Key things to know about new scoring system

Pupils will be given Achievement Levels 1 to 8 for each subject. PHOTO: ST FILE

1 How were the indicative achievement level (AL) cut-off points for school types derived?

The information was derived from the 2019 Primary 6 cohort's Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results and school choices.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) first simulated each pupil's individual subject score in AL terms, based on their raw subject scores. The AL scores were added to form a pupil's total PSLE score. It then simulated their posting outcomes based on the new Secondary 1 posting system and its tie-breakers.

The indicative AL cut-off point for each school was determined by the PSLE score of the last student admitted.

Based on the score of the last student admitted, the lowest and the highest cut-off points of schools within each school type were used to obtain the range.

The actual cut-off point for a school can vary yearly, as this depends on PSLE results and school choice patterns of each Primary 6 cohort.

2 Why is MOE releasing indicative AL cut-off point ranges by school types now, and doing so for individual secondary schools only next year?

The first batch of pupils under the new system will soon receive their Primary 5 end-of-year examination results in the AL format.

MOE said that releasing indicative cut-off point ranges by school types would provide pupils some context to where they might stand.

The indicative AL cut-off points for each secondary school will be released in the first half of next year. These will be based on data from this year's PSLE cohort, which would be most recent.

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3 Will several schools have the same AL cut-off points? How do parents make school choices when the indicative AL cut-off points for many schools are the same?

The AL bands, on the whole, have been deliberately designed to be wider, therefore more schools will likely have the same AL cut-off.

Parents and students are encouraged to look beyond the schools' cut-off points when choosing a secondary school, MOE said. They should consider the student's learning needs, interests, strengths and aspirations, along with the school's culture, environment, ethos and programmes.

MOE added that parents and students should bear in mind that order of choice of schools will be a tie-breaker from next year onwards.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2020, with the headline Key things to know about new scoring system. Subscribe