PSLE T-score to be replaced by eight grade bands in 2021

SINGAPORE - The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) T-score system will be replaced by grade bands known as Achievement Levels (ALs) of 1 to 8 in 2021, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced today (July 13). 

MOE also said it will be be making adjustments to Secondary One posting and will be introducing choice order of schools as a new tie-breaker.

This restructuring of the PSLE grading system means that for each subject, pupils taking the examination will be placed into the following bands:

Under this new system, the lowest score pupils can receive would be 32, while the highest score would be 4. These bands prevent minute differences in scores from affecting Secondary One postings.

"In this new scoring system, we want students to focus on their own learning outcomes. As long as they meet the learning objectives of the curriculum, they will score the corresponding achievement level," said MOE.

This move comes after previous complaints that the current T-score system focuses on academic results and not much else. Furthermore, the T-score accounts for how well a pupil did in relation to his or her peers. 

MOE said: "The changes are part of a larger shift to better nurture well-rounded individuals."

It also announced changes to the tie-breaker criteria taken into consideration while determining secondary school posting for students with identical PSLE scores.

The criteria are: citizenship, choice order and computerised balloting.

On its website, MOE said that if two students with the same score are being considered for the last place during the Secondary One posting exercise, citizenship, choice order of schools, and computerised balloting will be used as tie-breakers.

The increased weight given to a pupil's choice of schools is significant, as the different considerations that families have when choosing secondary schools will be recognised.

prabukm@sph.com.sg