Four-subject academic score does not do justice to a child's strengths

I am cheered by the recent movement to steer beyond PSLE grades because I believe the scores do little to provide a comprehensive report of a child's elementary education (A look at PSLE scores - to get parents to look beyond grades; Sept 17).

I am a stay-home mum with three children, each with different educational inclinations.

My eldest thrived in the system, simply because she has a flair for mathematics and science. Supported by a great Chinese tutor, she fared well enough to be given a wide array of secondary school choices.

Now in secondary school, she had to hand in a project that constituted of an essay, a presentation and a hand-made model. She fared badly in the last component, because she "was not good at art". This was despite the fact that she had taken art as a subject in primary school. Could it be that the primary school let her off even when she handed in inadequate work? Would it be different if the subject were graded?

My second child has a great interest in art. She spends a great deal of time on her non-graded art projects, does extensive research for social studies assignments and looks forward to Values in Action initiatives. All of these are not included in the Primary School Leaving Examination scores. Therefore, I know that the T-score would not reflect her strengths at all.

I think that is where the system would have failed a child (or vice versa), when the four-subject score does not do justice to a child.

It would be more beneficial if the PSLE included subjects like arts, sports and music. This would encourage children to put in equal effort for all subjects and learn more holistically, hence making them more well-rounded.

I believe children should be encouraged to put in their best effort in everything they do, especially from a young age. Only then would they be ready to make the best out of anything that life throws at them in future.

Silvia Sunata (Madam)