NUS High School of Math and Science
|NUS High School of Math and Science
Experiment. Explore. Excel.
|20 Clementi Avenue 1
|Established||1 January 2005|
|Principal||Hang Kim Hoo|
|Vice principal||Lim Hui Wen|
|Vice principal||Goh Hock Leong|
|Vice principal||Chang Weng Fatt|
|Student to teacher ratio||10:1|
|Language||Chinese, Malay, Tamil, English, French, Japanese and German|
|Houses||Nobel, Fleming, Faraday, Fibonacci|
|Colour(s)||Green, grey, white|
|Affiliation||National University of Singapore|
NUS High School of Math and Science is a specialised independent high school in Singapore offering a six-year Integrated Programme (IP) leading to the NUS High School Diploma, which is recognized by the National University of Singapore (NUS) (its parent institution), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management University (SMU) and top overseas universities in the Ivy League, Oxbridge, and others.
The school offers an accelerated mathematics and science curriculum integrated with language, humanities, arts, sports, co-curricular activities, in a modular system. It is the second specialized school in Singapore after the Singapore Sports School.
- 1 Curriculum
- 2 Campus
- 3 School Logo
- 4 Attire and appearance
- 5 Affiliations to the National University of Singapore (NUS)
- 6 Key partners
- 7 Staff
- 8 School organised events
- 9 School demographic
- 10 Admissions
- 11 Notes
- 12 External links
Though NUS High School is an Integrated Programme school, which means students bypass the O-levels, it does not offer A-level or International Baccalaureate programmes, unlike other Integrated Programme schools in Singapore. Instead, it offers an NUS High School Diploma, which is recognized by all universities in Singapore, as well as top universities worldwide; its academic rigour is comparable to the above-mentioned qualifications . Graduating students are not limited to attending the parent university, the National University of Singapore; many of the school's alumni choose to attend university in the US, UK and Australia, with a small minority in non-English-speaking countries such as Japan and Switzerland.
The diploma's curriculum is built on a 2-2-2 structure, with the first two years being the Foundation Stage, the second two the Advancement Stage, and the final two the Specialization Stage. Studies are based on a modular system similar to NUS, where core modules are compulsory, elective modules help deepen the student's knowledge and may be compulsory for a major in a particular subject, and enrichment modules are purely for the student's interests. The school uses the cumulative average point (CAP) system; a 5-point system similar to the US grade point average.
Most notably, the school's mathematics and science curriculum is accelerated. Topics are usually covered earlier than normal; for example, the mole is introduced in Year 1 rather than in Year 3, some kinematics in Year 1 instead of Year 5, and molecular biology and genetics in Year 4 instead of Year 6. Examples of accelerated curriculum on mathematics include sections on solutions of equations in Year 1 rather than in Year 3, three-dimensional vectors and matrices in Years 3 and 4 instead of Year 5.
The school also offers honours courses in the Advancement Stage for mathematical and scientific disciplines, to further stretch the abilities of able students beyond the already-accelerated curriculum. The curriculum in these honours courses usually covers university material, such as linear algebra in mathematics, calculus-based electromagnetism in physics, organic synthesis and spectroscopy in chemistry, and proteomics in biology.
Students are also exposed to humanities and the arts, where the flexible modular system allows for a sampling across this discipline. Mother tongue is compulsory in the school, and complies with the Ministry of Education's guidelines and curriculum, and the English curriculum teaches students practical skills such as reading, writing, and public speaking effectively.
To graduate with the NUS High School diploma, students must take English, Mathematics and at least two science subjects at the major (basic) level in the Advancement Stage. Students may also choose to take a fourth subject from any subject group (sciences, humanities & the arts, computer studies), and take any math/science subject at the honours level. In addition, students must complete an Advanced Research Project under the school's Da Vinci Research Programme. Finally, students must have a CAP above 2.5 (C+). Students are also encouraged to take Advanced Placement and Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) examinations in their senior years for credits for admission into foreign universities, though these are not necessary for graduation.
For its most able students, curriculum acceleration in mathematics and science is permitted, where students may skip a module of their level and take up a higher level module instead. Older students also read NUS modules from certain faculties if they have the foundation knowledge, allowing these students exemption from these modules if they enter NUS in the future, or course credit at overseas universities.
