Research Projects

  • 1.1 Perceptions, Policies and Practices: AfL in the Singapore Context

    Principal Investigator: Ast/P Leong Wei Shin
    Co-Principal Investigators: A/P Tan Heng Kiat Kelvin, Dr Tay Hui Yong, Ast/P Christopher Charles Deneen, Ast/P Fulmer Gavin William
    Collaborators: Dr Karen Lam

    Start to End date:  1 Jun 15 to 7 Jan 19 (Ongoing)

    The aim of this study is to establish a systematic understanding of AfL in the Singapore secondary context that may inform research, policy, practice and development. As Singapore moves away from high stakes summative assessment towards more AfL practices, such an understanding is necessary to ensure that the AfL practices being carried out are sustained and congruent with the AfL policies promoted. The complex relationships between perceptions, policies and practices within Singapore schools need to be explored. This study aims to accomplish this through a combination of surveys, class observations, interviews and focus group discussions among various stakeholders which include policy-makers, school leaders, teachers and students.

    Findings from the study will be useful in shaping future assessment policies as well as professional development and support needed in schools. The results of this study are intended to also provide a model that may further assessment research and development locally and globally.


    1.2 A Preliminary Study of Assessment Progression: Evaluation of Assessment for Learning Lessons and Summative Assessment Tasks in General Music Programme (GMP)

    Principal Investigator: Ast/P Leong Wei Shin
    Co-Principal Investigators: Dr Onishi Pamela Grace Costes, Dr Caleon Imelda Santos
    Ms Suriati Bte Suradi (MOE), Mrs Chan Yen See (MOE)

    Start to End date: 24 Nov 14 to 31-Jul-17 (Completed)

    This proposed MAF-funded research project focuses on identification of subjective-specific (Music) and localised ‘Singaporean’ formative assessment practices, developmentally appropriate music assessment tasks and standards of learning. This is a mixed-method study which involves getting a panel of Expert Evaluators to evaluate various assessment tasks and students’ works submitted by General Music Programme (GMP) teachers. The ratings and comments of the Expert Evaluators, lesson plans and interviews were then analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively. As of Jun 2016, the team is analysing 47 assessment task, 147 student works and 69 lesson plans from ten Primary schools and twelve Secondary schools over two rounds, corresponding to the four stages in the MOE 2015 GMP syllabus.

    Potentially this research will push the boundaries of professional learning for music teachers on aligning innovative teaching/learning practices with developmentally appropriate Assessment for Learning (AfL) practices and summative assessment tasks. It has also the potential to develop into a longer term study on developing a framework of assessment progression for understanding expected proficiency of standards of deep learning across different subjects. This proposed research project will be a joint collaboration between NIE’s CTL and OER research team, and Singapore Teachers’ Academy of the aRts (STAR) officers.   

    1.3 Building Teachers' Capacity for Assessment for Learning of 21st Century Skills in Mathematics

    Principal Investigator: A/P Manu Kapur
    Co-Principal Investigators: Dr Poon Chew Leng, Ast/P Lee Ngan Hoe, Ast/P Saito Eisuke
    Ms. Koh Shu Jiun, Ms. Chew Soak Cheng, Mr. Ng Yew Hong, Mr. Caleb Yee, Mr. Pow Tien Min Jaron, Ms. Siti Nazrah bte Abdul Rahman, Mrs. Loh Choy Fong, Mrs. Koh Swee Ling, Ms. Lim Hui Lin Agnes, Ms. Ong Geok Lan

    Start to End date: 1-Oct-11 to 31-Jan-15 (Completed)

