SINGAPORE – The adoption of the new achievement level (AL) scoring system for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) has not disrupted Secondary 1 posting outcomes, a senior education official with the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Saturday (May 21) .
Student performance and parents’ choices of schools have remained largely stable since the introduction of the new scoring system last year, added Deputy director-general of education (curriculum) Sng Chern Wei.
“About 63 per cent of students go to the Express stream, about 24 per cent go to the Normal Academic stream and 12 per cent make it to the Normal Technical stream, which is very comparable to the years under the T-score system.”
“So parents of kids going for PSLE this year can be a bit more assured that the system is stable,” said Mr Sng, who oversees the design, review and implementation of the curriculum from the primary to pre-university levels.
They added that 80 per cent of pupils went to secondary schools that fell within their first three choices, while 90 per cent were posted to one within their first six choices.
He was speaking at The Straits Times Smart Parenting Forum on PSLE Preparation, which was held at The Straits Times studio and attended by about 510 people online and in person.
In a discussion with The Straits Times’ senior education Correspondent Sandra Davie, Mr Sng reiterated reasons behind MOE’s decision to change the scoring system – namely to push for a shift away from a preoccupation with academic results and Chasing the last mark.
They also spoke on mindsets and tips parents can adopt to help their children towards their first national exam.
Last year, the first batch of pupils received their results under the new scoring system, where each standard-level PSLE subject is scored using eight Bands known as ALs.
Each pupil is given AL scores from one to eight for each subject, in place of grades like A * to E. Instead of the previous T-scores, a pupil’s total PSLE score is now the sum of the AL of each of the four subjects .
Mr Sng also fielded questions from the audience, where some parents requested statistical breakdowns of the number of pupils who received each PSLE score, and the percentages of pupils who received scores of four, five and six.
Ms Davie said some parents had asked these questions in the hope of estimating the likelihood that their children would get into schools that run the Integrated Program. These are commonly perceived to be top schools.
Mr Sng said the MOE would be unlikely to release such data as it detracts from the ministry’s intention of moving away from an over-emphasis on academic results.
He said: “Actually, I think it would have the opposite effect of fusion anxiety about academic results, because when you start knowing that there may be 800 other students having the same aggregate as your child, you may become more anxious.”