From next year, Primary 5 pupils will be graded using the new Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) scoring system to help them, and their parents, come to grips with it. This is an eminently sensible move because it will familiarise them early on with the process that will determine pupils' entry to secondary schools after completing Primary 6. Indeed, in the next few months, schools will engage parents and pupils, starting with those in Primary 4, to guide them in taking decisions on the choice of PSLE subjects. This initiative should provide key stakeholders in the school system with ample opportunity to respond to a fundamental shift in the national direction of education that is taking place.
That shift is reflected in the decision to move to a PSLE grading system that uses broad achievement bands, which result in 29 possible scores, instead of the current T-score system, which has more than 200 variations. The decision, taken in 2016, to do away with the T-score was meant to reduce over-emphasis on academic results and to reflect a pupil's own level of achievement instead of comparing him with his peers. The far-reaching implications of this change should guide parents in grasping the place of their children in Singapore's evolving educational and economic future.