SINGAPORE: About 430 students, or 1.1 per cent of those registered for the 2021 Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), missed at least one paper due to reasons related to COVID-19, Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing said on Monday (Nov 1).
In a written reply to questions raised by Members of Parliament Darryl David (PAP-Ang Mo Kio) and Faisal Manap (WP-Aljunied), the Education Minister said 39,281 students registered for the 2021 PSLE written examinations.
The overall attendance rate for the exams, held from Sep 30 to Oct 6, was 99.5 per cent. About 840 students, or 2.1 per cent, who were on quarantine orders sat for the exams under special arrangement as they had tested negative for COVID-19, he said.
Of the 840 students, about 690 students managed to sit for all written papers.
Students who miss any national examination paper with valid reasons can apply for special consideration, which is a procedure used by many international examination boards to award students with projected grades “through a fair and rigorous evidence-based methodology”, said Mr Chan.
“In awarding a grade for these affected students, SEAB (Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board) will consider multiple sources of data, such as the student’s performance in the other papers for that affected subject in national and school-based examinations as well as the school cohort's performance in national and school-based examinations, to ensure a fair assessment for all students,” he said.
“All special consideration applications are assessed on each case’s merit, to ensure that the grades awarded are as accurate and fair as possible.”
IMPACT OF NEW PSLE SCORING SYSTEM
This year also saw a new PSLE Scoring System being used for the first time.
The Education Minister said that the new scoring system does not affect the syllabuses nor the standards of the PSLE.
“In setting examination questions, a panel of test developers, comprising assessment specialists from the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) and curriculum specialists from the Ministry of Education (MOE), adheres to a test blueprint and well-established test development protocol that ensure this,” he said.
Mr Chan noted that MOE and SEAB removed Common Last Topics from the 2021 PSLE after recognising that Primary 6 students may encounter disruptions to their learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Parents are understandably concerned how their children’s performance would be affected under the new PSLE Scoring System,” he said. “When the scripts are marked, all answers that demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills will be given due credit.”
“In addition, SEAB has processes in place to take the disruptions caused by COVID-19 into consideration to ensure that this cohort of students will not be disadvantaged by the exceptional circumstances,” he added.