New PSLE grading may not change situation

School children carrying their bags on July 4, 2019.
School children carrying their bags on July 4, 2019. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

It is a pity that even before the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) scoring changes come into effect, students and their parents are already predicting the cut-off entry scores of secondary schools (New PSLE grading to be used in P5 next year, July 26).

The new PSLE scoring system is meant to reflect an individual's achievement rather than to rank a pupil's performance relative to other pupils. The whole idea is to determine which secondary school a student is posted to, after all. It is a convenient instrument for the administrators at the Ministry of Education.

It does not go far in instilling in students the joy of learning. Many parents share the same inkling that I have that the system will remain in the same old situation after the change.

Perhaps one suggestion the Ministry of Education can consider is to build a few large cluster secondary schools that offer a more revolutionary way of learning. For instance, with enough resources, students can choose to learn subjects that they like, complete modules, earn credits and proceed at their own pace. It could also offer teachers a conducive environment to upgrade their skills by doing research.

Chua Boon Yiang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2019, with the headline 'New PSLE grading may not change situation'. Print Edition | Subscribe