The New Social Studies Syllabus and the Structured Response Questions (SRQ)

New Social Studies Syllabus

Image taken from The Straits Times web edition of 6 Jan 2016. To read the article on the new syllabus change, click here.

The newly revamped syllabus of the GCE O-Level Social Studies has been posing significant challenges to numerous students, and even some school teachers. In place of the easier to score Structured Essay Questions (SEQ), where students can typically answer by memorising facts, the Structured Response Questions (SRQ) section requires students to come up with their own opinions and recommendations as well as to make supporting arguments for their recommendations. This demands an even higher level of critical thinking from students used to depending on model answers on various subjects, as there are no right or wrong answers here, just well argued ones.

Taking up a total of 15 marks out of 50 marks overall, SRQ questions are likely to be on pressing issues pertaining to Singapore. An example of a two-part SRQ question could be as follows (question extracts not provided here):

a) Extract 1 states that sense of belonging is important for a country as it can lead to committed citizens who will work for the good of the country. In your opinion, what can be done by the Singapore Government to foster a sense of belonging among Singaporeans? Explain your answer using two ways. (7 marks)

b) Extracts 2 and 3 show that contributions of the government and citizens are important in contributing to the good of society. Is the role of the government or the role of citizens more important in contributing to the good of society? Explain your answer. (8 marks)

In addition to showing an awareness of the issues at hand, the student must provide examples and link on how their recommendations could help solve the issue stated in the question to get the maximum number of marks.


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