SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Education (MOE) released on Tuesday (Apr 27) the indicative Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) score ranges for individual secondary schools, with the roll-out of the new scoring system this year.
From 2021, Primary 6 students taking the exam will receive Achievement Levels of 1 to 8 for each of their four subjects, with their overall score the sum of these achievement levels.
The indicative scores are the scores of the first and last student who would be admitted into each school under the new scoring system, based on the 2020 cohort's results and school choice patterns. The PSLE score of the last student is referred to as the school’s cut-off point.
For example, the indicative PSLE score range of Raffles Institution’s Integrated Programme is 4-6. This means that the cut-off point for the school is 6. The indicative score range for Cedar Girls Secondary School is 4-8.
Gan Eng Seng School has an indicative range of 7-15 for the express course, 21-23 for the normal academic course and 25-26 for the normal technical course. Singapore Chinese Girls’ School has an indicative range of 8-17 points for affiliated students and 5-9 for non-affiliated students entering its express O-Level course. The range for its Integrated Programme is 4-8.
The score ranges for each school can be found on https://moe.gov.sg/schoolfinder.
Like the previous T-score aggregate system, schools' score ranges may vary from year to year. Slight fluctuations in cut-off points can happen and would typically be by 1 Achievement Level, MOE said.
“Under the new system, both students and schools will be less finely differentiated. Even though the schools are less finely differentiated, there is still a certain stability in the school’s indicative PSLE score ranges,” said MOE’s director-general of education Wong Siew Hoong.
“The system has not been turned topsy-turvy, so parents and students need not feel that they are totally clueless.”
READ: New PSLE scoring system: MOE releases range of indicative cut-off points for different types of secondary schools
Mr Wong also stressed that students do not need to aim for a perfect score of 4 to get into popular schools as the cut-off point starts at 6.
“This means students will have a wider range of secondary schools to choose from and need not chase after the last mark to get into their school of choice,” he said.
There is also a “good spread” of schools across the different cut-off points, said MOE. For example, a student with 16 points could apply to any of the 45 express schools with cut-off points in the 16 to 20 range.
For Special Assistance Plan (SAP) schools, students who pass Higher Chinese receive a posting advantage for admission, said the Education Ministry.
Higher Chinese results will be denoted as D for distinction, M for merit and P for pass. The indicative PSLE score ranges of SAP schools include the Higher Chinese grades of the first and last student admitted in the previous year.
Students who scored better than the school’s cut-off point would have been admitted into the school, regardless of whether they took Higher Chinese.
For example, if a SAP school’s cut-off point range is 5 (D) to 12 (P), a student who got 11 points but did not take Higher Chinese would be admitted. A student who got 12 points and did not take Higher Chinese would not be admitted, as his score was higher than the school's cut-off point.
STUDENTS DON'T HAVE TO AIM FOR A PERFECT SCORE: MOE
Responding to questions about whether the ministry anticipates that more students will apply for Direct School Admission for Integrated Programme schools due to the new scoring and posting system, MOE said the scheme has always seen “good demand”.
The Direct School Admission scheme allows students to apply for schools based on talents rather than academic grades, before they take the PSLE or O-Levels.
“We don’t expect there to be a significant surge because … the AL scoring has not made it more difficult for students to get into these schools through the PSLE score. And in fact based on our simulation, no school has a cut-off-point of 4 or 5. It starts from 6. So it’s not as if students need to get a perfect PSLE score of 1, 1, 1, 1,” said the ministry.
Information on the Direct School Admission exercise this year will be released in May, said MOE.
Under the new PSLE scoring system and Secondary 1 posting exercise, the order of choice of schools will also be a tie-breaker, and parents and students should “give careful thought” to their school choices, said Mr Wong.
When choosing the six school options, he urged students and parents to consider factors like the schools’ distinctive programmes, co-curricular activities, culture and distance from home, to decide if the school is a good fit.
“We fully understand that there may be some anxiety over the new system, especially for the first batch of students and their parents going through it this year. We want to emphasise that there is no change to the curriculum, to the assessment and the standards of the PSLE, so there is no need to be overly anxious about this,” he said.
“As we refine our PSLE scoring system to shift away from an overemphasis on examination results, we recognise that true change will require a mindset shift.
“Let us remind ourselves again that the PSLE score ranges have always served only as a guide for students and their parents to shortlist secondary schools.”