Since 2015, the PSLE composition format has been changed, to give room for more creativity in students' writing. Due to this change in PSLE composition, there is now a variety of composition formats across schools. Some schools have revamped their composition curriculum in line with the new PSLE composition format while others have yet to do so, especially for the lower primary.
Some parents are therefore a little confused by the variety of composition formats available.
Depending on the school your child is attending, he/she might be writing composition based on 4 pictures, 3 pictures that are related, 3 pictures that are totally unrelated or only 1 picture.
In the past, there are basically only 3 types of composition formats:
1. Four sequential pictures
2. Four sequential pictures with a question mark as the fourth picture
3. One picture
With the new PSLE composition format, the variety has increased.
So, what are the different composition formats that schools are using now?
5 TYPES OF COMPOSITION FORMATS IN PRIMARY SCHOOL
1. Four Sequential Pictures
This is the format that many of us are the most familiar with. Children are given 4 pictures that are arranged in sequence. These compositions are usually plot-driven, which means there is usually a problem or crisis in the picture. For example, a fire, a robbery, a car accident...
Many schools are still using this format for their lower primary levels (P1 and P2). They will only introduce the new format from P3 onwards.
2. Four Sequential Pictures with a Question Mark as the Fourth Picture
This is similar to the first format, except that the fourth picture is not a picture but a question mark. Such a format allows students to come up with their own ending. This is an attempt towards greater creativity and differentiation.
3. One Picture
One-picture composition is more commonly used for Primary 1 students. They are given one big picture and all they have to do is to write 5 to 8 sentences to describe the picture. This is an exercise for beginner writers. They are not ready to write an entire composition based on four pictures, so they start by writing about just one picture.
4. Three Pictures (related but not in sequence)
Some schools have already started using the new PSLE format right from Primary 1.
With the introduction of the new PSLE composition format, schools started to revamp their composition curriculum. Assessment books authors started to produce materials based on the new composition format. However, as the new format is still not a familiar one with many authors, publishers, parents and even some teachers, the composition questions (and pictures) used are a rearrangement of those used in the old format.
Let me explain.
Look at this example:
This is the old composition format. The 4 pictures are arranged in sequence. Students have to write according to the pictures and the sequence. (This is the format mentioned in Point 1 above.)
This is what some schools and assessment books have produced.
Write a composition of at least 120 words about a mistake. The pictures are provided to help you think about the topic. You may use one, two or all the pictures to write your composition. Consider the following points when writing the composition:
Instead of providing 4 pictures in sequence, they picked 3 of those pictures and jumbled up their sequence. So, the first picture might become the third or the second and so on (as seen in this example).
I have seen many schools using this format.
5. Three Pictures (not related and definitely cannot be in sequence)
Another type of 3-picture composition format that some schools are using is this.
Write a composition of at least 120 words about a family outing. The pictures are provided to help you think about the topic. You may use one, two or all the pictures to write your composition. Consider the following points when writing the composition:
As you can see, the 3 pictures are totally not related. Students are given a topic but they have the freedom to choose the scenario that they want.
I think this is very much similar to the one picture composition, because you are basically writing your story based on one out of the three pictures.
I have also seen some schools using this format.
So, these are the five different composition formats that different schools are using now.
It is important to note that no matter what format your child's school is doing now, ultimately when students are in Primary 5 and 6, they will be exposed to the new PSLE Format of 3 unrelated pictures and a given topic.
Do you know of any other format?
Which format is your child's school composition based on?
You can find out more about the new PSLE composition format HERE.