What Parents Need to Know About the New PSLE Scoring System
Students taking the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) from 2021 will be subjected to the New PSLE Scoring System, which is part of the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) efforts to move away from an overemphasis on academic results. This change will see the former T-scores being replaced by wider scoring bands known as Achievement Levels (ALs). Under the new AL system, there will be 29 possible PSLE scores as opposed to the previous T-score system with more than 200 possible aggregate scores. The new AL system will also do away with the bell curve and reflect students’ individual levels of achievement, regardless of their peers’ performance.
What exactly does the new PSLE scoring system entail, and what can you do to help your child tackle it? Read on to find out.
1. A Step In The Right Direction
With the implementation of the new PSLE scoring system, students’ scores are less finely differentiated, reducing the need to chase every last mark to get into a preferred school.
While grades still do matter and admission to secondary schools will still be based on merit, the new scoring system is a step towards a more holistic education system. By reducing the pressure to obtain perfect scores, students can now focus more on character development and explore their extracurricular talents and passion.
2. You Reap What You Sow
The removal of the bell curve in the new scoring system means that students’ grades are no longer measured against that of their peers. With the new AL system, students will be graded based on their levels of mastery attained for each subject, regardless of their peers’ performance. This will encourage students to focus on their learning progress and proficiency instead of constantly trying to get ahead of others, and help students build intrinsic motivation to accomplish learning goals.
3. It May Get More Competitive
While the new PSLE scoring system reduces the excessive differentiation of grades, it could give rise to a different form of competition. With T-scores being replaced by broader scoring bands, students may feel pressured to score that five marks more to make it to the next AL. High achievers who are already scoring AL 1 (90 marks and above) may be compelled to take on additional commitments like Higher Chinese Language (HCL) to clinch a spot in their preferred schools, resulting in more competition and stress.
What Parents Can Do To Make The Most Of The New PSLE Scoring System
While the new PSLE scoring system is a step towards holistic learning, it is not perfect and comes with its fair share of challenges.
Here are three ways to make the most of the new PSLE system and tackle it together with your child.
1. Identify your child’s strengths, weaknesses & learning needs
Under the new posting system, your child’s list of school choices will matter more than ever. If two students with the same score contend for the last spot in a school, the student who puts the school higher on the list of choices will get priority.
Moreover, with schools less finely differentiated by cut-off points, students now have a wider range of secondary schools to choose from. Therefore, rather than being fixated on cut-off points, it will be prudent to consider your child’s strengths, weaknesses and learning needs to make an informed decision when choosing a school.
2. Encourage your child to pick up extracurricular skills & interests
No matter how well your child does, the new system does not guarantee a place in their preferred school. To increase your child’s chances of securing a place in their preferred school, you could encourage them to pick up extracurricular skills and interests and explore other admission paths – for example, through the Direct School Admission (DSA).
3. Trust the process
PSLE is not the end-all and will certainly not determine your child’s success in life. Understand that PSLE is merely the first milestone in your child’s education, and there are many other routes to success that are equally rewarding.
Regardless of your child’s performance, make it a point to acknowledge their effort and affirm that you will continue to support them in their education journey. While it’s undeniable that academic success can significantly impact your child’s life, it is equally important to focus on character and skills development. By helping your child build a resilient character and equipping them with valuable life skills, they will be better positioned to overcome life’s challenges and attain success.
PrepWorks believes in taking a holistic approach that encompasses academic, character and skills development to help a child attain success. Find out more.