What is considered a good grade in Singapore for PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination)?
Before understanding “what are good grades for PSLE in Singapore ” let’s first discuss how and when it was introduced.
Primary School leaving examination is a standardized national examination in Singapore, introduced in 1960, which is conducted to access the proficiency of the primary students at the end of the 6th year before they move to the secondary level. The PSLE exam is taken by the Ministry of Education (MOE) annually.
Secondary Schools Entrance Examination before the PSLE introduced in Singapore:
It was a time when there was more than half a quarter school was Chinese-medium schools and half of the school was English-medium school and Malay was accepted as the national language in Singapore.
So there were four stream schools that time including English-medium schools, Chinese-medium schools, Malay-Stream schools, and the Tamil-stream Schools.
Before the implementation of PSLE, all schools were taking a different kind of secondary entrance examination.
In 1935, the Chinese-medium schools introduced an annual examination to access the proficiency of their final 6th-year students. This exam was discontinued in 1950.
In 1952, a Common Standard VI Entrance Examination was introduced for the English-stream schools to provide a non-discriminatory organization for the entrance in the secondary schools. Later on, this renamed as Secondary School Entrance Exam. Till 1959, the Secondary Entrance Exam was used by English-stream schools, to access their students.
In 1959, Malay-stream primary schools established a common Secondary Entrance Examination for the preparation of first secondary-Malay School.
Tamil-Stream schools had to take the Federation of Malay Standard VII (Tamil) examination for their aspirating primary students in the final year of their primary year as Singapore had no separate examination of these schools due to the small number of candidature.
Thus, the PSLE system provided a standard form of examination to unite the different groups and ultimately help in promoting loyalty in Singapore.
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Introduction of PSLE:
The PSLE system was introduced on 30, March 1960 by the Ministry of Education Yong Nyuk Lin for all four-stream schools as the new Secondary Entrance Examination. The PSLE exam initially consisted of six subjects including Primary and Secondary Languages, Science, Mathematics, History, and Geography.
The format of the PSLE examination has been consistently revised throughout its history. The latest revision in PSLE is made on 13 July 2016, where the aggregate T-scoring of PSLE was replaced with the scoring brands from 2021.
The current T-scoring of grades is very hard and competitive for the students. T-scoring reflects the student’s relative performance to the rest of his colleagues.
A student can get lower T-Score even after he had performed well in the entire subjects if the rest of his cohort had scored better than him.
The Formula to calculate T-Score:
x= candidates marks for the subject
m= Average marks obtained by all the candidates
s= spread of the marks around the average.
The Aggregate T-Score is evaluated by adding all the T-scores opt by the students in the standard subjects.
Therefore, we cannot compare a student’s one year’s aggregate score with another year’s score Because each year students will get the different average marks.
Thus, PSLE aggregate score is based on T-score so there is no “maximum aggregate score”
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How is the grade awarded?
The Grades for the each standard subjects are awarded as A*= 91 and above, A=75-90, B=60-74, C=50-59, D=40-49, E=21-39, U=Below 20.
For Foundation subjects the grades are awarded as 1,2,3,4 where 1 is for the 91 and above marks and 4 is for the lowest marks.
The Mother Tongue Subjects are graded as Distinction (Highest Marks), Merit and Pass (Lowest Marks).
“Ungraded” is for those subjects which were missed by the students or those subjects where a student achieves lower than minimum psle score /required grade.
The difference between T-score and Student’s grade:
The student’s grades indicate how well he has performed in that particular subject on the basis of standard performance and the T-Score indicates his performance on an average in his four standard subjects in the comparison of his cohort.
So we cannot say what is a good PSLE score or the Maximum Aggregate score is because it depends on your cohort performance.
For the one year, 250 could be the good PSLE marks and the same marks would not be good for the other years.
Upcoming changes in the PSLE:
A huge number of teachers, parents, and students think that current PSLE is an unnecessary burden on the students in such a young age year. It is hindering their skills and interest so to reduce that pressure and to promote all-rounder students some changes had made in the PSLE system.
The new PSLE system is designed to remove the grading of performance between the cohorts. The previous PSLE grade was calculated on the basis of cohort performance but the new PSLE will be graded according to his own achievements and learning.
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From 2021, the student’s PSLE will be the range from 4-32; where 4 will indicate the best results (AL1) in 4 subjects and 32 indicate the worst score.
The student will be placed in the secondary school in courses- Express, Normal (Academic), Normal (Technical).
There will be 29 possible PSLE scores so the students would be graded on the basis of their own performance and learning.
In the present system, the students are posted according to the most preferred school which they have eligible as per their score and the order they have selected is not given priority.
In the new system, they will be selected on the basis of the list of their preferred mean if two students have scored the same and eligible for the same 2 schools then they will be placed only that school which they have listed as on their prior choice.
I have the information given in this post has given you a better picture of the PSLE and the grading system in Singapore.
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