The Primary 6 class of 2014 maintained last year's record of 66 in every 100 qualifying for the Express stream in secondary school.
This year's 66.4 per cent is close to last year's 66.7 per cent. Previously, the figure was between 62 and 63.6 per cent.
Last year's record result was due to a change in how some Primary School Leaving Examination questions were set. The Ministry of Education (MOE) had tweaked the more "challenging" questions to guide pupils in arriving at answers. Asked if questions were set this way this year, MOE said "the skill sets and knowledge required of candidates to answer the questions remain comparable".
Of the 42,336 pupils who took the PSLE this year, 97.6 per cent did well enough to move on to a secondary school, better than last year's 97.5 per cent.
About 20 per cent qualify for the Normal (Academic) stream, while 11.2 per cent are eligible for the Normal (Technical) stream.
At Kong Hwa School in Guillemard Road, more than 80 per cent of the Primary 6 cohort made it to the Express stream, like last year, principal Cheong Ye Ling said.
Like in the last two years, MOE did not name the top scorer to reduce emphasis on academic results. It also did not reveal the highest and lowest scores achieved by pupils in the cohort - a move that kicked in last year.
In line with this, some schools celebrated their top scorers in groups rather than individually. At Haig Girls' School and CHIJ Our Lady Queen Of Peace, for instance, principals asked pupils with aggregate scores of 250 and above to stand while schoolmates applauded them.
Haig Girls' School gave awards to pupils who did well in their studies and co-curricular activities. One of them, Irdina Maztura, 12, who scored 252 and hopes to join Methodist Girls' School, said: "My score is a reward for all the hard work. I want to join the debate team because it's very good." Non-mainstream schools did well too. In the best showing from the four Islamic schools since 2012, 98.4 per cent of 311 madrasah pupils who took the PSLE qualified for secondary schools, up from 89.3 per cent last year.
In a Facebook post yesterday, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim said he was happy over their good performance and proud of Aisyah Nurul Izza for scoring 269, the highest score by a madrasah student.
At Pathlight School, which takes in children with autism, 85 per cent of its cohort are eligible for mainstream secondary schools. Its top pupil scored 245.
Its co-founder, MP for Moulmein-Kallang GRC Denise Phua, said: "The scores are not as important as the fact that these pupils benefited from the school's autism-friendly structures and strategies to do well in their studies."
But at San Yu Adventist School, a pupil who took the PSLE this year did not score better than the bottom third of mainstream school pupils. As the school has failed to meet this benchmark twice, it can no longer recruit Primary 1 pupils from 2016 to 2018.
This article was first published on Nov 22, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.