    The main aim of the proposed project is to build teachers’ expertise in Assessment for Learning (AFL) of 21st century skills. This expertise involves designing appropriate tasks and activity structures that provide students the opportunities to engage in processes germane for the development of 21st century skills, particularly those of problem-solving and collaboration, mediated by appropriate tools. Instead of starting from scratch, we build on the Productive Failure (PF) research program (Kapur, 2008, 2010; Kapur & Bielaczyc, 2012), which puts forth an innovative teaching method that provides students to design solutions to novel problems. Even though students may fail in the problem solving process, this failure is the locus of deep learning as it affords students the opportunity to collaboratively generate, elaborate, critique, and refine their representations and solution strategies. Given that PF contains processes that are germane for the development of 21st century skills of collaborative problem solving, it was leveraged to help teachers in building their AFL expertise. By building teachers’ capacity to design and implement PF tasks, and iteratively understand and refine their designs by examining their effects on student learning, this would pave the way for a more sustainable model in developing their AFL expertise. 



    1.4 Understanding Singaporean Teachers' Conceptions of Assessment

    Principal Investigator: Ast/P Fulmer Gavin William
    Co-Principal Investigator: A/P Kelvin H K Tan
    Collaborators: Dr Iris C H Lee (MOE)

    Start to End date: 1-Jul-12 to 1-Jul-15 (Completed)

    This study examines Singaporean secondary teachers’ conceptions of assessment (COAs) and the influences of various contextual factors that may influence them. Using a representative survey with two-stage random sampling (at school and then teacher level), the survey uses Brown's CCOA questionnaire and a new instrument developed by the co-PIs on contextual factors. Data analyses address trends and group differences in COAs, influence of contextual factors, and relationships among COAs and contextual factors. To date, data collection is near completion and data analysis is ongoing. The findings have potential implications for the planning and design of  pre-service and in-service teacher education programs, for school-level discussion about assessment practices.


  • 2.1 Curricular-Instructional Gatekeeping in Singapore: How Teachers Enact Social Studies and Give Purpose to Citizenship Education

    Principal Investigator: A/P Sim Boon Yee, Jasmine
    Co-Principal Investigator: Dr Kho Ee Moi
    Collaborator: Ms Chee Min Fui

    Start to End date: 1-Jul-14 to 31 Jul 17 (Completed)

    A curriculum, however well designed, must be implemented to have any impact on students (Fullan, 1999). All teachers, located in the classroom, are curricular-instructional gatekeepers (Thornton, 1991, 2005). The Singapore context is characterized by the dominant role of the institutional curriculum in terms of the centralized system of education. But “[w]hatever institutional and societal constraints direct their work”, Barton (2012, p. 162) claims, “teachers have at least some latitude – and sometimes a great deal of it – in choosing materials, developing instructional activities, and selecting topics for study.” Curriculum-instructional gatekeeping in social studies is especially pertinent given that it is a vehicle of citizenship education, and citizenship is inherently contested. Despite the plethora of writing on social studies and citizenship, we know little about the enactment of both. How are teachers preparing young people for civic life? Why some teachers teach more effectively and do more than others in terms of citizenship even in the same context?

    This study focuses on how Singapore teachers enact the social studies curriculum and give purpose to citizenship education, using the concept curricular-instructional gatekeeping. It aims to provide detailed “description, analysis and explanation” (Parker, 2008, p. ix) of the enactment of social studies by up to 30 experienced social studies teachers in Singapore. The qualitative multiple case studies method will be used to provide insights and depth of understanding and practice of social studies teachers. Unlike studies carried out elsewhere that often backgrounded the role of the institution, this study subscribes to a view of curriculum as institution and practice (Doyle, 1992; Reid, 1999, 2006; Westbury, 2003; Deng, 2010). With this perspective, the negotiation of the institutional curriculum is foregrounded in teachers’ enactment of social studies. 


