What does this mean for your child?

Find out how the changes to the PSLE scoring system will affect your child’s subject and school choices.

Key changes

Achievement Levels (ALs)

The PSLE T-score has been replaced with wider scoring bands, known as Achievement Levels (ALs).

Each PSLE subject will be scored using 8 ALs. Students who perform similarly will be placed in the same AL for each subject.

AL Raw Mark Range
1 ≥ 90
2 85 - 89
3 80 - 84
4 75 - 79
5 65 - 74
6 45 - 64
7 20 - 44
8 < 20

To understand why the scoring bands are uneven, click here.

Your child’s PSLE Score will be the sum of the four subject scores. It ranges from 4 to 32, with 4 being the best possible total score.

Example of how a student’s PSLE Score is calculated

English Language AL3
Mother Tongue Language AL2
Mathematics AL1
Science AL2
PSLE Score: 8
Presentation of P5 results in Holistic Development Profile (HDP)

To familiarise students and their parents with the new AL system, P5 and P6 students will receive their school-based examination results in ALs.

Scoring for Foundation Level Subjects

Under the new AL system, if your child is taking Foundation level subjects, your child will be graded AL A to AL C.

Like ALs for Standard level subject, the ALs for Foundation level subject will reflect a student’s level of achievement, rather than how they have performed relative to their peers.

For the purpose of S1 posting, Foundation level AL A to AL C will be mapped to AL 6 to AL 8 of Standard level subjects respectively, to derive a student’s overall PSLE Score.

Grades for Foundation Foundation Raw Mark Range Equivalent Standard Level AL
A 75 - 100 6
B 30 -74 7
C < 30 8
Scoring for Mother Tongue Language Exemption and Asian Language/ Foreign Language

Under the new scoring system, students exempted from MTL, due to extenuating circumstances, will be assigned an MTL score so they have a PSLE score comprising four subjects, for the purposes of S1 Posting. The same approach is taken in today’s T-score system. Their assigned MTL score will:

  • Take reference from peers with similar scores for English, Mathematics, and Science.
  • Maintain parity of treatment with students who take Foundation MTL (who will score between AL 6 to 8)

Hence, students will receive an assigned MTL score between AL 6 to 8 in PSLE.

Click here to find out how a student’s MTL score is assigned.

Use of Higher Chinese Language (HCL) for admission to SAP schools

Students who obtained Distinction/Merit/Pass in HCL and a PSLE Score of 14 or better (i.e. PSLE Score ≤ 14) at PSLE will be eligible for posting advantage to SAP schools.

If multiple students with the same PSLE Score apply for places in the same SAP school, those with better HCL grades will be allocated a place ahead of other students. This applies before the tie-breakers for S1 posting.

Secondary school course and subject eligibility

Secondary school course eligibility under the AL system

Until 2023, your child will continue to be placed in a secondary school course – Express, Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical) - based on their PSLE Score.

Placement Outcome PSLE Score
EXPRESS 4 - 20
EXPRESS /
N(A) OPTION
21 - 22
N(A) 23 - 24
N(A) / N(T) OPTION 25
N(T) 26 - 30, with AL7 or better in both English Language and Mathematics

For students who are not eligible for Express, Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical) courses, they would be offered the option to retake the PSLE. Alternatively, they could progress to Assumption Pathway School (APS) or NorthLight School (NLS), with their principal’s endorsement, for a more experiential and hands-on learning approach.

Higher Mother Tongue Language (HMTL) in secondary school

For your child to take HMTL, your child should meet the following criteria:

Eligibility Criteria for Secondary School HMTL
(i) An overall PSLE Score of 8 or better

OR

(ii) An overall PSLE Score of 9 to 14 (inclusive); and attain

  • AL 1 / AL 2 in MTL or
  • Distinction / Merit in HMTL

The eligibility criteria is intended to ensure that your child will be able to cope with the higher academic load. It takes reference from the criteria under the T-score system.

Schools also have the flexibility to allow students who do not meet the above criteria to take HMTL, if they are assessed to have exceptional ability in MTL and are able to take HMTL without affecting their performance in other subjects.

Mother Tongue Language (MTL) ‘B’

Students facing exceptional difficulties in MTL have the option to take MTL ‘B’ at Secondary 1 instead of taking MTL at the Express or N(A) level. For your child to be eligible for MTL ‘B’, your child should meet the criteria in the table below.

Eligibility Criteria for MTL ‘B’ at Secondary 1
Students in Express or Normal (Academic) course with:

(i) AL 7 or 8 in Standard MTL

OR

(ii) AL B or C in Foundation MTL

Schools continue to have the discretion to offer MTL ‘B’ to students who face exceptional difficulties in MTL but do not meet the eligibility criteria to take MTL ‘B’ at Secondary 1 based on their PSLE results.

Beyond Secondary 1, as students progress in secondary school, they can also take up MTL ‘B’ if they are assessed to be suitable by their schools.

Third Language in Secondary School

For your child to take a third language in secondary school, your child should meet the respective criteria:

Third Language Eligibility Criterion
Foreign Languages (FL)
(French, German, Japanese and Spanish)
  • Students must obtain a PSLE Score of 8 or better
  • For Japanese, students must have passed Chinese Language (CL)/ Higher Chinese Language (HCL) at PSLE
  • Students must be Singapore Citizen (SC), Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR), or a child of a SC/SPR
Asian Languages (AsL)
(Arabic and Bahasa Indonesia)
  • Students must obtain a PSLE Score of 24 or better
  • For Bahasa Indonesia, students must not have offered Malay Language (ML)/ Higher Malay Language (HML) as their Mother Tongue Language at PSLE
  • Students must be SC or SPR, or a child or a SC/SPR
Special Programmes
[Malay Special Programme M(SP) and Chinese Special Programme C(SP)]
  • Students must obtain a PSLE Score of 24 or better
  • For M(SP), students must not have offered ML/HML as their Mother Tongue Language at PSLE
  • For C(SP), students must not have offered CL/HCL as their Mother Tongue Language at PSLE
Taking subjects at a more demanding level under Subject-Based Banding

For students posted to the N(A) or N(T) course, they have the flexibility to take subjects at a more demanding level, if they meet the SBB-Sec eligibility criteria as follows:

Option to take a subject at PSLE Subject Grade under the AL system
Express level AL 5 or better in a Standard level subject
N(A) level AL 6 or better in a Standard level subject or AL A in a Foundation level subject

Secondary schools will be also implementing Full Subject-Based Banding (Full SBB) from 2024.

This will give your child even more flexibility to learn at a pace suited to their needs, and have the opportunities to go further and fulfil their potential at different stages in their education journey.

Find out more here.

Read this list of commonly asked questions and answers on the new PSLE scoring system.

© 2021 Government of Singapore.
Last updated: 9 Jul 2021