in non-native English-speaking nations.

Background of the Study

Ability-driven education is a paradigm that evaluates students according to their competencies in various subjects and academic fields. It allows the students to be innovative in education and apply learned classroom knowledge in the area equipped with hands-on skills (Chan, 2019). Ability-driven education is student-centered as it allows the student to show their ability while the teachers’ work guides the student on the things to learn in various modules. Teachers have mixed perceptions of this teaching paradigm; however, most of the teachers like this paradigm. On the hand, this paradigm faces several challenges during implementation. In Singapore, only two-thirds of the secondary schools were expected to have implemented full SBB by 2023.

Literature Review

Students in secondary schools have different learning abilities; while some are fast learners’ others are slow learners. However, this is not a justification for teachers to separate or neglect the slow learners in class (Wu, 2022). In Singapore, formal academic and technical-based education has been under implementation; however, it has proved non-inclusive, especially for slow learners (Toh, 2021). Teachers have faced challenges while handling slow learners and quick learners in class. Therefore, the government is implementing a change of education paradigm to the SBB model, which many students prefer since it allows them to learn at their own pace.

Problem Statement

Standard academic and technical education has pressurized both students and teachers. That is, average education has favored fast learners creating an educational gap between quick and slow learners in class. Moreover, the teachers have difficulty strategizing ways to incorporate all the students into the course according to their learning ability (Toh, 2021). Therefore, there is a need to evaluate the teacher’s and student’s perceptions of the implementation of subject-Based Banding in secondary schools in Singapore. The findings will equip the education sector with information on where or what to improve during the SBB program implementation.

Purpose of the Proposed Study

This study will evaluate students’ choices in terms of the education paradigm. In specific, the study will assess the perceptions of both teachers and students on the Subject-Based Banding education model currently implemented in Singapore. The study will evaluate the perceptions collected, the pros and cons of the SBB program, and propose solutions to identified challenges. Further, the study will suggest the anticipated or expected results per the proposed solutions, which will provide measures to observe while implementing the SBB education model in Singapore.

Research Questions

The research questions of this study will seek to evaluate the perceptions of students and teachers on Subject-Based Banding, which is newly implemented in Singapore. The research questions will guide the researcher to assess the SBB education model’s role in promoting social cohesion, social interaction, and inclusivity among all students, slow and quick learners in an ability-driven classroom. Finally, the research questions will drive the researcher to evaluate how SBB has enhanced teachers’ work in strategizing ways to include all the students in the learning process and encouraging them to excel in their vital subjects or abilities.


This study will predicate to show that Subject-Based Banding is more sustainable than traditional regular academic and technical education. The study will compare the likeability, promotion of student inclusivity, promotion of student social interaction, and learner’s ability-centralism of SBB to that of average education used traditionally in Singapore. The study’s results are anticipated to show that both students and teachers in Singapore like the Subject-Based Banding education model more than the traditional regular education.

Research Design

This study will take a mixed study design, collecting and analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data (Wang, 2019). The study will use systematic sampling to collect data from schools, students, and teachers. The data will be collected in 10-school intervals, 50-student periods, and 5-teacher intervals in the school selected. This interval will be selected based on the number of students being larger than the number of teachers and schools involved in the study.


This study will target students and teachers from schools implementing a Subject-Based Banding education program and those still implementing the traditional average academic and technical education in Singapore. The study will involve 300 participants from 10 schools, five from SBB and five from Normal education. Moreover, 100 teachers and 200 students will be interviewed and engaged in group discussions to collect qualitative and quantitative research data.


This study will use a systematic sampling method to select participants. The reason is that it will employ a manual selection process (Yh & Senin, 2020). It will be more straightforward, less time-consuming, and more economical. Moreover, the selection method is simple; it does not require preparation (Xu & Goodacre, 2018). Additionally, this method eliminates the possibility of autocorrelation, which can occur in other types of sampling. This is a problem for the researcher since two correlated variables could measure the same. Further, since there will be a physical representation of the students, there will be no need to count them, and the table will be created.

Data Gathering Techniques

The study will be mixed research, gathering both qualitative and quantitative data. Quantitative data will be collected via structured questionnaires because the study seeks to find specific data from the participants about SBB vs Normal education models. The questionnaire questions will be closed predominantly to enable the researcher to collect specific data (Lee & Ho, 2022). Further, the study will collect qualitative data from the participants using group discussions because the researcher will collect the data via observation and report.

Data Analysis

There are two types of data to be analyzed in this study; qualitative and quantitative data. Quantitative data will be analyzed using the t-test technique because the technique will enable the researcher to identify the variances in the perceptions of the students and teachers concerning the SBB education model as opposed to the standard education model. Moreover, it will help the researcher determine the sampling process’s effects on the perceptions of teachers and students on the SBB model (Lee & Ho, 2022). Moreover, this analysis is suitable for a large population.


This study has several potential applied implications. First, the SBB model will be anticipated to address and solve students’ social interaction and cohesion issues. Moreover, the SBB model will include all the students (slow and quick learners) in the learning process and encourage them to exhibit and excel in their strong points. Finally, SBB will integrate the long-time aspire ability-driven teaching and learning in Singapore, easing the teacher’s strategies to disseminate and guide students in the learning course.


Chan, D. (2019). The ‘Seven S’approach to subject-based Banding in schools. Web.

Lee, Y. J., & Ho, J. (2022). Basic education in Singapore. International Handbook on Education in South East Asia, 1-25. Web.

Tan, K. H. K. (2022). Assessment reforms in Singapore. In Education in Singapore (pp. 243-260). Springer, Singapore. Web.

Toh, T. L. (2021). Mathematics education for excellence. In Singapore Math and Science Education Innovation (pp. 137-152). Springer, Singapore. Web.

Wang, T. H., Lim, K. Y., Lavonen, J., & Clark-Wilson, A. (2019). Maker-centred science and mathematics education: lenses, scales and contexts. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 17(1), 1-11. Web.

Wu, J. (2022). Bureaucracy, meritocracy, and inequality: A critical examination of Singapore’s streaming system. In 2021 International Conference on Social Development and Media Communication (SDMC 2021) (pp. 323-329). Atlantis Press. Web.

Xu, Y., & Goodacre, R. (2018). On splitting training and validation set: A comparative study of cross-validation, bootstrap and systematic sampling for estimating the generalization performance of supervised learning. Journal of Analysis and Testing, 2(3), 249–262. Web.

Yh, I., & Senin, N. N. (2020). Effects of socio-economic status and tracking on students. Working with low‐income families through the life course: Challenges to social services (pp. 47‐61). Singapore: National University of Singapore.

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ChalkyPapers. "Subject-Based Banding: Perspectives of Teachers and Students." August 26, 2023.