    2.2 Digital Storytelling for Character and Citizenship Education: A Knowledge Forensics Approach

    Principal Investigator: A/P Chen Der-Thanq Victor
    Co-Principal Investigator:  Prof Hung Wei Loong, David
    Collaborators: Dr Victor Lim Fei, Ms Elaine Jee, Ms Carissa Chui

    Start to End date: 12-Sep-17 to 12-Feb-20 (Ongoing)

    This study aims to explore the use of digital storytelling (DS) for Character and Citizenship Education (CCE). We conjecture that DS’s unique design has the potential to promote identity formation and relationship building (i.e., two big ideas in CCE). Literature review shows five types of DS practices as complement to schooling, reflection on experience, embodiment of agency, construction of meaning, and formation of identity. We observe that criticality is less discussed in current literature. Hence, we propose a knowledge forensics digital storytelling (KFDS) to address the issue of developing criticality for decision making, a third big idea in CCE. This approach encourages storytellers to conduct a thorough review of “case file” of claims, followed by a “verification” of claims, and “exploration” of alternative perspectives. It will then end with a “report” of own critical voices (in form of digital story). We adopt a four-cycle design-based research study on KFDS in Primary 5 CCE classrooms. Data of lesson observations, students’ critical reflections and focus group discussion, teacher interviews will be collected and analysed with thematic analysis, complemented by multimodal analysis of students’ DS artefacts. This study will advance the theoretical understanding of DS and yields the design principles of KFDS.


  • 3.1  Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: Exploring the Use of Culture in Singapore’s Low Progress Classrooms

    Principal Investigator: Ast/P Lim Tze-Wei Leonel
    Co-Principal Investigator  Dr Tan Lip Thye, Michael
    Collaborator: Mr Leslie Toh,  Dr Eisuke Saito 

    Start to End date01-Jan-16 to 31-Jan-18 (Completed)

    The main objective of the present research project is to explore the use(s) of culture in teaching and pedagogy in Singapore’s low progress classrooms.  Specifically, the project aims to (a) identify what constitutes culturally relevant pedagogy in the classrooms of our low progress learners, (b) describe and document how teachers in low progress classrooms are engaging in these pedagogies and how students are responding to it, and (c) identify opportunities for the improvement of pedagogic practices in low progress classrooms through informing the design of teacher education and professional development. Portraiture (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997) or ethnographic case studies of five teachers of low progress learners will offer us valuable insights into the ways they espouse the principles of culturally relevant pedagogy in their daily teaching.


    3.2 Exploring the Designing of a Growth Mindset Curriculum in a Singaporean School

    Principal Investigator: Dr Christina Ratnam
    Co-Principal Investigator  A/P Chen Der-Thanq Victor
    Collaborator: Dr Karen Lam (MOE)

    Start to End date01-Jan-16 to 31-Jul-18 (Completed)

    This is a baseline study with the aim to describe what is happening in a Singapore school in its endeavour to design its school’s own curriculum to improve the practice of teaching and learning. It will explore the interpretation of a growth mindset curriculum in the Singaporean context, and how school leaders prepare for the implementation of such a curriculum. It is recognised that the Singaporean high-stakes examination culture has engendered a fixed mindset with its negative side effects in our society. How can we nurture a growth mindset (e.g. resilience; learning from productive failure; capacity to adapt, change and grow) in our context? We would like to study how the curriculum leaders of a Singaporean school interpret and envision the concept of growth mindset, and how they will translate this concept into curriculum (e.g. in pedagogical and assessment practices). Through this research effort, we hope to be able to develop a growth mindset curriculum that is unique to the Singaporean educational context, maintaining the rigor of a quality curriculum yet nurturing a citizenry with a growth mindset.


    3.3 Translating Productive Failure in the Singapore A-level Statistics Curriculum

    Principal Investigator: A/P Manu Kapur
    Co-Principal Investigators: Ast/P Lee Ngan Hoe, Dr Chua Lai Choon
    Collaborators: Mr Ng Hao Jin, Mr Kuek Cheow Teck, Marcus

    Start to End date: 1-Jul-14 to 31-Dec-17 (Completed)

