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Understanding How PSLE Papers Are Developed And Marked



The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is a yearly examination that is taken by students at the end of their final year of primary school education. To prepare for PSLE, the practice of using psle test papers free in Singapore is prevalent among students. While working through the exam questions found in such past year papers, we must be appreciative of the hard work that goes into setting the papers. Teachers who are able to set exam papers for the cohort usually have many years of teaching experience under their belt. After all, it is no child’s play fulfilling the requirements of the MOE syllabus while ensuring that the standard of the paper is able to differentiate the best students from the average ones.


It is worthwhile to understand the key processes that take place when a PSLE paper is developed. There are several processes involved to ensure that the PSLE maintains a comparable standard with previous years’. More details can be found on the SEAB website.


Test Development Stage


The Table of Specifications (TOS) for a subject syllabus is referred to when the PSLE paper is developed. The TOS provides the detailed outline of the syllabus and is followed closely to ensure that there is adequate coverage of skills, concepts and topics to evaluate the performance of candidates. The crucial task of setting a PSLE paper is undertaken by a panel of subject specialists with professional knowledge of the assessment criteria. It is also the responsibility of the panel to ensure that the paper has a balanced proportion of basic, average and difficult questions to properly assess the abilities of students. It is thus common to find extremely challenging Science primary 6 maths questions in the PSLE, all for the purpose of having the right mix of questions of varying difficulty levels. At the same time, a provisional mark scheme is developed. The subject specialists participate in numerous sessions of discussion to ensure that the paper fulfils the requirements of the syllabus. Subsequently, senior examiners vet and check through the content for clarity and standard comparability before the paper is finalised.


During the PSLE


Candidates take the PSLE under specified conditions.


Marking Stage 1: Standardisation Process


Scripts from a wide range of students’ performance are selected by the panel as samples to take in the comprehensive range of responses. Variations in responses and alternative answers from these selected scripts are then considered and analysed meticulously against the provisional mark scheme. Based on the representative sample scripts, the provisional mark scheme is refined and updated before a rigorous discussion by a team of Key Marking Personnel (KMP) to establish a common understanding of it. KMPs apply the updated mark scheme on the sample scripts and practise marking them. Subsequently, there is further refinement of the mark scheme.


Marking Stage 2: Marking Process


All markers are briefed on the mark scheme by the Chief Marker at the marking centre. The responses of all candidates are assessed carefully by the markers. Responses which display correct understanding and application of skills and concepts relevant to the context of the question, for example in psle science questions, are awarded marks. During the whole duration of the marking, marking is monitored. Sample checks are carried out by KMPs at the different levels of the marking structure to ensure that the scripts are marked consistently and accurately.




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