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MOE to release by mid-2021 indicative cut-off points for sec schools based on new PSLE grading system

SINGAPORE — To give parents of pupils sitting for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) next year a better idea of how the new scoring system will affect their children’s secondary school posting, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will release indicative cut-off point ranges for schools by mid-2021.

MOE to release by mid-2021 indicative cut-off points for sec schools based on new PSLE grading system

The MOE in a press release on Friday (Nov 6) said that it would base the indicative cut-off points on PSLE results and school choices of this year’s Primary 6 cohort.

  • The new Achievement Level (AL) scoring system will kick in for pupils taking the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) next year 
  • The entry cut-off points will be based on this year’s PSLE results and school choices
  • Indicative ranges will give pupils and parents a better idea of how the new scoring system will affect their secondary school posting, said the Education Ministry (MOE)
  • MOE also released the criteria for subject-based banding under the new scoring system

 

SINGAPORE — To give parents of pupils sitting for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) next year a better idea of how the new scoring system will affect their children’s secondary school posting, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will release indicative cut-off point ranges for schools by mid-2021.

The MOE in a press release on Friday (Nov 6) said that it would base these cut-off points on PSLE results and school choices of this year’s Primary 6 cohort. 

“The indicative cut-off points of individual schools, derived from the PSLE results and school choice patterns of the 2020 PSLE cohort, will provide the 2021 Pri 6 cohort with the most recent information to refer to,” said MOE.

From next year onwards, all Pri 5 and 6 pupils will be graded according to Achievement Level (AL) scores instead of alphabetical grades in a bid to reduce emphasis on their academic achievements.

The new scoring system, where AL1 is the highest grade and AL8 is the lowest, looks at pupils’ individual performance in subjects instead of how they do relative to their peers, which is currently the case in the T-score system.

Before the more detailed cut-off for each school is released, the MOE has released indicative AL cut-off points by streams and school types based on last year’s PSLE results and postings. 

For example, the AL range for the Integrated Programme in government or government-aided schools are from AL7 to AL9. In independent schools, it is from AL6 to AL8.

The range for the Express stream in government schools is from AL8 to AL22 while this range is AL8 to AL10 for independent schools. 

These cut-off points will allow the first batch of pupils under the new PSLE scoring system, who will be receiving their Pri 5 end-of-year examination results in the AL format, to “contextualise” their results in preparation for next year, said MOE.

Deputy secretary of policy at MOE, Ms Melissa Khoo, said in a briefing to the media on Friday that there would be “more than enough time” for pupils and parents to make a decision on their choice of secondary schools. 

She encouraged parents to consider other aspects of a school, such as its values, culture and location, when choosing secondary schools.

MOE said that secondary schools affiliated to primary schools will still have two sets of cut-off points next year to cater to affiliated and non-affiliated pupils. 

It said that there will also be no change in how the affiliation priority works, with pupils still required to meet the minimum requirements of the secondary school and pick them as their first choice. 

The grades of pupils admitted through Direct School Admission will not be included when cut-off points based on AL scores are released, as is currently the case.

CRITERIA FOR SUBJECT-BASED BANDING

On Friday, MOE also released the eligibility criteria for subject-based banding where students are allowed to take subjects at different difficulty levels in secondary school based on their AL scores. 

Subject-based banding, which was introduced to all secondary schools with Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) streams in Singapore in 2018, allows pupils from these streams to take English, mathematics, science or a mother tongue language at a more demanding level.

For example, a student who is in Normal (Academic) in Sec 1 but who has scored A* for English may qualify to take that subject at the Express level. 

Under the new scoring system, if a pupil scores AL5 or better in a Standard level subject for PSLE, he will be eligible to take the subject at the Express level in secondary school.

If the student scores AL6 or better at the Standard level, or AL A, the top grade at Foundation level, for one of these subjects at the PSLE, he qualifies to take the subject at the Normal (Academic) level when he moves to secondary school.

MOE said that the criteria to take up subjects at the Express level are consistent with the course placement criteria under the new scoring system and indicate that a student can likely cope with the subject at a more demanding level.

A student who achieves a PSLE score of AL20, which is an average of AL5 for each subject, would qualify for the Express course and be eligible to take all subjects at that level by default.

Therefore, AL5 is used as the qualifying grade to assess if students from other courses are ready to take the subject at the Express level, said MOE.

The same principle applies to criteria allowing those placed in the Normal (Technical) course to take subjects at the Normal (Academic) level, added the ministry.

Related topics

PSLE Subject Based Banding MOE schools

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