From 2021 onward, PSLE will be scored with wider bands and the scores will reflect the student’s individual performance and not his performance relative to his peers, the Ministry of Education (MOE) informed in its website.
Wider Scoring Bands
The current T-score system grades students very finely. MOE states that It is unnecessary at this young age to make such fine distinctions between children. Some people believe that a student who scores 231 is better than another student who scores 230, but it is not educationally meaningful to differentiate so finely between the two at this age.
Each subject will be scored using 8 bands known as Achievement Levels (AL), with AL1 being the best score and AL8 being the lowest score. The ALs reflect the student’s level of achievement in the subject.
The student’s total PSLE Score will be the sum of the four subject scores.
The PSLE Score will range from 4 (best) to 32. There are 29 possible PSLE Scores, compared to around 200 different T-scores today. This is said to reduce excessively fine differentiation of students at a young age.
Scores which reflect students’ own level of achievement, instead of comparing them to their peers
The current T-score system reflects a student’s relative performance against the rest of his cohort. So a student may score well for all his subjects, but receive a lower T-score if the rest of the cohort scores better.
In this new scoring system, the students will focus on their own learning outcomes. As long as they meet the learning objectives of the curriculum, they will score the corresponding achievement level.
Secondary One (S1) Posting
S1 Posting will continue to be based on academic merit first, but choice order of schools will also matter more under the new system. The MOE encourages parents and students to consider factors beyond cut-off points, and make choices based on whether a school’s culture, ethos and programs are a good fit for the child’s interests and strengths.
The child will submit a list of 6 schools in order of preference. If two students with the same score are being considered for the last place in a school, the following tie-breakers will be used:
- Citizenship (priority given to Singapore Citizens, then Singapore Permanent Residents, then International Students)
- Choice order of schools (priority given to the student who indicates a certain school as a higher choice)
- Computerised balloting
What will happen for the next few years before 2021
Over the next few years, MOE will provide support to parents, students and schools to prepare for the changes. It will also work with schools and teachers to strengthen school-based assessments.