SINGAPORE - With a record 66.7 per cent of Primary 6 pupils making it to the Express stream after this year's Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), several parents are asking if there are more top scorers this time.
But some parents are also confused that despite more doing well, this year's top score, leaked on Internet forum websites as being 275, could be lower than last year's 285.
As to whether there are more top-scoring pupils, the Ministry of Education (MOE) would reveal only that just like in previous years, those scoring 250 and above fall into the top 10 per cent range of the cohort.
This is likely the cut-off for entry into the sought-after Integrated Programme schools, such as St Joseph's Institution and CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School.
The eventual cut-offs depend on demand patterns and cohort size, MOE added.
Regarding the possible fall in the highest T-score, which stands for transformed score, what some parents do not realise is that this is not the same as the raw marks that a pupil attains in his four subjects.
In fact, the formula behind the T-score takes into account how well a pupil has performed relative to his peers.
So if more do better, there may be a smaller gap between the top scorer and other pupils, resulting in a fall in the highest score.
Last Friday, when results were released and schools celebrated the stellar overall performance, Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat revealed that tougher PSLE questions have been set differently this year.
To better test the pupils' understanding, the questions guide pupils to arrive at an answer.
With the change, a pupil could still earn some marks even when the final answer is wrong, the minister explained.