PSLE changes: what Singapore parents must know about the new grading system

July 14, 2016
  • Changes take place in 2021, affecting kids in Primary 1 in 2016
    1 / 8 Changes take place in 2021, affecting kids in Primary 1 in 2016

    The aggregate score for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) will be replaced with wider scoring bands from 2021 – it will affect pupils who are in Primary 1 this year.

    Details about these changes were announced on July 13. Here’s what every Singapore parent with a child aged seven or younger needs to know about the new changes. 

     

     

     

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  • 1. No more T-score from 2021
    2 / 8 1. No more T-score from 2021

    Currently, a pupil’s PSLE aggregate is the sum of the T-scores of all the four subjects he took. The T-scores indicate how well a pupil has performed relative to his peers in the subject.

    From 2021, pupils’ scores will not be benchmarked against their peers. Instead, they just have to do the best they can in each subject.

    Their marks will be converted according to the new scoring bands of Achievement Level (AL) 1- AL8.

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  • 2. Breakdown of the AL grade
    3 / 8 2. Breakdown of the AL grade

    This is as follows:

     

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  • 3. The lower the score, the better
    4 / 8 3. The lower the score, the better

    To get the best possible PSLE score, pupils need to score at least 90 marks in all four subjects (English, maths, science, Mother Tongue).

    This will give them the best PSLE score of four, which is similar to the O-level system where the lower the score, the better. Pupils will also no longer be ranked against each other on a bell curve. 

     

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  • 4. Which secondary school you choose first matters a lot more
    5 / 8 4. Which secondary school you choose first matters a lot more

    From 2021, the order of secondary schools your kid chooses will matter more when it comes to secondary school admissions.

    Pupils will get a choice of six schools, and have to rank these choices in order of their preference.

    If two pupils have the same PSLE score and have chosen the same school, the one who has put it down as a first choice will get priority over the one who has listed it as a second choice.

     

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  • 5. Computer balloting may be used
    6 / 8 5. Computer balloting may be used

    Computerised balloting will be used as a tie-breaker if there are two pupils with the same PSLE score and citizenship status, vying for a place in a school which they have both listed in the same choice order.

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  • 6. New streaming system for Express, Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) streams
    7 / 8 6. New streaming system for Express, Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) streams

    To get into the Express stream, pupils need to get a PSLE score of 22 or less, instead of a PSLE aggregate score of around 188 currently.

    For the Normal (Academic) stream, a score of 25 or less is needed, and for the Normal (Technical) stream, a score of 30 or less.

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  • 7. If your child does badly
    8 / 8 7. If your child does badly

    Pupils need to score at least AL7 for English and Maths to join the Normal (Technical) stream.

    Scores of 31 and 32, where a pupil scores AL8 for English and/or maths would mean that he has to retake the PSLE. He can also choose to join the NorthLight and Assumption Pathway specialised schools.

    A version of this article first appeared in The Straits Times.

    (Photos & tables: ST file)

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