PSLE change will create other headaches

SINGAPORE - While the move to replace Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) aggregate T-scores with grade bands is well-intentioned, it will create other problems ("PSLE T-score to go in a few years' time"; Monday).

First, the grades will have to be converted into points through which secondary school admission will be decided. So stress in the system will remain.

Second, under the current system, pupils do not get penalised too much if they miss out on a grade by a few points.

For example, a pupil scoring 74 per cent in a subject will get a B grade, while one scoring 76 per cent will get an A. A small difference in marks between an A grade and a B grade may not have much impact on the T-score.

To illustrate this, my son had four A* in his PSLE exam but his schoolmate with three A* and one A had a higher T-score.

But under the new system, there will be a huge difference between someone who gets an A and another who gets a B.

There will be mad scramble to get all A* so that the pupils can enter top secondary schools.

Third, it was mentioned that top secondary schools will take in more students from different backgrounds through the Direct School Admissions scheme, and that qualities like character, leadership and resilience would be considered.

Introducing subjective measurements of these traits in 12-year-old children will create all sorts of problems.

While our current education system has served us well in the past, it clearly needs to be transformed.

Hence, I urge the Government to conduct more thorough and wide-ranging consultations, come up with a master blueprint of our desired education system with bold changes, and then implement them progressively.

Nilesh Sahita

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.