Why assign Mother Tongue score to exempted pupils?

Primay school pupils on their way home.
Primay school pupils on their way home.PHOTO: ST FILE

The Ministry of Education (MOE) must be applauded for making the bold move of transitioning from the T-score system to the new Achievement Level (AL) banding for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).

I believe it is moving in the right direction and hopefully, this will evolve from a point-scoring mindset to one of learning.

But upon reading about the announcement (Schools to reach out to parents to allay concerns, July 26), I was left puzzled by the approach adopted for pupils exempted from Mother Tongue Language (MTL).

These pupils will be assigned a score for MTL (Foundation) based on the MTL scores of pupils who achieved similar grades in English, mathematics and science.

This effectively assigns them a Standard AL score of 6, 7 or 8.

Why do is there a need to assign an MTL score if these pupils are exempted from taking the subject in the first place?

If the purpose is to achieve an aggregate score for four subjects, there are other ways to calibrate the aggregate AL score.

MOE has recognised this group of pupils and approved their exemptions.

Assigning an MTL (Foundation) score for their Secondary 1 posting takes away this recognition and penalises them during the PSLE.

This is counterintuitive as this group of pupils will not be taking MTL in secondary school.

MOE should rethink its approach for these pupils and allow them to be evaluated on a level playing field.

Chin Theam Leng