Like other secondary institutions in Singapore, students also take up a co-curricular activity (CCA). CCAs include performing arts, uniform groups, sports and games, and clubs and societies. The school also places every student in one of four houses named after an outstanding person in the fields of mathematics, physics, biology and chemistry: Fibonacci, Faraday, Fleming and Nobel respectively. Unfortunately, students may not choose their houses depending on their interests. An affective and character education programme also seeks to develop the character of students and instill moral values, while a physical education programme maintains fitness in the student population and prepares them for the yearly NAPFA, Singapore's compulsory fitness tests.
Students in NUS High,not unlike other secondary institution in Singapore, are offered leadership roles if they are deemed capable enough by the schools staff. The school uses a process called “STEER²” -Selecting, Training, Exposing, Empowering, Reviewing and Recognizing the student leaders. Autonomy and ownership are given to the students in order for the students to have optimal experiential learning. Depending on how well a student can cope, each student is allowed to hold leadership positions in 2-3 leadership boards at any one time.
Student Leaders are categorized in 6 different sub groups:
-National Education Ambassadors
The Student Council is the main leadership organization in the school, with 45 members as of November 2012. They follow a what is known as "servant leadership" leadership process,where they lead by serving the student body of NUS High. The Council is led by an Executive Committee, selected internally, before a school wide election decides on the current Student Council President.
Da Vinci Research Programme
The school also emphasizes research, represented in the Da Vinci Research Programme, which all students are required to go through. The programme is planned and managed by the Office of Research, Innovation and Enterprise.
In Years 1 and 2, students participate in activities that stimulate creative thinking.
In Years 3 and 4, students take part in Independent Research Studies, which are structured to give students flexibility in conducting research. Students are required to complete a Research Methodology module and are encouraged to work on a research project under the guidance of a teacher-mentor. Outstanding students may be offered the chance to participate in prestigious external research programmes such as the Science Mentorship Programme (NUS), Nanyang Research Programme (NTU/NIE), Young Defence Scientists' Programme (DSTA), National Weather Study Project, Moot Parliament Programme and the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Programme (NUS).
In Years 5 and 6, students must embark on an Advanced Research Project in an area of math and science. This research project is the culmination of the entire Da Vinci programme and is a graduation requirement. Typically, a graduation research project will take nine to eighteen months to complete, depending on the research topic, and it usually comprises at least two weeks of full-time research. Research projects are generally mentored by professors, researchers and other full-time academics at leading research institutions, universities or polytechnics, though a small number are mentored by school teachers with advanced degrees in their field of expertise. All students showcase their research at the school's annual Research Congress held in March, where they receive grades of Distinction, Merit, Pass or Fail.
Older students are usually encouraged to present their projects outside school. This can range from local presentations such as the Singapore Science and Engineering Fair and the Singapore International Science Conference, to international research congresses in countries all over the world. A small number of students have also published papers in renowned scientific journals.
Students are required to live in the boarding school for the duration of their Year 5 academic study if they are not already living there, to promote independence. Since the bulk of graduation research is done in Year 5, living in the boarding school also cuts traveling time and costs, as students spend long hours in science laboratories. This scheme also increases accessibility for students taking modules at the National University of Singapore in the year. NUS High School Residence (Boarding School) boarding fees are subsidized for NUS High School Year 5 students by the Ministry of Education.
Campus facilities and features
The NUS High campus sits on 4.67 hectares of land off Clementi Ave 1, a few minutes walk from the outskirts of the National University of Singapore. The school shifted operations there from its holding site at the former Raffles Junior College in Mount Sinai where it had held classes in 2005. NUS High received an Honour Award from US-based DesignShare Awards programme for the innovative design of its affiliated NUS High School. The award is given to projects that exemplify "best practice innovation from around the world in designing for the future of learning".
The campus comprises 15 science laboratories, over eighty classrooms, a 700-seat auditorium, a 300-seat theatrette, and the NUS High School Residence (Boarding School).
The most notable of the school's facilities include a scanning electron microscope, which is housed in a science research lab called the "SEM room". Considering its high cost, it is rare for an institution of this size and level to have such a piece of equipment and as such it can only be accessed by teachers and students who are doing their research experiments. The school also has an observatory located on the roof of its Boarding School building that is often used by astronomy enthusiasts.
The school also has a Science Research Complex on the top floor. Six specialised research laboratories are located there (a life sciences lab, an analytical chemistry lab, a synthetic chemistry lab, an applied technology lab, a clean energy development lab and an infocomm technology lab). This is in addition to an IP video conferencing room, seminar rooms, and additional classrooms. The advanced facilities and scientific equipment, which are comparable to those available in universities, complement the 9 basic science laboratories located on the third floor of the school.