    Productive Failure (PF) is a learning design that engages students in generating solutions to novel problems first before teaching them the concept. While students typically fail in their problem-solving efforts, their sub-optimal solutions can be a productive resource in preparing them to learn better from subsequent instruction. Since 2007, we have worked with 14 schools and close to 100 teachers and 6000 students in Singapore to establish a strong proof-of-concept for PF. Our results consistently show that students in the PF condition outperform their Direct Instruction (DI) counterparts on conceptual understanding and transfer, without compromising performance on procedural fluency. Given PF’s positive learning outcomes, the Ministry of Education’s (MOE’s) Curriculum Planning and Development Division’s (CPDD’s) Mathematics Unit has agreed to leverage its existing processes and structures to work with us to translate the learning design across key concepts in the Singapore A-level Statistics curriculum in close collaboration with the Junior Colleges (JCs). Such a translational effort will help JC students experience deeper learning of statistical concepts.


    3.4 Through the Lens of the School: School-based Curriculum Innovation (SCI)

    Principal Investigator: A/P Chen Der-Thanq Victor
    Co-Principal Investigators: Dr Mardiana Abu Bakar, Dr Hairon Salleh, Dr Jan Ming Fong, Dr Catherine Chua

    Start to End date: 1-Nov-11 to 30 Apr 15  (Completed)

    Schools in Singapore have developed diverse approaches to their own School-based Curriculum Innovation (SCI) frameworks, ranging from the Future Schools (started in 2008) and their focus on IT integration in teaching and learning; and other schools in the innovative design of curriculum, assessment, or pedagogy. However, there have been few studies on school- based curriculum innovations. There is a general lack of studies on whole school innovations in the context of whole school-based reform.

    This project is taking a holistic approach in developing this baseline research of curricular and pedagogical reforms of Singapore schools. It is significant in 2 ways: one, the story of the school’s SCI journey is developed through piecing together the perspectives of different stakeholders on SCI implementation on a whole school level; and second, an ethnographic approach in our second phase traces not only the SCI processes in practice, but also more intimately, teachers’ agency and informal interaction with colleagues and students to build a comprehensive picture of SBCD enactment and what it means to its participants. The coverage of diverse schools also contributes to the building of a conceptual framework to understand curriculum innovations in Singapore.


    3.5  New Media Literacy of School Students in Singapore

    Principal Investigator: A/P Chen Der-Thanq Victor
    Co-Principal Investigators: Dr Jey-Yi Li, Dr Lee Ling

    Start to End date: 1-Sep-10 to 30-Nov-12 (Completed)

    Singapore government recognizes the significance of the global new media culture and the need to prepare younger generation to meet the requirements of new media society. New media education policies and intervention requires the backing of research-based evidence that provides an objective assessment of the current state of new media literacy as well as the desired state of achievements. This project is a survey study that assesses the level of new media literacy of students in the Singapore schools.

    This project researches on the scope of new media literacy and develop a conceptual framework. In addition, the existing literature has no mature quantitative instrument to measure new media literacy. This project will contribute to the new media literacy research by developing and validating a survey instrument to measure students’ new media literacy.

    The findings from this project will inform the Ministry of Education (MOE) Singapore policies related to new media education. Specifically, the project will help MOE identify the set of essential media literacy for students, and revise the existing set of baseline ICT standards for students to equip our students with the essential set of new media literacies for both formal and informal learning environments.



    3.6  PERI Qualitative Case-Studies (Baseline)

    Principal Investigator: Dr Christina Lim-Arasaratnam
    Co-Principal Investigators: A/P Christine Lee Kim-Eng
    Collaborators: Dr Matthew Atencio, Dr Mardiana Abu Bakar 

    Start to End date: 1-Dec-10 to 31-Jul-12 (Completed)

    In 2009, the Primary Education Review & Implementation (PERI) committee recommended changes to primary education to ensure that our students can thrive in a fast-changing and globalized future. This qualitative study was commissioned by MOE to serve as a baseline evaluation study of the implementation of the PERI recommendations in 2011. Baseline findings can be used as a benchmark for comparisons with data collected in the future when the implementation of PERI interventions is more stable and when the impact of PERI is more evident.  As importantly, the baseline findings also serve a formative purpose to improve the delivery of PERI interventions by providing PERI AC and its respective sub-committees a better idea of how the different stakeholders perceive PERI, and of the successes and challenges they encountered while implementing PERI interventions in the first two years. This study comprised a series of qualitative case-studies of three PERI and three non-PERI schools. These case-studies surfaced rich data on how schools, teachers and students experience and perceive the implementation of PERI interventions.



