Updated: Apr 30
National exams like the PSLE have always been a major source of anxiety for students and their parents. The Primary 6 students this year make up the pioneer batch of pupils who will be assessed based on the new PSLE scoring system.
As with all things novel, we can expect parents to have different opinions of this new scoring system. Some parents may rejoice, for the T-score system, which compared a student’s performance to that of his peers, has finally been abolished. In addition, the new scoring system no longer places emphasis on “the last mark” – one which could sometimes determine which secondary school a student could get into.
On the contrary, some parents may not warmly embrace this change. The new scoring system is intended to allay the stress that students face when placed in a climate which requires them to compete against their peers in PSLE questions Singapore, but some parents remain uncertain that the system can indeed achieve this aim. In all fairness, this year is the first year in which the new scoring system is used and it is plausible to believe that many parents do not know what to expect. This could lead to greater anxiety and hence cause more stress to parents who might want to ensure that their children work harder given the uncertainties brought about by the change in the scoring system.
As most of us know, PSLE Maths Papers have the mighty potential to cause a stir among parents due to the existence of hard PSLE Math questions. Indeed, these questions are for the purpose of distinguishing the best students from the average ones. Under the new scoring system, students are given Achievement Levels (ALs) based on the marks they score. The inability to score for more challenging questions and consequently the loss of a few marks could mean that a student would get probably an AL2 rather than an AL1. By the same logic, every mark is still important in the exam regardless of the type of scoring system. The only difference now is the absence of an external factor, that is, the general performance of the whole cohort, that might impact a student’s final score.
Some parents may have strategies to ensure that their children will still do well under the new scoring system. The strategies may include revising for all topics covered in the upper primary levels, using materials including but not limited to free test papers for Primary 5, focusing on extremely challenging questions to ensure that all grounds are covered, and using creative modes of learning like using PSLE Science notes Singapore and flashcards to aid their children in memory retention.
As reported in local news websites, there is also apprehension about the new scoring system with regards to admission to secondary schools. Firstly, under the T-score scoring system, students were more distinctly differentiated in their scores. The varying standards of secondary schools were also specified by definite cut-off points. However, with the new AL banding, the smaller range of scores would mean that there could be more students applying for the same schools, particularly the more popular ones.
Without a doubt, it will take time for educators and the ministry to assess the new scoring system once it is implemented on a nationwide level.