This tutor-marked assignment is worth 45% of the final mark for COR160 Essential Academic
Writing Skills.
Submit your solution document in the form of a single MS Word file on or before the cut-off
date shown above.
Additional instructions:
1. You will need to indicate clearly on the front page your name, student ID, course title
and assignment number. Note also the following:
 Spacing (between the lines): 1.5 or double spacing
 Font style: Arial or Times New Roman preferred
 Font size: 12 preferred (min 11 and max 13)
2. Summarise using your own words as much as possible. You must document all
information that you use from another source, or you will be penalized severely. You
must acknowledge these by using the APA documentation style. This includes both intext
citations and end-of-text referencing.
3. If you copy from the work of another student, regardless of the course or programme,
you will be severely penalized. You are not permitted to re-use material from past
assignments whether in part or in full. All of the above actions can result in your failing
the TMA.
* Remember that accurate and proper documentation of information from secondary sources
is essential because SUSS takes a very serious view on plagiarism. All information from
secondary sources will be detected by the Turnitin software that your assignment will be put
through in Canvas and anything that is not acknowledged and properly documented will be
taken as an instance of plagiarism and your assignment may be failed.
You will find chapters 12a (Critical Reading), 12b (Summary, Paraphrase, Quotation), 12c
(Synthesizing) and 12d (Synthesizing Sources) in your COR160 textbook useful. Refer also
to the relevant on-line study units.
COR160 Tutor-Marked Assignment
Learning outcomes
 Cite sources in writing using the proper citation and referencing style.
 Evaluate information critically from various sources to respond to a task.
 Synthesise information from various sources in writing in response to a given task.
 Develop a rhetorical structure of an essay.
 Apply persuasive argumentative writing strategies in response to a given task.
Question 1
Parliament: DSA scheme for pupils to enter Secondary 1 directly to be expanded
UPDATED MAR 8, 2017, 12:45 AM
Calvin Yang
SINGAPORE – More students whose talents and achievements lie beyond doing well in
examinations will have a shot at getting into their desired secondary schools with the
expansion of the Direct School Admission (DSA) scheme.
From next year, all secondary schools can reserve up to 20 per cent of their non-Integrated
Programme places for pupils entering via the DSA scheme. The non-Integrated Programme
route prepares students to sit the N or O levels at the end of their secondary school education.
The scheme, which was introduced to recognise pupils’ achievements in non-academic areas
such as sports and the arts, grants Primary 6 pupils places in secondary schools before they sit
the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee
Meng said in Parliament during the debate on the ministry’s budget on Tuesday (March 7):
“With this expansion, students can better access schools with suitable programmes via DSA,
to nurture their strengths, talents and interests.”
Schools will also refine their DSA selection process.
By 2018, pupils applying for DSA will not need to sit general academic ability tests. These
tests, said Mr Ng, “inadvertently put undue focus on general academic abilities, rather than
identifying specific strengths.”
Schools can use a range of assessment tools, such as interviews and auditions, to admit
students under the DSA. Students may be admitted via the scheme if their specific talents are
a good fit for the schools’ niche programmes, such as sports, the arts and specific academic
strengths such as mathematics and languages.
COR160 Tutor-Marked Assignment
Noting that DSA should not be seen as an entry ticket to popular schools, Mr Ng added:
“Schools will focus on identifying students with specific talents and move away from
recognising strong general academic abilities.
“Students with strong general academic abilities would already be able to qualify for the
school with their PSLE results.”
The DSA application process will be simplified. From 2019, pupils can apply for DSA
through a centralised portal, using a common application form. Currently, pupils apply to
individual schools, which have their own application process.
The expansion of the DSA scheme means lifting the DSA admissions cap of 10 per cent for
autonomous schools and 5 per cent for schools with niche programmes. The cap for
independent schools will remain at 20 per cent.
However, specialised independent schools such as the NUS High School of Mathematics and
Science and schools offering the Integrated Programme (IP), where students bypass the O
levels, will continue to have full discretion in admission. The Education Ministry said schools
with IP on average take in 35 per cent of their students via the DSA scheme.
The DSA scheme, which was introduced in 2004, has been criticised for deviating from its
original intent of recognising pupils’ achievements in areas beyond grades, and giving
academically bright pupils early entry to choice secondary schools.
Last year, the ministry announced it would review the DSA to refocus the scheme to better
recognise talents in specific areas.
There were 16,000 DSA applications last year – 1,000 more than in the year before. About
2,800 pupils were successful in getting a place via the DSA.
Mr Ng said about half of those who secured a spot were admitted into the Integrated
 Adapted from article by Calvin Yang in the The Straits Times Online on MAR 8,
2017, 12:45 AM
There has been much debate in the Singapore Parliament and public sphere with regard to the
recent move by the Singapore government to expand the DSA scheme for pupils to enter
Secondary 1. The expanded DSA scheme currently allows students to apply based on academic
or non-academic strength and talent. The two articles provided below reflect some of the debate
regarding this issue.
Should the expanded DSA scheme for pupils entering Secondary 1 be further revised for it
to be reserved only for non-academic talent?
COR160 Tutor-Marked Assignment
In about 1000 words, write a persuasive argumentative essay defending your position in order
to argue for your particular stance on this issue. Other than providing supporting arguments for
the position you take on this issue, you MUST anticipate objections and provide
counterarguments to write the paper. Relevant information for you to gather would be:
 Definition of the expanded DSA scheme
 Issues (educational, economic, social or etc.) surrounding the current expanded DSA
scheme allowing applications from both academic and non-academic domains
 Arguments for upholding the current expanded DSA scheme allowing applications
from both academic and non-academic domains
 Arguments against upholding the current expanded DSA scheme allowing
applications from both academic and non-academic domains
(100 marks)
Guidance Notes
1. Your reasoning must be good.
2. Strengthen your argument with relevant examples and illustrations.
3. You may include any additional but relevant information to the ideas that have
already been given in the scenario and articles.
4. You should use at least 7 research sources to help you write your essay. The
given articles are considered as a separate research source each and can count
towards the 7 research sources.
5. You are to use credible and reliable sources to help you write this essay. Marks
will be deducted for non-credible and unreliable content.
6. Remember to use accurate grammar, correct sentence structures and a tone
appropriate to academic writing. Marks will be deducted for poor English.
COR160 Tutor-Marked Assignment
Article 1:
Schools, stop the ‘kiasu’ practice of using DSA to ‘chope’ bright
PUBLISHED MAR 31, 2016, 5:00 AM SGT
MOE should stop schools from using the Direct School Admission scheme to reserve
places for students with academic talent. The scheme should go back to its main purpose:
let in students gifted in the arts or sports.
By: Sandra Davie, Senior Education Correspondent
Last year, 126 secondary schools admitted 2,700 students through the Direct School
Admission (DSA) scheme. This is a programme which allows students to secure a
Secondary 1 place even before they sit the Primary School Leaving Examination.
The DSA was introduced in 2004 to let secondary schools broaden their admission criteria
beyond PSLE scores. Schools can admit students strong in sport or the arts, for example,
and do so even before the PSLE results are out.
According to the Ministry of Education (MOE), 60 per cent of students who secured places
through DSA over the last five years live in Housing Board flats. This compares with 81
per cent of Singaporeans overall who reside in HDB flats.
It also said that of the 126 schools enrolling students through this scheme, 18 are Integrated
Programme (IP) schools, which offer a six-year scheme allowing students to skip the O
But it declined to say how many of the 2,700 students were admitted to IP schools or the
proportion of DSA students in IP schools who reside in flats.
The DSA scheme has quickly became popular as parents began to see it as a way for their
children to enter schools that offer the IP.
The DSA scheme and the profile of students who get into secondary schools this way came
under the spotlight early this year when Jalan Besar GRC MP Denise Phua, who heads the
Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, said in Parliament that it is an “open
secret” that the DSA benefits children who have more resources from a young age.
