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New PSLE scoring system: MOE releases range of indicative cut-off points for different types of secondary schools

New PSLE scoring system: MOE releases range of indicative cut-off points for different types of secondary schools

Students attending a class at a primary school. (File photo: TODAY)

SINGAPORE: In the lead up to the new primary school leaving examination (PSLE) scoring system next year, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has released the range of indicative cut-off points for different types of secondary schools in Singapore.

From 2021, students taking the PSLE will receive Achievement Levels (AL) of 1 to 8 for each of their four subjects, with their final score made up of the sum of these achievement levels.

By providing an indicative range of cut-off scores by school type, the ministry is hoping to better support and familiarise the first batch of students on the new PSLE scoring system, it said.

“Parents and students can then make use of this information when they go about making their secondary school choices, and we do strongly encourage them to also consider a wider, more holistic range of factors,” said Ms Melissa Khoo, deputy secretary (policy) at MOE.



READ: Students to be graded on 'achievement levels' in PSLE from 2021

The ministry said in a press release on Friday (Nov 6) that the indicative range for the cut-off points was generated based on students’ PSLE results and school choice patterns at the 2019 Secondary 1 posting exercise.

For Government and Government-aided schools, the indicative cut-off point range for Express (Integrated Programme) students is 7 to 9. Students will need to score between 8 to 22 points for the Express (O-Level) course, 22 to 25 points for the Normal (Academic) course and 26 to 30 points for the Normal (Technical) course. 

At autonomous schools, the indicative cut-off point ranges for the Express (Integrated Programme) and Normal (Academic) courses are the same as Government and Government-aided schools. The range for the Express (O-Level) course is 8 to 16 points, while that for the Normal (Technical) course is 26 to 29 points. 

For independent schools, the indicative cut-off range for the Express (Integrated Programme) is 6 to 8 points, and 8 to 10 points for the Express (O-Level) course.

READ: Next year's Primary 5 students to get exam results based on new PSLE scoring system

“For our students who are taking the PSLE next year, there's no rush to start shortlisting schools now. We recognise that the PSLE is an important milestone and there's bound to be some level of anxiety,” said Ms Khoo, assuring students and parents that there will be “more than enough time” to make an informed decision. 

“But we do hope that the Primary 5 students who are going on to P6 next year, continue to enjoy the learning experience for as much as possible, and not fixate too much on trying to achieve a particular score or trying to meet a particular cut-off point,” she added.

READ: Commentary - These PSLE changes won’t fix our national obsession with academic achievement

Going forward, MOE will provide the indicative cut-off points for individual secondary schools in the first half of 2021, based on the PSLE results and school choices of the 2020 cohort, it said in the press release. 

The indicative cut-off point range for each school will also be released, referring to the highest and the lowest scores of the students admitted into that school, MOE said at the briefing. 

“What we're showing here in terms of the indicative cut-off point range is based on the score of the last student who entered the school (across each type),” said the Education Ministry. 

This means that when the indicative cut-off points and the range for all individual schools are revealed next year, there may be some schools where the highest or best score in the school could be better than Achievement Level 6. 

When considering school choices, it would be “helpful” to include some school choices that have a higher cut-off point than the student’s total score, the Education Ministry said at the briefing.

For example, a student who has a PSLE score of 16 may also look at schools that have cut-off points ranging from 17 to 19. 

“Students and their parents can use this information, in addition to factors such as schools’ distinctive programmes, CCAs, ethos and culture, to shortlist secondary schools that would best fit the educational needs of the student,” the press release read.

For affiliated schools, there will be two sets of cut-off points for affiliated and non-affiliated students. The ministry will work with the schools to determine the minimum affiliated requirements, MOE said at the media briefing.

“But there’ll be no change in terms of how the affiliation priority works under the new scoring system, meaning that the affiliated student from the primary school must be able to meet that minimum requirement and must also choose the affiliated secondary school as his or her first choice. Whether or not he or she gets admitted also depends on the vacancies that year and how many students are applying.”

READ: New PSLE scoring system not silver bullet, but part of education reform: Ong Ye Kung


With the new PSLE scoring system and following the implementation of subject-based banding in all secondary schools with Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) courses, these students will continue to be eligible to take subjects at a more demanding level from Secondary 1. 

This will be based on their Achievement Level scores for the individual subjects, applicable to English Language, Mathematics, Science and Mother Tongue Language, said the Education Ministry. 

Students who score an Achievement Level of 5 or better can take that subject at Express Level, while students who score an Achievement Level of 6 or better in a standard level subject or Achievement Level A in a Foundation level subject can take it at the Normal (Academic) level. 

“Beyond the start of Secondary 1, as students progress in secondary school, they will continue to have more opportunities to take subjects at more demanding levels based on their performance in school, to further pursue their strengths and develop to their fullest potential,” said MOE. 

Source: CNA/ic


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