    3.7  STEP* for the Future Investigating Pedagogical Change in New Approaches to Learning and Teaching in the Knowledge Age

    Principal Investigator: A/P Manu Kapur
    Co-Principal Investigator: Mr John Ow Eu Gene
    Collaborator: A/P Katerine Bielaczyc

    Start to End date: 1-May-11 to 31-Jul-13 (Completed)

    This project advances understanding of pedagogical change necessary to support new approaches to learning and teaching in the Knowledge Age. A better understanding of these pedagogical changes can inform how teachers support student learning through new pedagogic approaches in the Knowledge Age. Ideas First is one example of these new approaches. It is a full two-year Science programme co-designed with primary school teachers that has been operating in fifteen primary 3 and 4 classrooms at Townsville Primary School since 2006. This programme is based on the vision of a Knowledge Building Community (KBC) where students work to advance the science understanding of the classroom community by engaging in research, experimental investigations and classroom discourse (Scardamalia, 2002). To understand pedagogical change in Ideas First, a corpus of classroom videos, student artifacts and representational forms collected in the Ideas First project over the past 5 years was analyzed. The investigative analysis undertaken in this project informs the following themes, how teachers work to understand students’ learning, develop representational practices for making knowledge and processes for creating knowledge visible for reflection; and engage in pedagogical moves to support students' inquiry. Implications for professional development are drawn from the themes.


  • 4.1 Finding Meaning and Purpose: What Are Our Youths Telling Us?

    Principal Investigator: A/P Heng Huan Gek, Mary Anne
    Co-Principal Investigator: Dr Jiang Heng
    Collaborators: Dr Gavin Fulmer, Dr Tan Liang See, Dr Tan Chee Soon (NIE), Dr Siok Kuan Tambyah (NUS)

    Start to End Date: 3-Mar-14 to 30-Jun-17 (Completed)

    Educational change scholars in recent years have called for a focus on students as partners in change and leadership (Hargreaves & Shirley, 2009). To prepare students for rapidly-changing, complex and uncertain global societies, researchers argue that we should be asking bigger and more fundamental questions. What are schools doing to help students use the knowledge and skills they learn in school in their own lives and aspirations? This is not about the academic motivation to study hard and get good grades. Rather, this is about the purpose behind why schooling is important and about why students should care about what they learn.

    This study investigates whether adolescents in Singapore schools have meaningful purposes to commit themselves to, what the nature of adolescent purposes might be that inspire them, how adolescents have developed such purposes and meanings, and what we can do to help more students find clear purpose in life. Using questionnaires, focus group discussions and interviews with adolescents in six case schools, this study is one of the first studies in Singapore to uncover adolescents’ tacit sense of meaning and purpose underlying their learning, school and life experiences and socio-cultural support available.

    This study seeks to open up discussions about what is good education, and reconnect with questions of purpose and meaning and what these should look like in our schools. What our youth tell us about purpose and meaning can become much more than a guidepost or inspiration. These indicators tell us about the wellbeing of our children and can become an organising principle for curriculum decisions, educational policy and governance.

    4.2 Singapore Big Math for Little Kids: Developing Understanding of Foundation Mathematics Among Identified, Low-Achieving Primary 1 Students

    Principal Investigator: A/P Heng Huan Gek, Mary Anne

    Start to End Date: 18-Mar-09 to 30-Jun-10 (Completed)

    Research has shown that all children are capable of learning mathematics at a young age. Children do not need to be prepared and made ready to learn (Greenes, 1999). Children possess basic mathematics concepts and skills and engage readily in mathematics through informal and incidental learning. Moreover, young children are capable of dealing with a comprehensive and challenging mathematics curriculum (Ginsburg, 1999). When children commence school and are presented with advanced concepts and skills, knowledge gaps emerge between children who have strong mathematics (and language) competencies and those with weaker competencies.