She was referring to parents who engage coaches and send their kids to special classes to
prepare them for the DSA.
COR160 Tutor-Marked Assignment
Ms Phua brought up a valid point, but there is a more urgent reason why the scheme needs
to be reviewed.
Not many people are aware of it, but some schools have been using the DSA scheme to
admit students on the basis of academic strength. This includes admitting those from the
Gifted Education Programme (GEP), an elite programme for the academically gifted.
Like Ms Phua, I had been concerned about the lack of diversity in the top schools, so I
cheered the move when the DSA scheme was launched in 2004.
I thought – at last a scheme that allows secondary schools, including the top ones, to admit
students based on not just their academic ability, but also their talent in sport and the arts. It
will draw a different group of students and inject more diversity into the student bodies in
the top secondary schools.
But sadly, within a few years, both schools and parents started gaming the system.
Top schools used the scheme, to use a local slang word, to “chope”, or reserve, not just the
top sports or arts talent, but also the top academic talent, including those from the GEP.
Under MOE guidelines, schools can set aside a certain proportion of places to be given to
students under the DSA.
Specialised independent schools such as the NUS High School of Mathematics and those
offering the IP can take in up to 100 per cent of their students through the DSA. But
according to MOE , they take in only 50 per cent through this scheme.
Independent schools offer 20 per cent of their places and autonomous schools offer 10 per
cent under the DSA. Those with MOE-approved niche programmes, such as football, can
reserve 5 per cent of their intake for the scheme.
Going by several parents’ accounts, it appears that in the most competitive schools, like
Raffles Institution, at least half the students they admit through DSA are “academically
talented”, including those from the gifted education scheme.
Based on past conversations with many parents and school officials over the years, my
estimate is that about half or more of the 2,700 students admitted under the DSA scheme
went to schools offering the IP from Secondary 1.
Many of these students would be from the GEP, and likely would have got into their choice
schools based on PSLE scores anyway.
COR160 Tutor-Marked Assignment
So clearly the DSA scheme has become another way for the exam-smart, academically
bright pupils to secure places in the premier schools early, ahead of the PSLE.
This surely contradicts the core objective of the DSA scheme, which is meant to give those
with other talents, including in sports and the arts, a chance to shine.
According to the MOE website, the scheme “seeks to promote holistic education and
provide students an opportunity to demonstrate a more diverse range of achievements and
I agree with a mother who complained that the scheme made no sense to her after her
sports-loving daughter failed to land a place in an IP school last year.
She argued: “The PSLE already advantages academically strong pupils and the
Government then starts a special scheme that will allow a small number of students to be
assessed on their other talents.
“But what happens is that it becomes yet another scheme that favours the academically
bright kids.”
Parents like her are right to ask why children in the GEP should compete for places through
this scheme when, by all accounts, they would do well enough in the PSLE to get into the
secondary schools of their choice.
In 2012, MOE released figures showing that 40 per cent of those admitted to these schools
via DSA would not have got in on their PSLE scores. But flip the figure around and it
means that 60 per cent would have got into these schools based on their PSLE results.
The ministry also said schools taking part in the scheme are allowed to admit students on
the basis of their academic and non-academic strengths.
I am not saying that top schools should not aim to attract the academically brightest – just
that they already do that through their high entry scores, which exceed 250.
So, they should use the DSA to admit those talented in other areas, be it in the sports or
MOE should relook the DSA scheme and stop letting schools use academic criteria as the
basis to admit students under this scheme.
Instead, it should insist that the schools’ admission criteria for the DSA meet the core
objective of the programme – to recognise a diverse range of talents in non-academic areas.
COR160 Tutor-Marked Assignment
It should not, emphatically not, be an extra avenue for schools to be “kiasu” (afraid to lose)
and “chope” the bright students first.


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COR160 Essential Academic Writing Skills.