Committee of Supply debate

Primary: No more PSLE aggregate score from 2021

PSLE results day for Kong Hwa pupils in 2014. The current PSLE aggregate score will be replaced, and the new scoring system will have wider scoring bands, like the grading at O and A levels. Marks will also not be based on how pupils do relative to t
PSLE results day for Kong Hwa pupils in 2014. The current PSLE aggregate score will be replaced, and the new scoring system will have wider scoring bands, like the grading at O and A levels. Marks will also not be based on how pupils do relative to their peers, as they are now.ST FILE PHOTO

The Education and Manpower ministries yesterday outlined a range of new measures to prepare students and workers for a more challenging economic landscape. We look at the key changes.

The Primary School Leaving Examination's (PSLE) aggregate score will be a thing of the past from 2021, to reduce the obsession with academic results.

The new scoring system, which affects this year's Primary 1 pupils, will have wider scoring bands, like the grading at O and A levels.

Marks will also not be based on how pupils do relative to their peers, as they are now.

The hope is that pupils will focus on their own learning rather than engage in a race with their peers.

"The main issue to address is that the way we currently score the PSLE is too precise, and differentiates our students more finely than necessary," said Acting Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng yesterday.

"The way that the T-score is calculated may have also created unhealthy competition among our young children."

The Ministry of Education (MOE) will take the next few years to develop and test the new exam system, plus how this effects the postings to secondary schools. MOE will reveal more details in the coming months.

Mr Ng hopes that with this shift towards a more holistic education system, children will get the time and space to "not just study the flowers, but also stop to smell the flowers, and wonder at their beauty".

Amelia Teng

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2016, with the headline 'Primary: No more PSLE aggregate score from 2021'. Print Edition | Subscribe