N-level pass rates remain stable

An N-level student responding to his results after collecting them at Greendale Secondary School yesterday.
An N-level student responding to his results after collecting them at Greendale Secondary School yesterday.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

Marginal fall for N(A) and N(T) streams, but proportion qualifying for Sec 5 edges up

This year's N-level cohort fared as well as their seniors last year, with roughly the same proportion of students qualifying for Secondary 5.

Of the 11,528 students from the Normal (Academic) course who collected their results yesterday, 74.9 per cent qualified for Secondary 5, similar to last year's 74.6 per cent.

Pass rates remained stable too.

The N(A) batch achieved a pass rate of 99.5 per cent, similar to last year's 99.7 per cent. In the Normal (Technical) stream, 96.6 per cent of the 5,139 students who took the exams this year passed. This was 97.5 per cent last year.

Gan Eng Seng School student Valerie Ho, 16, is one of those moving on to Secondary 5 next year.

She had entered the school as an N(T) student. "I was very lazy in primary school. I didn't like to study and I didn't care about it," she said. But in secondary school, she wanted to change and make her parents proud.

"I worked very hard. I wanted to be among the top," said Valerie, who, as one of the top students in the N(T) course in Secondary 1, was allowed to transfer to the more academically demanding N(A) stream in Secondary 2.

For the N-level exams, she scored 17 points for five subjects. As she received a Grade 5 for English, she does not qualify for the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP), or the Direct Entry Scheme to Polytechnic Programme (DPP), which she had set her sights on.

"But I'm okay with it. It just means I need to strive very hard," said Valerie, who hopes to study accountancy or a hospitality and tourism-related course.

N(A) students with a score of not more than 11 points, and at least a Grade 3 for both English and Mathematics, can opt for the PFP. The scheme, offered at the polys, allows students to skip the O levels to do a one-year preparatory course before entering a related diploma course.

Alternatively, N(A) students with a score of not more than 19 points can apply for the DPP, a two-year Higher Nitec course at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). The scheme guarantees students who do well in their ITE course a place in a matching poly diploma course.

N(T) students may apply to the ITE or transfer to the Secondary 4 N(A) course if they get an A for English and Maths, and at least a B for one other subject. Switching to the N(A) course allows them to take the O-level exams in Secondary 5.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2015, with the headline 'N-level pass rates remain stable'. Print Edition | Subscribe