What Singapore Parents Can Do To Tackle The New PSLE Grading System

Recently, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced that the PSLE scoring system will be revamped from 2021. The new changes would introduce a series of changes including removal of the bell curve and grading each subject by Achievement Levels (AL). With the current primary 1 batch being set to take the new PSLE, parents are eager to find out more about how the new system affects their kids. In this article, let’s simplify the new changes and explore the how you can tackle the new PSLE scoring system.

1. Collaborate – Don’t Compete

Most parents do not realise that under the old system, a student’s T-score is not the actual marks they obtained in the exam. T-score actually stands for “Transformed Score”, and it’s a number that is moderated by a bell curve according to how a kid performs relative to the rest of Singapore.

Under the new system, the bell curve is removed. Thus, a child’s raw marks in each subject will be final. Hence, parents should adopt a “win-win” mentality and collaborate rather than compete. By creating study groups and group tuition, students can help each other out and share their own notes and knowledge so that they can all succeed together.

2. Work on Weak Subjects

With clear grading scales and a tight distinction between marks that are between 75-90, students are punished much harder for having weak subjects. Technically, it is much harder to make up for one poor subject with three strong subjects under the new system. It is thus imperative that parents help their kids to work on their weaker subjects.

Usually, a student’s weakest subject is also the subject that they have the least interest in. Thus, you should take action early and try different methods to engage your child’s interest. Make your child spend more time on their weak subjects by sending them for enrichment classes or engaging a fun, motivating home tutor using a tuition agency.

Study In Library (Pixabay Free Image) - AspirantSG

3. Choose Schools Wisely

Under the current system, secondary school posting goes purely by merit, like how airlines operate – first-class ticket holders get to board the plane first, followed by business class and finally, the economy class holders. Pupils will be queued in order of merit, with places filled up from the highest score to the lowest.

Since a student with a higher aggregate score will get into his or her school of the second choice (if not accepted into the first choice) over another student with a lower aggregate score who put the same school as the top choice, parents can put top schools as their first few choices without any fear.

However, under the new system, choice of school becomes much more important because with the new AL-grading system, the probability of students having identical scores will be drastically increased. When students have identical scores, the one who places a school as the higher choice will win.

4. Recognise that PSLE is Still Difficult & Stressful

Contrary to popular belief, the new PSLE system is not likely to reduce stress or make it easier to enter top schools. In fact, some may argue that the new PSLE system might be even more stressful as every mark. For instance, scoring 75-79 marks gives a student a grade of AL 4, 80-84 AL 3, 85-89 AL2. This is likely to increase stress levels for students who are scoring above 75 as the margin between each achievement level is very small.

Moreover, since there is no longer a bell curve, there is a strong possibility of more and more students scoring perfect scores for their PSLE, resulting in high competition for top schools such as Raffles Institution and Hwa Chong Institution. Scoring 90+ for all 4 subjects is certainly no easy feat – yet scoring a perfect score may not even be enough to guarantee a placing! As long as examination results are used for school postings, the stress will always be there.

5. Stay Alert and Do Your Homework

Whilst MOE would likely provide as much information as possible for students and parents in the first batch in 2021 to make informed choices, there still won’t be many references for information at all. Parents should be extra alert and make an effort to stay up to date with the latest updates released by MOE and from articles on trustworthy sites.

In all likelihood, the elite schools will be filled by four or five-pointers. There are no guaranteed placings under the new system, no matter how well your child does. One possible solution you should attempt is to try to utilise indirect methods to secure placings in your desired schools via Direct School Admission (DSA), CCA point deduction, donors point deduction, alumni affiliates, and special points deduction.

6. Finally, Don’t Be Too Stressed

The reality is, not every student can be an all-rounder. PSLE is, ultimately, not the be-all-end-all, and there are many cases where late bloomers don’t do too well in their PSLEs yet excel later in life. As parents, we should not force our expectations on our kids that they need to attend the top secondary schools. Instead, use your child’s PSLE results to find out his or her strengths and weaknesses and choose a secondary school that can best develop them holistically. There is really far more to life and success than just academic results.

About The Guest Blogger

SmileTutor.sg is a successful tuition agency in Singapore, truly believing that every child is unique – not only capable of learning but also capable of succeeding. Our passion is to bring smiles to Singaporean parents who are looking for home tuition for their children.

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