T-score important for targeted teaching

While the Ministry of Education's decision to remove the Primary School Leaving Examination T-score and replace it with a banding system has received its fair share of praise ("PSLE grading system set to change amid broad reforms"; April 9, and "A step towards holistic education" by Miss Ong Si Min; April 11), the repercussions it may have on a student's secondary school education have to be taken into account.

Some schools look at a student's T-score to assess not only his ability, but also to assign him to a class with individuals possessing similar abilities.

Students in such a class are able to learn better and at a suitable pace. Teachers will also be better able to pick the material best suited for teaching this group of students.

In this way, the school can cater to different needs, instead of adopting a one-size-fits-all system.

Without a T-score allocated to each student, I worry that it will be harder for schools to sort students into classes suitable for them.

For example, because the scoring bands are wider, a student with a score of 260 might be put into the same class as students with scores of 280 and above.

I doubt that this will bode well for the students' learning. Some may get unnecessarily stressed or feel inferior, compared with peers with higher abilities.

Removing the T-score may not be such a good idea after all.

Li Wanqi, 15, Secondary 4 student


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2016, with the headline 'T-score important for targeted teaching '. Print Edition | Subscribe