The Education Ministry has refined the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), to "craft the more challenging exam questions in a way that lets our children show what they've learnt, while keeping the PSLE standard high", Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said in a blog post on Friday, hours after the PSLE results were released.
He said this was done to guide pupils' thinking and students were given points along the way for the and not just for their final answer. He explained that the change allowed pupils who were partially right to score a portion of the marks, even if they did not get the final answer right.
Pupils had also given feedback to teachers that the papers had given them a chance to do well, he said.
In the post, he also congratulated the class of 2013, and reminded pupils whose results were not up to their expectations to not give up. "Remember, the PSLE is not the be-all-and-end-all. Whatever the outcome, if you work hard, you can always do better! You must never judge yourself or your friends by a number," he wrote.
He added that the PSLE results this year showed that the ministry's efforts of implementing programmes to help pupils level up have "made a difference to many".
This year, 66.7 per cent of the 43,047 Primary 6 pupils made it to the Express stream, up from 63.1 per cent last year.