SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Education (MOE) has detailed how students going into Secondary 1 from 2024 will be offered subjects and the levels they will be able to take them at.
On Tuesday (Mar 5), Education Minister Ong Ye Kung announced that the current system of streaming in secondary schools — where students go into the Express, Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical) streams based on their PSLE results — would be replaced with full Subject-Based Banding (SBB), where students take different subjects at different levels, according to their ability.
Students will still be posted to schools based on their PSLE results across three scoring bands, MOE said.
In a response to queries from Channel NewsAsia, MOE has provided more details on these scoring bands, and indicated the range of PSLE scores a student would need in order to be eligible to take subjects at the various levels at the start of secondary school.
THE NEW SYSTEM
With the earlier announced changes to the PSLE scoring system taking effect from 2021, a student taking the PSLE will receive a new Achievement Level (AL) score of 1-8 in each of their four subjects, with AL1 being the highest a student can score, and AL8 the lowest.
The sum of these ALs will make up the student's final score, which will be known as the PSLE Score. The range of possible scores will be from 4 to 32.
Once SBB is implemented, a student with a PSLE score of 4 to 20 will be eligible for subjects at the highest G3 level, MOE said. This means that a student would need to score an average AL of at most 5 in each subject to take the entire G3 suite of subjects, which corresponds to the current Express level.
Meanwhile, a student with a PSLE score of 21 or 22 would be eligible for either the G3 or G2 suite of subjects. The G2 level corresponds to the current Normal (Academic) level.
If the student scores 23 or 24, they would be eligible for the G2 suite of subjects.
A student scoring 25 would be offered either the G2 suite of subjects, or the G1, which corresponds to the current Normal (Technical) level.
For those who score 26 to 30, the student would be eligible for subjects at the G1 level, if he or she has an AL of 7 and above in English and Mathematics. A student needs a score of at most 30 to have passed the PSLE.
MOE added that students who excel in specific subjects in the PSLE can take those subjects at a higher level from the start of Secondary 1.
For example, a student with a PSLE score of 23 who did very well for English would take most subjects at the G2 level, but be offered English at a higher G3 level when they enter secondary school.
SUBJECTS AND LEVELS WILL NOT BE CONSTRAINED BY SCORING BAND
MOE added in its response that the PSLE scores will continue to serve as a “good initial gauge” of the pace of learning that students are most suited for at the beginning of Secondary 1.
However, it stressed that the subjects and levels that students are offered in subsequent years will not be constrained by the scoring band through which they were posted to secondary schools.
“Unlike the current approach where the course that a student is posted to in Secondary 1 determines the bulk of his subject offerings throughout his secondary education, full SBB will allow students to progressively take subjects at more demanding levels over the course of their secondary school years, as they discover their strengths and interests, and take on a combination of subjects across different levels over time,” said MOE.
It added that secondary schools are provided with a set of guidelines with regards to offering subjects to students at a more demanding level. The school will take into account the student’s performance, whether they are able to cope with the more demanding subject, and whether it is in the student's best interest.
The option to take subjects at different levels will also be provided at “suitable junctures”.
“Our schools will provide the necessary support for students to manage the transition and give them time to adjust,” MOE said.
Additional reporting by Tan Si Hui.