    This project examined the perceptions and understandings of ten Primary 1 and 2 Singapore mathematics teachers as they learned to use clinical interviews (Ginsburg, 2009) to understand students’ mathematical thinking. This study challenged teachers’ pedagogical assumptions about what it means to teach for student understanding. Clinical task-based interviews opened a window into students’ knowledge, problem-solving and reasoning, and helped teachers reflect on their teaching and assessment of student learning. Teachers also learnt about what it means to establish a culture of thoughtful questioning in the classroom and developed an emerging awareness that this requires a readiness to hear students’ ideas and connect informal or invented strategies with classroom mathematics.

    4.3 Designing for Productive Failure

    Principal Investigator:  A/P Manu Kapur
    Co-Principal Investigator: A/P Katerine Bielaczyc
    Collaborator:  Mr Ng New Hong

    Consultant: Prof. Michael Jacobson

    Start to End Date: 12-May-09 to 30-Sep-12 (Completed)

    The thrust of the Productive Failure (PF) research is to design and understand conditions under which engaging learners to persist in complex problem solving prior to the learning of a novel concept, which often results in failure as seen through conventional lenses of accuracy, efficiency and performance success, is more productive than a priori structuring of the process of learning and problem solving. After initial studies demonstrated potential benefits of PF, we expanded the evidence base for PF across multiple curricula units, subjects, grade levels, and schools in Singapore. Mixed-method, quasi-experimental design studies were conducted, and over three years, we uncovered the PF design principles, and found that (i) PF students significantly outperformed their counterparts in the traditional classrooms in conceptual understanding and transfer problems without compromising procedural fluency(ii) students with significantly different mathematical abilities were not as different in terms of their ability to generate multiple solutions in problem solving; and (iii) students’ solution generation capacity predicted how much they learnt from PF. Findings suggest that the PF design combines the benefits of exploratory problem-solving and instruction and is a promising way of maximizing the learning potential in the classroom.

    4.4 Implicit Social Cognition as a Predictor of Academic Performance

    Principal Investigator: A/P Manu Kapur
    Co-Principal Investigators: Dr Dario Cvencek, Dr Andrew N Meltzoff

    Start to End Date: 1-Jul-12 to 31-Sep-13 (Completed)

    Recent studies suggest the belief of mathematics as a male domain has an impact on female’s mathematics performances (e.g., Dweck, 2008; Guiso, Monte, Sapienza, & Zingales, 2008). Such math-gender stereotype was also found in Singapore’s female students (Cvencek, Meltzoff, & Kapur, 2014), but unlike their western counterparts, Grade 4 Singapore female students outperformed male students in international assessments. Given this intriguing trend, the current study aims to examine factors predicting students’ mathematics performance. In line with Greenwald et al. (2002)’s balanced identity theory, this research explored the relationship of the three social cognitive constructs (i.e. gender identity, math self-concept, and math-gender stereotype) and their effect on Singapore students’ mathematical achievement. Primary school students (n=299) were assessed implicitly via implicit association test (IAT) and explicitly via interview and standardized math achievement test. Findings show that (i) an implicit, but not explicit, math self-concept was found positively correlated to math achievement; (ii) a stronger math-gender stereotype (i.e. math=boys) led to a stronger math self-concept for male students and a weaker math self-concept for female students; and (iii) only implicit math-gender stereotype was found positively correlated to math achievements. Implications for targeted interventions were proposed.

