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MOE announces changes to PSLE Scoring System from 2021

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has announced that there will be changes to the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) scoring and Secondary One (S1) posting systems from 2021.

The ministry stated that under the new PSLE scoring system, students will be graded based on their individual performance in the subjects, regardless of how their peers have done, which will support MOE’s effort to shift away from an over-emphasis on academic results, and provide students with more flexibility and space to develop their strengths and interests throughout their education.

Presentation of result in achievement levels

Starting from the 2020 P5 cohort, schools will be presenting the school-based examination results of all P5 and P6 students in Achievement Levels (ALs) so that students and parents can become more familiar with the new scoring system.

Scoring for foundation level subjects

PSLE subjects will be offered at both Standard and Foundation levels. Foundation level subjects cater to the learning needs of students to help them build strong fundamentals and give them the confidence to pursue learning at a pace and level that is more suited to them.

Under the new scoring system, students taking Foundation level subjects will be graded AL A to AL C. These bands provide an indication of the student’s level of readiness for the next course of study. For the purpose of S1 posting, Foundation levels AL A to AL C will be pegged to AL 6 to AL 8 of Standard level subjects respectively, as listed in the following table, to derive a student’s overall PSLE Score.

MOE said that this pegging reflects the fact that the curriculum of a Foundation level subject is a subset of the Standard level subject, and the assessment load at the Foundation level is less demanding when compared against the Standard level.

Students’ overall PSLE Scores will be the sum of the four AL scores of all the Standard and/or Foundation subjects they take. Here is an example of how a student’s PSLE Score would be calculated if he/she took a combination of Standard and Foundation subjects:

A student can qualify for the respective academic courses in secondary school as long as his or her overall PSLE Score meets the placement criteria, regardless of the mix of Standard and Foundation subjects offered.

Eligibility for higher mother tongue language in Secondary School

The ministry also said that under the new PSLE scoring system, students will be eligible to take Higher Mother Tongue Language (HMTL) in secondary school if they receive an overall PSLE Score of 8 or better or an overall PSLE Score of 9 to 14 (inclusive); and attain AL 1/AL 2 in MTL or distinction/merit in HMTL.

The eligibility criteria for secondary school HMTL is intended to ensure that students can cope with the higher academic load, and takes reference from existing criteria, it said, noting that for students who do not meet the above criteria, secondary schools will continue to have the flexibility to offer HMTL to students if they are assessed to have high ability and interest in MTL, and are able to take HMTL without affecting their performance in other subjects.

This is similar to the existing practice, it added.

Indicative AL Cut-Off Points

MOE stated that it will also be providing information on each secondary school’s indicative Cut- Off Point (COP) in AL terms in the first half of 2021, which will guide the first batch of students and parents undergoing the new PSLE scoring system to make informed choices when selecting secondary schools. These AL COPs will be derived from the PSLE Scores and choice patterns of the 2020 S1 Posting Exercise.

For more details on the PSLE scoring changes and S1 posting system, please refer to MOE website.