N-level results: Promotion rate to Sec 5 highest since 2009

Secondary 4 students waiting to receive their N-Level results at Crest Secondary School on Dec 17, 2021. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Peirce Secondary School students waiting to collect their N-Level results on Dec 17, 2021. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - Born with a genetic illness that reduced his vision to just light and shadow, Toh Bo Sheng, 17, was exempt from the PSLE Chinese-language exams.

But the Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School student learnt to use assistive technology to read and type formally in the language and even chose to sit the N-level exam in Chinese this year, earning an A in the subject.

Bo Sheng, who was in the Normal (Technical) stream, will be going to the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) for a Nitec in business services.

He also received an A for science and Bs for mathematics and elements of business skills.

He was one of 13,635 students who received their N-level results on Friday (Dec 17).

This year's Normal (Academic) stream students had the best showing at the N-level exams since 2009, slightly beating out last year's record performance.

Of this year's 9,407 candidates, 79.2 per cent made the cut for promotion to Secondary 5 next year, compared with 77.7 per cent last year.

This is the highest mark since the promotion criteria were revised in 2009.

Then, the promotion rate was 71.1 per cent, and the number has climbed steadily since.

On Friday, the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) released the results of the N-level exams, which were sat by students from the Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) streams.

Of the 4,228 Normal (Technical) students who sat the exams, 98.1 per cent passed.

The passing rate for Normal (Academic) students was 99.5 per cent, a touch lower than last year's mark of 99.7 per cent.

Peirce Secondary School students collecting their N-level results on Dec 17, 2021. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

Bo Sheng, who was back in school on Friday with his peers to receive their results, told The Straits Times via phone interview that being born with Alström syndrome - which causes his eyesight and hearing to slowly deteriorate - means that he has had to develop a positive mindset to get around life's challenges.

He said: "I have always wanted to tell myself that I am able to think and grow, so that I can get around the difficulties my condition causes."

The statement from MOE and SEAB added that 50.3 per cent of school candidates from the Normal (Academic) course sat O-level subject exams, as schools in Singapore move towards subject-based banding.

It added: "Schools will take into consideration their combined GCE Normal (Academic)-level and school-based O-level preliminary examination results when determining their eligibility for progression to Secondary 5 Normal (Academic) or post-secondary pathways."

The statement also detailed some post-secondary routes into higher education.

It said Secondary 4 Normal (Academic) students who scored an aggregate of not more than 19 points in English language, mathematics and the best three subjects, and at least a Grade 5 for all subjects used in the computation of this five-subject score, can apply for the Direct Entry Scheme to Polytechnic Programme (DPP).

Students will also need to meet subject-specific requirements, and those selected will progress to polytechnics through ITE.

Secondary 4 students collecting their N-level results at Crest Secondary School on Dec 17, 2021. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Under the DPP, students who complete their Higher Nitec course at ITE and get the minimum qualifying grade point average are guaranteed a place in a polytechnic diploma course mapped to their Higher Nitec course, it said.

Applications open on Friday and about 1,200 places will be on offer.

Students also have the option of applying for the polytechnic foundation programme (PFP), if their aggregate score does not exceed 12 points.

The PFP is a one-year foundation programme at the polytechnics to prepare students for entry into diploma courses.

Students who pass all the modules in the PFP can move on to do diplomas at the polytechnics.

The polytechnics will offer about 1,500 PFP places, and applications will open next month.

To some like Alessandre Kiel Cena Abaricia, 16, from Canberra Secondary’s Normal (Technical) stream, the release of results brought happiness and relief, and marked the beginning of the next chapter.

She got Bs in science, art, and computer applications, and her grades totalled up to a score of five. Alessandre told The Straits Times that she now plans to enrol in ITE’s nursing programme.

“It’s been my dream since I was a kid, and since the Covid-19 pandemic happened, I’ve seen how the front-liners are really doing their best to protect and give us the best kind of care."

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