Not every student will walk out of the exam hall smiling. Arm yourself with knowledge about what to expect and how to cope with disappointment.
The Primary School Leaving Examinations, PSLE results release is around the corner. While some parents and children may leave the school smiling jubilantly, it won’t be the same for everyone. Let’s face it, not everyone is going to attain 4 A Stars and make it to a top-tier school. So what must you know about the PSLE results release and how to cope with the results?
1. It’s not just about you and your expectations
I think the first thing parents need to understand about the PSLE result release is that it’s not their examination. Granted that you are the parents and possibly have invested a great amount of time, effort and money, from securing a place in a preferred primary school, to tuition, to staying up with your child, but it is still their examination at the end of the day.
Firstly, analyse the situation. You might have set certain expectations that your child did not meet. But if he performs reasonably well and meets his own expectations, think twice before saying something that might kill his spirit and make him feel lousy. Don’t discredit his accomplishment.
If your child fails to perform and you are both disappointed, don’t harp on how let down and unhappy you are and how all your efforts have gone to waste. I’m sure he is feeling terrible as it is so don’t add insult to the injury. Don’t make it all about you when the one who’s worst affected is your child after all.
2. Be the adult in the situation
PSLE results release is a difficult and challenging period for both parent and child. But it is more difficult for the child. Remember, you have been through so much more in life and have a wealth of experiences but this really is the first major milestone in your child’s life.
If you both have massive emotional outbursts, then who’s supposed to do the damage control? However disappointed you feel, save the breaking down for when your child is out of your sight. Be the adult, manage your own emotions then proceed to manage your child’s.
Calm him down, say a few reassuring words and think about what to do next. Don’t scream and shout or worse, hit your child if they fail to meet expectations.
On the other hand, if your child did exceptionally well, please be mature enough to congratulate him and teach him humility. Don’t pick up your phone and start bragging to everyone in town. Your child is watching you and will follow the example that you set.
3. Don’t Compare
“Your cousin managed to score 260, why can’t you do it? You both took the same examination!” This is a classic example of what you shouldn’t be saying to your child. We all know that children have differing abilities as well as circumstances on the day of the examination so please avoid comparison.
Also, if your child did well, there’s no need to rapid fire a round of questions enquiring how all their friends did so you can send out congratulations and condolences. Focus on your child’s results for the time being.
4. There are many roads to success
If you think the PLSE T-Score or the secondary school that they go to is the ultimate indication of how successful their lives will turn out to be, then I urge you to think again. Many of the 4 A*, 260 T-scorers that I know are struggling to please their bosses for good appraisals while many of the average scorers are CEOs and Managing Directors.
A single examination is not an accurate reflection of a child’s ability or where he will end up in life. Please remember this at all times.
Just so you know mums and dads, if your child makes it to the Normal Academic Steam, he can still take certain subjects at Express level for the curriculum is more differentiated these days. Likewise, if he performs well in the Normal Academic, or even Normal Technical Stream, there are chances for him to do a lateral transfer to the Express stream at the end of Secondary one or two.
Also, the O Levels aren’t the only route to success. Many students excel in the Normal Academic Stream and go right on to a Polytechnic to do a Poly Foundation Programme. This means that they skip their O levels altogether!
If a child is in the Normal Technical Stream, he may still excel and go on to Institute of Technical Education (ITE), and if he continues to excel, he will go on to the Polytechnic and subsequently, university. It may take longer and it may not be the route that you had planned for it doesn’t matter, for when there’s a will, there’s always a way!
Almost every child will make it to a secondary school even if they attain a very low T-score. In the extremely unlikely event that your child gets ‘U’ grades, you might want to assess if your child is ready for secondary school or if he has some unaddressed needs.
5. Things Don’t Always Go As Planned
Sometimes, even if your child really does his best, things do go wrong. As mentioned, and I would like to emphasise that a single examination is never a true reflection of a child’s ability. Your child may have suffered from a panic attack during the examination, he may have felt unwell, experienced a mental block or pretty much anything could have happened.
Things that are happening at home can also affect the child’s performance so please be very mindful. If you are going through a divorce, are facing a financial crisis or if you discover you have a health problem, please try your best not to let your child know about it during this period. But because we plan things in a certain way and they don’t always go as planned, if your child has to face such circumstances, you must remember that it will affect his results and that’s not his fault in any way!
On a concluding note, many parents are extremely tensed during the PSLE results release because they use their child’s performance in the examination as a yardstick of their parenting success. This is wrong! The PSLE is about your child, not you.
Please remember during the period of the PLSE results release, your child is extremely vulnerable and the things that you say could leave him scarred for life.
In worst cases, you might drive your child to do something rash and impulsive and I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. You do not want to end up with a depressed child, or losing your child altogether, because of one failed examination. There’s more to life than grades!