No Need For A Perfect Score: It Is The Promise Of PSLE 2021

Ally Villar
·4-min read

Under the new PSLE scoring system 2021, students will no longer need to have perfect scores to get into top secondary schools. This means they won’t need to chase after the last mark to get into a school of their choice.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) recently released the indicative score ranges of all 139 individual secondary schools. It’ll be used for the first time by this year’s Primary 6 cohort to gain entry into secondary schools next year.

First announced in 2016, this new system replaces the the current PSLE T-score system with eight scoring bands known as Achievement Levels (AL).

New PSLE Scoring System 2021: Simplified For Parents

Image source: Facebook / Ministry of Education, Singapore

Under the AL system, each PSLE subject will be scored using 8 ALs instead of grades like A* to E. This means a student’s total PSLE score will be the sum of the AL of each of the four subjects. Here, the best possible total score being 4.

Plus, the lowest cut-off points for entry into secondary is 6; and entry scores for popular schools is between 5 and 13. This will give students a wider range of secondary schools to choose from.

MOE hopes the new scoring system will have students “shift away from an over-emphasis on academic results.” These changes are instead meant to give them more flexibility to “develop their strengths and interests throughout their education.” And of course give them to opportunity to choose from more schools.

As MOE’s director-general, Wong Siew Hoong says, “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.”

What You Need To Know About The New PSLE Scoring System

To keep you up to date with how the changes brought upon the new PSLE scoring system in 2021 will impact your child, here are a few things you should know.

new psle scoring system 2021
new psle scoring system 2021

Image source: Facebook / Ministry of Education, Singapore

  • Tie-breakers

Under the new AL scoring system, MOE has also worked on tie-breakers. These will come into play with each student’s posting outcome. If two students happen to have the same score for the last spot in a secondary school, the following will be prioritised:

  1. Students with Singaporean citizenship will get priority over permanent residents and international pupils.

  2. A student will get priority if they put the secondary school higher on their list of choices.

  3. If the tie is still not broken, computerised balloting will be used.

  • 9 in 10 pupils will not need to undergo balloting

Even with the tie-breakers in place, MOE clarifies that the majority of students will likely be allocated to one of their six school choices. They say 9 in 10 students likely won’t need to go through balloting to get a spot in a secondary school.

This is why MOE also advises students and their parents to carefully list their school choices as this will be considered in tie-breakers.

  • A wider range of secondary schools to consider

There will only be 29 PSLE scores possible under the AL scoring system. This is a big difference from the 200 possible aggregates under the T-score system.

MOE hopes this encourages both parents and students to look beyond grades and instead focus on “other equally important factors when considering what would be a good fit for the student’s overall learning needs.”

The ministry also suggests considering at least two to three schools where the student’s PSLE score is higher than the secondary school’s cut-off point range.

  • Applying for affiliated schools

Similar to the process under the T-score system, entry scores will have additional information for affiliated schools. This will depend on the score range for students coming from affiliated primary schools.

For those also applying to Special Assistance Plan (SAP) Schools, the entry score range will include the student’s Higher Mother Tongue grade in brackets if applicable.

With the changes brought upon by the new PSLE scoring system in 2021, MOE says they “will continue to ensure our students, parents and schools are well-supported during this transition.”

Lead image source from Facebook / Ministry of Education, Singapore.


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