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PSLE results: 98.4% of students can progress to secondary school under new scoring system

04:07 Min
For the sixth consecutive year, 98.4 per cent of Primary 6 students who sat for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) made it to secondary school, this time under the new Achievement Level (AL) scoring system. 

SINGAPORE: For the sixth consecutive year, 98.4 per cent of Primary 6 students who sat for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) made it to secondary school, this time under the new Achievement Level (AL) scoring system. 

The PSLE results were released from 11am on Wednesday (Nov 24). This is the first cohort of students scored under the new system. 

Under the AL system, Primary 6 students will receive ALs of 1 to 8 for each of their four subjects, with 1 being the best score and 8, the lowest. 

Their overall score will be the sum of these ALs. The system produces 29 possible scores, compared to the previous T-score system, which has about 200 variations. 

“The outcomes under the AL scoring system have remained very stable. So we hope that the students and the parents will feel assured about the PSLE and about the new scoring system,” said MOE's director-general of education Wong Siew Hoong. 

“We made a deliberate shift away from the old T-score system so students do not chase the last mark. An obsessive over-emphasis on exam results is not healthy for the development of our children.” 

The course eligibility of this year’s Primary 6 cohort is “largely comparable” to that of the previous cohort under the T-score system, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) in a press release. 

A total of 39,119 Primary 6 students sat for the PSLE this year, with 98.4 per cent eligible to enter secondary school, said MOE.

Students eligible for the Express course made up 68.4 per cent of the cohort, with 18.9 per cent for the Normal (Academic) course and 11.1 per cent for the Normal (Technical) course. 

A larger proportion of students in 2021 made it to the Express course, compared to 66.3 per cent in 2020. For the Normal (Academic) course, the number of students eligible fell from last year's 21.2 per cent. 

This decrease corresponds with the “slightly higher” proportion of students qualifying for the Express course, said MOE at the briefing. 

Students with a PSLE score between 4 and 20 are eligible for the Express course. 

Students who receive a score of 21 or 22 are offered an option between the Express course and Normal (Academic) course, while those with scores of 23 or 24 are eligible for the Normal (Academic) course. 

This year, 11.1 per cent of students are eligible for the Normal (Technical) course, similar to last year’s 11 per cent. 

Students with a PSLE score of 25 are offered an option between the Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) courses. Those who scored between 26 and 30 and achieved AL7 or better in English and Mathematics are eligible for the Normal (Technical) course. 

About 65 per cent of students who qualified for the Normal courses are eligible to take at least one subject at a more demanding level, an increase from 47 per cent of students in the Normal courses in the 2021 cohort. 

This is due to the change in the subject-based banding eligibility criteria under the achievement level system, said the Education Ministry. 

Under the new AL scoring system, students in the Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) courses can take subjects at a more demanding level from Secondary 1, depending on their AL scores for the individual subjects. 

If they score AL5 or below for a certain subject, they have the option to take that subject in secondary school at the Express level. 

Candidates who did not qualify for entry to secondary school can choose to retake the PSLE next year, said the Education Ministry. 

They can also apply to Assumption Pathway School and NorthLight School, which offer programmes with a more “experiential and hands-on learning” approach, with a recommendation from their primary school principal, said MOE. 

Similar to last year’s proceedings, PSLE candidates received their results in their classrooms, instead of as a cohort in the school hall like in previous years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


MOE released the indicative score range of every secondary school in April this year, which serves as a “starting point” for students and parents in choosing the secondary schools to apply for. 

These are the scores of the first and last student admitted into each school under the new scoring system. The score of the last student would be the cut-off point for that school.

Students eligible for secondary school can apply for their choices on the MOE Secondary 1 posting website from 11.30am on Wednesday to 3pm on Nov 30, said the Education Ministry. 

The Secondary 1 posting results will be released between Dec 22 and 24. 

“The new AL scoring system means students have a wider range of secondary schools to choose from, as schools will be less differentiated by cut-off points,” said Mr Wong. 

“Do consider the schools' distinctive programmes, the co-curricular activities, their ethos, culture, and of course the student's daily commute to and from school.” 

Source: CNA/hw(rw)


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