“Running after getting your child admitted to a top school based on its academic prestige, without understanding how the child will cope with the pace of learning may do more harm than good,” advised the Principal of Raffles Institution (RI), Frederick Yeo.
He reportedly shared this invaluable advice with parents of children who had just taken the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE)
As you know, the new PSLE scoring system comes into force this year. So the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) deputy director-general of education (curriculum), Sng Chern Wei, fielded common questions from parents on the rationale behind the changes.
Yeo highlighted that parents needed to talk to their children about the choice of school as opposed to their scores.
He said, “It should be a school which they want to go to, it can’t be a school which you want them to go to.” These were among the many discussions at the Straits Times Smart Parenting webinar held on October 30.
PSLE Scoring System 2021: PSLE Candidates Need Not Worry About Getting Every Question Right
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They responded to questions from parents about subject-based banding and the importance of taking Higher Chinese to enter Special Assistance Plan (SAP) schools.
Over 2,000 parents attended the session virtually and principals of 10 schools spoke about the new PSLE scoring system and how it will impact pupils.
The session featuring the principal of Pasir Ris Crest, and Anderson Secondary, Tan May Teng, focused on the way subject-based banding will be implemented in their schools.
Mrs Tan shared with the audience that her school plans to start subject-based banding in 2022 and that it has already kickstarted the programme for English and mathematics subjects.
Addressing the doubt that if there is more than one pupil with the same PSLE score fighting for the last available place in a school, citizenship will be the highest priority and it will be followed by the school choice order, said Mr Sng.
He further clarified that the decision to make school choice a second tie-breaker is to recognise “the careful choices” made by parents and pupils when selecting a school. As you know, Citizenship was already a tie-breaking factor in the T-score system.
He shared that this year, they expect slightly more balloting because the chance of students getting the same PSLE score is higher under the new system. It will also depend on the school choices that parents have made.
PSLE Marking Scheme: Markers Not Rigid
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Mr Sng mentioned that markers are not rigid when it comes to looking at exam scripts. They carefully go through the answers that do not exactly fit into the PSLE marking scheme.
They will further try to find out whether these responses are a valid representation of pupils’ understanding.
- As part of the new PSLE scoring system 2021, each standard level PSLE subject will be scored using eight bands which are known as achievement levels (ALs).
- Each student will be given AL scores ranging from 1 to 8 for each subject.
- MOE’s Sng Chern Wei assured that the moderation for marking in the PSLE is not rigid and there is much deliberation involved.
- PSLE candidates are not marked on a bell curve in the new scoring system introduced in 2021. “There is no quota for the number of students who get AL1 or AL2 (in their subjects),” Wei told the parents.
The Difficulty Level Of PSLE
Mr Sng added that the exams do not test pupils on topics outside the syllabus. He further that while there are some questions that can be tricky, but there will be many which are quite easy.
Mr Sng further added, “Parents do not have to worry about getting every question right, that’s not the intent of the examination.”
The principals thus concluded sharing their take on how the new scoring system might impact secondary school postings. They also gave tips to parents on how to pick the right school.
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