MOE Releases Range Of Indicative Cut-off Points For Different Sec Schools Based On New PSLE Scoring System

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Ahead of the implementation of the new scoring system for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) next year, the Ministry of Education (MOE) releases the range of indicative cut-off points for different types of secondary schools in here. This is to help better support the students taking the PSLE next year—as well as their parents—be familiarised with the new scoring system.

Under the new PSLE scoring system, students will receive (Achievement Level) AL scores instead of T-scores and be graded based on their individual performance in the subjects, regardless of how their peers have done.

PSLE COP 2021: Indicative COP Based On New Scoring System

In a press release on Friday (6 November), MOE said it has generated the indicative AL COP ranges for different school types, based on the students’ PSLE results and school choice patterns at the 2019 S1 Posting Exercise.

For Government and Government-aided schools, the indicative cut-off point range for Express (Integrated Programme) students is 7 to 9. Students will need to score between 8 to 22 points for the Express (O-Level) course, 22 to 25 points for the Normal (Academic) course and 26 to 30 points for the Normal (Technical) course.

cut-off points psle 2021
cut-off points psle 2021

Image source: MOE

Image source: MOE

Image source: MOE

The AL COP refers to the AL score of the last student admitted into a particular school in the previous year via S1 posting. AL COP ranges, in turn, present the lowest and the highest AL COP amongst schools of a particular school type.

Similar to the current T-score system, AL COPs may vary from year to year, depending on students’ PSLE results and their school choices for that year’s S1 Posting Exercise.

MOE said it will only provide the indicative AL COPs for individual secondary schools in the first half of 2021—based on the PSLE results and school choices of the 2020 PSLE cohort—as this would be the most recent data available.

“Students and their parents can use this information, in addition to factors such as schools’ distinctive programmes, CCAs, ethos and culture, to shortlist secondary schools that would best fit the educational needs of the student,” added MOE.

For more details on the list of schools under the various school types, one can visit

For more information on the schools’ electives and programmes, Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) and locations, please visit

Subject-Based Banding (Secondary) Eligibility Criteria

The Subject-Based Banding (SBB) is meant to provide students with the flexibility to take on various subjects at a more demanding level based on their subject-specific strengths and aptitudes.

In light of the new PSLE scoring system and SBB implemented in all secondary schools since 2018, students posted to the Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) courses will be allowed to take various subjects at a more demanding level starting from Secondary One, if they have performed well in those subjects at the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).

This will be based on their Achievement Level (AL) scores for individual subjects, according to MOE, which include English Language, Mother Tongue languages, Mathematics and Science.

Regardless of the academic course a student enters in secondary school, MOE says the student will be eligible to take the above subjects at the Express level.

Image source: MOE

Students who score an AL 5 or better in a Standard level subject is given the option to take that subject at the Express Level.

On the other hand, students who score an AL 6 or better in a standard level subject, or an AL A in a Foundation level subject is given the option to take that subject at the N(A) level.

According to MOE, a PSLE Score of 20 is comparable to an average of AL 5 for each subject, which would qualify the student with such a score for the Express course—and that he/she would take all subjects at the Express-level by default.

As such, AL 5 is used as the qualifying grade to assess if students from other courses are ready to take the subject at the Express level.

“Beyond the start of Secondary 1, as students progress in secondary school, they will continue to have more opportunities to take subjects at more demanding levels based on their performance in school, to further pursue their strengths and develop to their fullest potential,” said MOE.

With reports from Nikki De Guzman and Goh Jia Ling


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