PSLE does not irreversibly define child's worth

I was very heartened to read about Dr Vincent Lim's journey in obtaining his PhD and becoming a researcher at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research despite scoring 124 for his PSLE (From EM3 to PhD: A*Star researcher scored 124 for PSLE; Nov 19).

This report is a timely reminder that PSLE scores do not irreversibly define a child's future.

When I look around, I see quite a few examples of early high achievers with promising PSLE scores who end up repeating a year in junior college or struggling with their studies at the tertiary level.

Conversely, there are also many late bloomers who improve phenomenally in their adolescent years and eventually outperform their peers from the gifted stream or top classes despite their lacklustre PSLE scores.

Many parents see the PSLE as a "make or break" examination, but it is not. It is just the first hurdle in a long educational journey.

Thankfully, we have an education system that allows slow developers to learn at their own pace and maximise their potential.

If more parents and educators could have a paradigm shift and not see the PSLE as irreversibly defining a child's worth, we would have more hopeful learners and fewer stressed youngsters around.

Tung Ying Ying (Madam)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2018, with the headline 'PSLE does not irreversibly define child's worth'. Print Edition | Subscribe