  • 5.1  Teachers’ Engagement in Lesson Study for Learning Community: Shaping Teachers’ Beliefs about Students from Disadvantaged Social Backgrounds

    Principal Investigator: Ast/P Jiang Heng
    Co-Principal Investigators: A/P Christine Lee Kim-Eng; Ast/P Choy Ban Heng

    Start to End date: 01-Jan-16 to 31-Dec-18 (Ongoing)

    Drawing on cultural sociology theories, this exploratory study examines the lived experiences of a group of teachers engaged in lesson study in two Singapore elementary schools serving for students from disadvantaged backgrounds and examines the mixture of cultural meanings appropriated by them for shaping their understanding and actions when working with these children. The primary purpose of this proposed study is: (1) to acquire an in-depth understanding of the nature of Singapore teachers’ beliefs about diversity based on ethnicity, social economic status, and language, and how they enact these beliefs during the process of participating in a lesson study for learning community (LSLC); and (2) to identify the factors during the LSLC process that mediate teachers’ understanding of their roles of working with students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Findings will contribute to the developing of a plan for policymakers, teacher educators, school leaders, and teachers to better serve the needs of students from diverse background.

    5.2 Exploring the Variety in Lesson Study: Unpacking the Variety from Cases in Singapore

    Principal Investigator: Dr Christina Lim-Arasaratnam
    Co-Principal Investigators: A/P Christine Lee Kim-Eng; Dr  Jiang Heng
    Collaborator: Dr Tay May Yin

    Start to End date: 1-May-13 to 30-Sep-15 (Completed)

    The spread of Lesson Study (LS) in Singapore schools has been phenomenal since it was first introduced in 2004, with the approach widely implemented as a tool for promoting Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Research on LS would contribute to our understanding of teacher effectiveness in implementing new and diverse teaching and assessment strategies, set in the context of in-service professional development. With several schools utilizing LS as a platform to develop PLCs and to promote teacher PD, it becomes crucial to unpack both the variety and quality that exists within Singapore lesson studies in order to better understand and evaluate this recent PD effort. While variety allows for greater opportunities and possibilities of adapting LS to different educational contexts, we draw attention to the challenges and concerns that arise from the different interpretations of the process and outcomes of LS. We intend to unpack the variety of Singapore LS by examining the structure and implementation processes, teachers’ understandings of the processes and outcomes of LS, and teachers’ experiences and views on LS. The overarching research question for this study is: What are the critical features in Singapore’s varied approaches to lesson study and how do they support or impede teacher professional development? 



    5.3 Designing and Piloting Web-based Video Cases to Build Online Community of Practice for Teachers and Students in Mathematics Problem Solving

    Principal Investigator: A/P Fang Yanping

    Start to End date: 1-Apr-09 to 30-May-11 (Completed)

    This Project built on two previous four-year CRPP projects, "Developing Repertoire of Heuristics for Mathematical Problem Solving” that videotaped and analyzed classroom teaching and learning and designed cognitive tools to promote problem solving practices. Acting upon the findings that strongly indicated a demand for bridging between arithmetic at upper primary and algebra learning in lower secondary  levels, researchers, in this new project, first videotaped a unit of 9 lessons to capture one teacher’s attempt in his Primary 6 classroom to bridge algebra learning with other heuristics students had been taught, mainly the model method. They then analyzed these lessons, the post-lesson interviews on the teacher’s rationale of teaching and artifacts of student work to inform the development of video cases. An online learning environment was built subsequently to anchor the video cases that allow teachers to view through streaming, respond to carefully designed guiding questions and share and discuss their responses with colleagues in a web forum.  Such online learning was piloted by all teachers at the case teacher’s school facilitated by the case teacher himself and the math committee after researchers conducted workshops to familiarize them with the online learning environment and facilitation skills. Findings from the pilot indicated increased teacher awareness of the bridging issues and how to attempt bridging in their own math classrooms. Non-math teachers also learned alternative ways of building a classroom culture to foster student sense of ownership of learning.


