5 PSLE Changes From 2021 You Should Be Aware Of!

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Did you know that the PSLE is all set to undergo a revamp in 2021? Children who were in Primary 1 in 2016 will be the first to experience these PSLE changes. 

Did you know that the PSLE is all set to undergo a revamp in 2021? Children who were in Primary 1 in 2016 will be the first to experience these PSLE changes. 

According to the MOE, “The changes are part of a larger shift to better nurture well-rounded individuals.”

“We hope this will encourage more students to discover their strengths and interests, as well as strengthen their values, knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the future.”

Mums and dads, here is what you need to know about changes to the PSLE scoring system:

No T-score from 2021

Currently, a pupil’s PSLE aggregate is the sum of the T-scores of all the four subjects he took. The current T-score system reflects a student’s relative performance against his peers.

So a student may score well for all his subjects, but receive a lower T-score if his peers score better.

From 2021, scores will reflect students’ own level of achievement, instead of comparing them to their peers. The T-score will be replaced by wider scoring bands.

New scoring system

  • Each subject will be scored using 8 bands known as Achievement Levels (AL), with AL1 being the best score and AL8 being the lowest score. The ALs reflect the student’s level of achievement in the subject.

For example, those with marks >=90 will get AL1 for that subject. (See table below for new grading system)

psle changes


AL1: 90 and above
AL2: 85-89
AL3: 80-84
AL4: 75-79
AL5: 65-74
AL6: 45-64
AL7: 20-44
AL8: Below 20

  • The student’s total PSLE Score will be the sum of the four subject scores. For example, a student who scores AL1 in all 4 subjects will get a PSLE score of 4.

psle changes

An example of the new scoring system SOURCE: MOE

So basically, the lower the score, the better!

  • The PSLE Score will range from 4 (best) to 32. There are 29 possible PSLE Scores. This new grading system is meant to reduce excessively fine differentiation of students at a young age.

The MOE says, “We want our children to focus on their own learning instead of trying to outdo others. As long as they meet the learning objectives of the curriculum, they will score the corresponding achievement level.”

Choice order of schools will matter during secondary school posting

This is what the secondary one (S1) posting exercise will look like in 2021:

  • Posting will continue to be based on academic merit using the PSLE Score.

  • The child will submit a list of 6 schools in order of preference. If two students with the same score are being considered for the last place in a school, the following tie-breakers will be used:


Singapore Citizens have highest priority, then Singapore Permanent Residents, then International Students.

2. Choice order of schools (NEW – From 2021)
In case of a tie, priority will be given to the student who indicates a certain school as a higher choice.

For example, if 2 Singaporean students have the same PSLE score and have chosen the same school, the one who has put it down as their first choice will get more priority than the one who listed it as a second choice.

3. Computerised balloting

In case of 2 pupils with the same PSLE score and citizenship status, trying for a place in a school which they have both listed in the same choice order, computerised balloting will be used as a tie-breaker.

Changes to streaming system for Express, Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) streams

Students will continue to be assigned to Express, Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) courses.

From 2021, to get into the Express stream, pupils need to get a PSLE score of 22 or less. For the Normal (Academic) stream, the child should score 25 or less. For the Normal (Technical) stream, a score of 30 or less is required.

psle changes


Child may have to re-take PSLE if he does badly

Pupils need to score at least AL7 for English and Maths to join the Normal (Technical) stream.

Scores of 31 and 32, where a pupil scores AL8 for English and/or Maths would mean that he has to re-take the PSLE .

He can also choose to join the NorthLight and Assumption Pathway specialised schools.

Also READ: Top primary schools in Singapore based on MOE Awards

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