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Any solution used in PSLE maths papers, including algebra, will be given full credit if concepts applied correctly: SEAB

SEAB was responding to a call to review this year’s PSLE maths paper from a group of parents of Nan Hua Primary School students who scored lower than expected.

Any solution used in PSLE maths papers, including algebra, will be given full credit if concepts applied correctly: SEAB
A Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) certificate. (File photo: CNA/Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: Full credit will be given to any solution used in the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) mathematics paper if it demonstrates the correct application of concepts, the Singapore Examination and Assessment Board said on Thursday (Dec 8).

"For the mathematics papers, any solution which demonstrates the correct understanding and application of mathematical concepts and skills as requested by the question will be given full credit," the board added, specifying that this included the use of algebra to solve problems.

The examination board was responding to queries from CNA regarding a forum letter in Lianhe Zaobao.

The letter, which was published on Dec 1, was written by a group of parents of graduating Primary 6 students from Nan Hua Primary School.

The 11 parents said in the letter that their children had always scored 95 marks and above for their maths exams in school, or the equivalent of Achievement Level (AL) 1. 

But for this year’s PSLE maths paper, they were shocked to find that their children had scored AL 3, AL 4 or AL 5. 

“If a single child’s carelessness caused them to stumble on the exam, we have nothing to say. But when almost a third of the students in the class have a similar score gap, it’s hard not to be puzzled,” the letter read. 

The parents said they had appealed to the Ministry of Education (MOE) and SEAB through the school for a review of the exam papers, but were told that the success rate of past appeals was almost zero.

“At the same time, we were also told that parents can only see whether the sum of the scores of each part of the appeal subject test paper is correct, but cannot see the answer sheet of the student's test paper,” they wrote, adding that there was no way to verify if the supposed discrepancy was due to other factors. 

“If SEAB ignores parents' calls to check the answer sheets and simply dismisses it with an excuse that the system is always accurate, this kind of operation without transparency may not be convincing to people.” 

SEAB said it has rigorous processes in place to ensure that the PSLE papers are set according to the syllabus at “appropriate standards”. 

The panel of exam reviewers also includes experienced teachers and specialists from MOE and SEAB, and they ensure that there is a consistent balance of easy, average and difficult questions across the years, said the examination board. 

The performance in the 2022 PSLE maths examination is similar to that of 2021 across the ALs, said the board. 

There are established appeal processes for candidates who think that their grades do not reflect their expected achievements in the subject, added SEAB. 

“Candidates can submit their appeals for subject grades through their schools to SEAB. During the review of results, an independent senior marker conducts a thorough review of the marking and checks the accuracy of mark entries.” 

Source: CNA/hw(zl)


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