    5.4 Strategies for Primary and Lower Secondary School Reform to Improve Equality* in Education (funded by Toyota Foundation)

    Principal Investigator: Ast/P Eisuke Saito

    Co-Principal Investigators: A/P Masatsugu Murase, Mr Atsushi Tsukui
    Collaborators: Mr Masaaki Sato, Prof Vu Thi Son, Mr Phan The Si, Mr Nguyen Van Khoi, Ms Naomi Takasawa, Ms Khong Thi Diem Hang, Ms Nguyen Diem Anh

    Start to End date: Oct-12 to 30 Oct 2014 (Completed)

    This project examines factors that promote and inhibit (1) lesson reform, (2) school reform and (3) local/parental participation in schools implementing the principles of lesson study for learning community (LSLC) in Vietnam.  In the first year, data were collected based on interviews and observations of and reflections on classroom practices.  In the second year, while classroom observation and joint reflection on observed lessons were continued, opinion surveys were conducted, targeting 596 pupils in both primary and lower secondary levels, 230 teachers and 102 parents, as well as 23 administrators. 

    During the project, one of the targeted schools grew as a strong example of LSLC with good quality practices, sustained for more than a year. The research team collaborated closely with Ministry of Education and Technology (MOET) and LSLC has now become one of the key national policies in Vietnam.


    5.5  Understanding Teacher Learning Communities as Support for Implementation of Computer Simulations for Physics Conceptual Instruction

    Principal Investigator: A/P Chen Der-Thanq Victor

    Co-Principal Investigators: A/P Lee Kim Eng, Christine, Prof Hung Wei Loong, David, Mr Wee Loo Kang Lawrence, Ast/P Fulmer Gavin William

    Start to End date:1-Jul-15 to 30-Jun-18 (Ongoing)

    Science instruction is increasingly drawing on virtual and interactive technologies, i.e. simulations, to help students visualize core scientific concepts (McElhaney & Linn, 2011; Wu & Huang, 2007), and then to propose, consider, and test competing models to explain the concepts and related phenomena (Schwarz et al., 2009). Visualization plays a major role in the advancement of the subject (Kozhevnikov, Motes, & Hegarty, 2007; Lyna, 2008), and model-focused instruction has been increasingly emphasized (Fulmer & Liang, 2013; Liang et al, 2012). While a growing number of simulations have been developed, there is yet sufficient understanding of how teachers can incorporate simulations into classroom instruction, and how this impacts students' learning of the topics. In this study, we adapt simulations for topics within the local secondary and pre-university science syllabi, and then conduct a progressive sequence of professional development workshops. We also explore the starting and nurturing of a teacher learning community (TLC) that would support the pedagogical use of simulations. Data in the form of interviews and workshop observations will be collected and analyzed to unpack the teachers’ perceptions of simulation implementation in classroom, as well as  to gain nuanced understandings about a TLC’s inception and its growth trajectory in Singapore.


    5.5   Exploratory Study of Singapore Teachers' Implementations and Experiences of Differentiated Instruction

    Principal Investigator:  Ast/P Heng Tang Tang

    Co-Principal Investigator: A/P Tan Heng Kiat Kelvin

    Start to End date:3-Jul-17 to 2-Mar-20 (Ongoing)

    Differentiated Instruction (DI) is a systematic approach in which teachers modify curriculum, teaching and learning activities to honour the broad range of student backgrounds and maximise their learning opportunities and capacities (Tomlinson, 2001). Interest in DI in Singapore has been growing due to the recognition of increasing diversity in Singapore’s society and classroom (Department of Statistics, 2016). Ten years since the rhetoric of differentiation surfaced and policies shifted to attend to diverse learners, there is little knowledge around how Singapore teachers have been accommodating diverse learners in their classrooms. At the same time, most studies of DI are located within the North American context, begging the question of how curriculum and pedagogical approaches diffuse across educational, cultural, structural, and political contexts. This study seeks to understand how teachers in Singapore implement DI, the successes and obstacles they face, and how their implementation and experiences of DI change over time. Primary and secondary teacher-participants in this qualitative study will be engaged in ethnographic tools, like interviews and participant observations. In describing Singapore teachers’ implementation, we hope to deconstruct their understanding of DI and examine how they integrate DI in their existing practices.