In addition, the campus has many publicised facades like the DNA nucleotides, the Nano-Tube, Math Walk, and the Periodic-Table. Other facilities include a field with a 400 m running track, one basketball court, two tennis courts, a netball court, a badminton court, a multi-purpose hall, environmental and eco-garden features, an exhibition concourse, a student lounge, five computer laboratories, a media resource room, and a library and canteen running alongside each other under the running track. The campus also has art and music studios and co-curricular activity rooms, as well as facilities for the disabled.
NUS High School Residence (Boarding School)
The campus includes a boarding school (NUS High School Residence) consisting of two blocks that can accommodate some 500 residents. Facilities include studying areas/rooms, library, gym, pantries, media rooms (TV and relaxation), multi-purpose function rooms and laundry rooms. The Residence is also open to scholars studying within or outside of the school and serves as the site for the school's boarding programme.
There is wireless and wired (LAN and NUS Secure Plug and Play Authentication) internet and network access coverage throughout the campus. NUS Computer Centre manages the school's main network. A fibre optic cable runs below ground to link the school to NUS. All students and staff are issued with an NUSNET network account for access to the school's internet/network resources and facilities. NUS wireless network access are secured by either LEAP encryption authentication or NUS Secure Plug and Play Authentication to prevent outsiders from gaining unauthorized access to the network. The network download speed is capped at around 2 Mbit/s, while there is no upload speed cap. As an independent faculty of NUS, NUS High School students have full access to NUS IT and eLibrary resources as well.
Campus security services
NUS High School operates an open-based campus concept like other universities and junior colleges where visitors are allowed to enter the campus with lesser scrutiny. However, security measures are still in place to ensure the safety of the students and school's property. The school uses smart/proximity card readers throughout the campus, with varying permissions for different groups of people. For example, all students, residents of the Boarding School and staff may enter through the campus's back gate, but only staff may enter the staff room. Further levels of security are also present for the school's laboratories and art/music studios, which house specialised equipment. In addition, the Boarding School uses biometric (fingerprint) authentication to further protect the students' living space.
The logo is made up of a test tube, symbolising science, combined with the symbol for the number "pi", symbolising mathematics. A third element, the "sparkle", shows the dynamism of bringing the two disciplines together and the creativity that is to be found within the school. It is also representative of the six-faceted learning model that the school adopts.
The green colour symbolises growth and a nurturing environment, whilst the grey colour symbolises the solid base upon which the institution is built.
This logo has been criticised by its students for its strong bias against theoretical methods, as it represents all of science using a test tube, which may be a representative only of experimental Chemistry and Biology. This test tube can also be interpreted of a bias against Physics in the school.
Attire and appearance
Students wear the formal attire, a white collared shirt and light green long trousers (male) or skorts (female), together with the school tie on Mondays, assemblies, public speeches, school functions, and any events where the students represent the school. Student Leaders, on special occasions or school functions, and students who represent the school for any competition or events, may be required to don grey blazers on top of the formal attire, together with dull-coloured shoes. On other days, students are allowed to wear their informal attire: a white polo shirt, together with either light green Bermudas or long trousers (male), or skorts (female).
Students wear their badges when they are wearing the formal attire. Those with leadership positions are given special Student Leader badges that indicate their Student Leadership Board at the collar
Affiliations to the National University of Singapore (NUS)
NUS Non-Graduating Programme
Only NUS High School students are eligible for the NUS Non-Graduating Programme. Under this programme, NUS High School students are allowed to read any NUS modules and courses from Faculty of Science (including Office of Life Sciences), Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (Literature, History, Geography and Economics), and School of Computing, provided that students meet the minimum academic competency level as endorsed by a teacher.
Completed NUS modules are reflected in the student's transcript but are not included in the computation of their CAP. Should these students be admitted to NUS after graduation from the NUS High School, the module grade and module credit associated with the completed NUS modules can then be included in the computation of their NUS graduation degree/certification requirements and components. Students may also claim course credit for these modules at American universities.
The library at NUS High School is an NUS Library, where it shares the same loaning, transaction and catalogue system as any other NUS Library. Teaching staff can request any books located at any other NUS Library and have them transferred to the NUS Library in NUS High School. All NUS High School students are able to obtain and have full electronic access to all journals available at NUS Libraries.
Popular Bookstore(book store)
NUS High School had an NUS Co-op book store for purchase of stationery, books and resources, which is managed by NUS. Students and staff can buy laptops and electronics at a university subsidised rate.
As of late 2010, the NUS Co-op book store in the campus has been replaced by Popular Bookstore.
- Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
- DSO National Laboratories
- Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA)
- Science Centre Singapore
The mathematics faculty is staffed mainly by teachers formerly from other independent schools or junior colleges in Singapore. Science teachers are mostly university graduates with others from Integrated Programme schools, mainstream schools or junior colleges. Humanities, Chinese language and physical education teachers come from mainstream schools, while music and art teachers are mostly experts in their own fields. The English department comprises teachers from junior colleges, mainstream schools and the media industry. At least half of the school's staff do not hail from the National Institute of Education.
Some teachers hold at least a Master's degree in their fields. A few hold doctorates, and some are in various stages of doctorate completion.
- 2005—2007: Associate Professor Lai Yee Hing
- 2007—present: Dr Hang Kim Hoo
- 2005-2007: Mrs Jennifer Pang
- 2005-2006: Mr Lim Ee Tuo
- 2006-2011: Mr Suresh s/o Balakrishnan
- 2008–Present: Ms Lim Hui Wen
- 2010–Present: Mr Chang Weng Fatt
- 2011–Present: Mr Goh Hock Leong
School organised events
National Mathematical Olympiad of Singapore (NMOS)
The National Mathematical Olympiad of Singapore is a national mathematical olympiad competition organized by the school in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Singapore Mathematical Society. Through this competition, the school aims to test the pupils attending the test's interest for maths.
NUS High School Annual Research Congress
The annual research congress organised by NUS High School Office of Research, Innovation and Enterprise is held in collaboration with the research programme (Da Vinci Programme). Every year, parents and guests from research organisations (Such as A*STAR, DSTA, DSO, NIE, NUS, etc.) are invited to this event where students' research works are showcased. The school also invites outstanding research projects from other Integrated Programme schools to be showcased alongside those of its own students, to promote collaboration and networking.
Singapore International Mathematics Challenge (SIMC)
The SIMC is a mathematical modelling competition co-organised by the NUS High and the Ministry of Education (Singapore), held every two years. In addition to the competition for students, symposiums and workshops are held for participating teachers and principals. Mathematical talents from around the world visit NUS High School for one week in May to sit for a mathematical competition paper, and to showcase their results to a panel of judges.
Singapore Amazing Machine Competition
The SAMC is a science competition jointly organised by the school, DSO National Laboratories, and the Science Centre Singapore. Teams construct a complex machine (the Amazing Machine) that performs a seemingly simple task in as many steps as possible. Teams will be judged on their creativity and the incorporation of scientific concepts in the machines.
Sustainable Development Youth Convention (SDYC)
The SDYC is a student-initiated event, and aims to raise awareness of social, economic, political and environmental issues revolving around the central theme of sustainable development. The convention brings together 150 - 200 Secondary 3 to 4 students across Singapore, and provides a platform for students to raise their concerns and share their insights, as well as to foster cooperation among teams in reaching a resolution on these global issues. Participants will be exposed to and encouraged to ponder about the interplay between scientific developments and public policy.
National Primary 4 Mathematics Carnival
In collaboration with MOE Gifted programme Branch, the school organizes the annual Primary 4 Math Carnival. It aims to generate interest in mathematics amongst Primary school students. Around 2000 Primary 4 students from all primary schools around Singapore participate. The theme of the Carnival is “Math Alive!” where the use of mathematics in science and everyday life is highlighted. A Mathematics Project Competition is given to all schools who participate.
The school has a large Chinese and Indian majority with a significant Malay minority. The Primary School Leaving Examination scores of students admitted from primary school through the examination via the PSLE admission phase are mostly in the 264-285 range whereas those admitted through Direct School Admission have varying PSLE scores. There are also many foreign students, mostly from Vietnam, Korea or China, from Year 3 as the school aims to have a 20% foreign enrollment. There are more males than females enrolled in the school in a 5:1 ratio.
Students are admitted to the school at Year 1 or Year 3 after a selection process comprising tests and group activities in which they are assessed for their understanding and passion in mathematics and the sciences. The school attracts the top 10% of Singapore’s national cohort of primary school students. Annually, it receives over 2000 applications for 170 places from both local and international students for its Year 1 admissions. Competition for the 30 Year 3 places is equally strong.
Pupils are assessed by one or more of the following indicators:
- Academic performance in school, particularly in Mathematics and Science;
- Teachers’ recommendations on pupil’s learning aptitude and academic potential;
- Performance in activities during the Mathematics and Science Camp organised by the NUS High School;
- Performance in admission test or interview;
- Results in the PSLE.