Competition, stress won't go away under new PSLE grading

Pupils at Geylang Methodist School (Primary) waiting for the release of their PSLE results.
Pupils at Geylang Methodist School (Primary) waiting for the release of their PSLE results.PHOTO: ST FILE

The new Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) scoring system seems more complicated than the current T-score system (New PSLE grading to be used in P5 next year, July 26).

And will it deliver the supposed benefits?

For one thing, will it pare down the stress and competition the current system is purported to cause?

As long as there is a score, competition will exist, and pupils and parents will aim high, with the concomitant stress.

In fact, since the difference between Achievement Levels is one mark, pupils will still chase after every last mark, no matter how frustrating.

In any case, stress and competition, if well managed, should be encouraged, as they help to develop resilience, a useful trait in a progressively challenging world. We must not risk developing a generation of complacent and relenting individuals.

Most parents will not accept that their children cannot cope with the rigours of the education system and voluntarily opt for Foundation-level subjects. Wanting the best for their children, and hoping that it will help them make the grade, they may pile them with enrichment classes and tuition, and consequently, more stress.

However, chasing after perfect grades and acquiring skills like adaptability, teamwork, and good communication are not mutually-exclusive. The education system must develop a curriculum to ensure this, and not to treat such skills as an opportunity cost in the pursuit of grades.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan