askST: What happens when there is a tie in the PSLE scoring system?

Pupils will be posted to the secondary school of their choice based on their aggregate score in the PSLE. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The secondary school posting results for this year's cohort of Primary 6 pupils will be released on Dec 22. Senior Education Correspondent Sandra Davie answers a question on the posting system.

Q: I am awaiting my daughter's secondary school posting results later this month. Can you explain the posting system that will be used this year? What happens when there is a tie-break and does putting a school as first choice give a student priority?

A: The new Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) scoring system will take effect only next year. So, this year, the old scoring system applies.

Pupils will be posted to the secondary school of their choice based on their aggregate score in the PSLE.

First, pupils are ranked according to detailed aggregate scores that extend to decimal points. The No. 1 pupil is posted to the school at the top of his list of six choices. Likewise the second pupil and so on, until there are no more vacancies in the school.

The pupil who fails to get his top choice will be posted to the next school on his list. If that school is also full, he will be sent to his third-choice school, and so on.

Pupils who fail to get a place in any of their choices of schools will be posted to one near their home that still has vacancies. But they must have met the school's lowest PSLE aggregate.

Those still without a school will be posted to one in other postal districts that still has vacancies.

You asked what happens when there is a tie.

Where there are two or more pupils with the same rounded aggregate score vying for the last place in a school, they will be posted based on their citizenship.

Singaporeans get in first, followed by permanent residents and international pupils.

If there is still a tie - between two Singaporeans, for example - the one with the higher unrounded aggregate score will be posted to the school first. If the two have the same unrounded aggregate score, then posting will be determined by a computerised ballot.

You did not say if your daughter's school has an affiliated secondary school. If a pupil wants to go to an affiliated secondary school, then she must indicate it as her first choice. This gives her priority. But it does not guarantee admission; it is subject to the availability of places.

Pupils must also meet additional qualifying criteria set by the affiliated secondary school.

At least 20 per cent of the total places in each academic course - Express, Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) - will be set aside for pupils who do not benefit from affiliation priority.

Affiliated pupils who are not posted to their first choice will be considered for their next choice school.

For dual-track schools offering both Integrated Programme (IP) and the O-level track, affiliation considerations will be given only for those applying for the O-level track.

You also asked if the order of school choice matters when there is a tie-break.

For this year's P6 cohort, the order in which pupils list their school choices does not give them priority in determining who gets a place.

For example, your daughter and another pupil are vying for the last place in School A, and they have the same aggregate score and are both Singapore citizens.

It will not matter if your daughter listed School A as her first choice and the other student had listed it as her third. In this case, the posting will be determined by a computerised ballot with an equal chance for each student.

The choice order of schools will play a more significant role next year when the new PSLE scoring system comes into effect.

A pupil who indicates a school as his or her first choice will get a place ahead of someone else with the same score, but indicates it as a second or third choice.

The secondary school posting results will be released on Dec 22.

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