Curriculum Implementation in Early Primary Schooling in Singapore (CIEPSS) - Stage 1

Project Number
OER 47/08 MS

Project Duration
April 2009 - February 2011


This one-year project is the first stage of a planned, extended investigation into the on-going implementation of recent policy innovations that influence pedagogies, curriculum development, instructional practices, and student outcomes in P1 and P2 classrooms in Singapore. The full study will provide in-depth analyses of local contextual conditions which impact on the work of policy developers and implementers at all levels: school, cluster, zone, government. It will lead to a more complete understanding of the specific, local challenges of policy implementation. It will provide evidenced-based recommendations for effective and sustainable curriculum implementation processes in Singapore. Teachers and school leaders are struggling with what they identify as a lack of clarity in curriculum initiatives (Dixon et al., 2008; Wright & Gan, 2006). The implementation process is complicated by the number of initiatives and the diversity of approaches across these. This study examines the diversity of implementation processes as they move horizontally and vertically through layers of policy enactments. This is an evidence-based proposal. Each of the proposed methods of data collection and analysis were trialled and refined during the SEED pilot study, undertaken with a small number of schools in 2008 (Dixon et al, 2008). The research will combine case study and classroom observational coding strands and findings will be synthesised from both facets of the study to provide rich, valid results with strong explanatory power. The first stage, as in this proposal, will include initial data collection (observations, interviews and artefact collection) for a case study and video data collection for classroom observation in one zone. Data analysis from Stage 1 will be mutually informing across the case study and classroom observations. A subsequent grant for Stage 2 will not only continue to address the initial research questions but will also follow up on questions/issues which arise from the observations and need a deeper/more longitudinal investigation to resolve. Stage 1 will cover the project start-up; Stage 2 will be overlapped in time and purpose and interlinked conceptually. The study will inform innovation work and facilitate school and teacher authority in curriculum development and the enhancement of student cognitive, affective, and social outcomes. Findings from the study will also inform policy-makers and future policies on ways in which policy is interpreted, implemented and enacted. This is particularly important given current initiatives for ''bottom-up'' planning and implementation in the Singapore educational landscape. Participation in the study and findings from the study will inform schools, teachers and students, about curriculum-policy links and about their roles as 'policy actors'. This is a vital step toward strengthening policy-implementation linkages within the system. This study is one of the few research projects which considers students as policy actors. With its emphasis on the processes and complexities of curriculum implementation at all levels, the project will provide a ''practical theory'' of implementation and innovation in Singapore and a model for effective curriculum implementation. This model can be used for the planning of future interventions in curriculum implementation and professional development.

Research Themes
Leadership & School Organisation

Funding Source

Related Links
NIE Research Brief Series 11-004: Curriculum Implementation in Early Primary Schooling in Singapore

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