PSLE through the years

PSLE papers from 2012 to 2014 in examination format, for both the standard and foundation levels, in all subjects.
PSLE papers from 2012 to 2014 in examination format, for both the standard and foundation levels, in all subjects.PHOTO: SEAB

SINGAPORE - The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) T-score, or transformed score, which has been in place for decades, will give way to wider scoring bands similar to the system adopted by the O levels.

From 2021, the PSLE score will place students into eight Achievement levels (ALs) for each subject. Those ALs will be converted into an overall score - four AL1s in all four subjects translate into a PSLE score of four.

The Primary 1 batch this year will be the first to be graded under this new system.


Here is a look at the history of the PSLE.


PSLE is introduced. Pupils are told only if they passed or failed.


T-scores, which stand for transformed scores, are introduced, but not revealed to pupils. The T-score method is a way to standardise results across subjects, by comparing results with the overall cohort performance.


Letter grades A, B, C and D are used. Pupils have to pass at least three out of the four subjects they took - English, Mother Tongue, mathematics and science. It is compulsory to pass English.


Grade A* is introduced.


T-scores are issued to candidates and the overall highest and lowest scores are printed on result slips.


Direct school admission at the secondary level is introduced. The scheme allows pupils to secure places in secondary schools based on their talent in sports, the arts or academics, before their PSLE results are released. Pupils are assessed in a number of ways such as interviews.


The Education Ministry (MOE) decides to stop announcing the top PSLE scorer, to cut excessive competition and stress.


• Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announces in his National Day Rally speech that the T-score will be replaced with wider grade bands, such as those used in the O- and A-level exams.

• MOE does not reveal the highest and lowest scores achieved by pupils in a cohort, to encourage them not to compare results.

2016 - July

MOE announces how the PSLE scoring and secondary school posting systems will be changed, starting from 2021.