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Updates to PSLE 2021 Scoring System – Enabling Students to Progress, Regardless of Starting Points

Published Date: 25 July 2019 12:00 AM

News Press Releases

Ministry of Education (MOE) announced in 20161 that there would be changes to the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) scoring and Secondary One (S1) posting systems from 2021. Under the new PSLE scoring system, students will be graded based on their individual performance in the subjects, regardless of how their peers have done. These changes support MOE’s effort to shift away from an over- emphasis on academic results, and provide our students with more flexibility and space to develop their strengths and interests throughout their education.

2. As the first batch of students to undergo the new PSLE scoring system will be entering Primary Five (P5) next year, we are providing further information to enable these students and their parents to decide on their subject choices at the end of Primary Four (P4) this year.

Presentation of results in Achievement Levels

3. Starting from the 2020 P5 cohort, schools will be presenting the school-based examination results of all P5 and P6 students in Achievement Levels (ALs) so that students and parents can become more familiar with the new scoring system. A sample of the school-based examination results can be found in Annex B.

Scoring for Foundation level subjects

4. PSLE subjects are offered at both Standard and Foundation levels. Foundation level subjects cater to the learning needs of students to help them build strong fundamentals, and give them the confidence to pursue learning at a pace and level that is more suited to them.

5. Under the new scoring system, students taking Foundation level subjects will be graded AL A to AL C. These bands provide an indication of the student’s level of readiness for the next course of study. For the purpose of S1 posting, Foundation levels AL A to AL C will be pegged to AL 6 to AL 8 of Standard level subjects respectively, as listed in the following table, to derive a student’s overall PSLE Score. This pegging reflects the fact that the curriculum of a Foundation level subject is a subset of the Standard level subject, and the assessment load at the Foundation level is less demanding when compared against the Standard level.

Achievement Level (AL) reflected on result slip Foundation Raw Mark Range Equivalent Standard Level Achievement Level (AL)
A 75-100 6
B 30-74 7
C <30 8

Table 1: Scoring of Foundation level subjects from PSLE 2021

6. Students’ overall PSLE Scores will be the sum of the four AL scores of all the Standard and/or Foundation subjects they take. Here is an example of how a student’s PSLE Score would be calculated if he/she took a combination of Standard and Foundation subjects:

English Language Mathematics Foundation Science Chinese Language
Grade AL 2 AL 4 AL B AL 2
AL Score 2 4 7 2
PSLE Score: 15 (ie. 2+4+7+2)

Table 2: An example of a student’s PSLE Score

7. A student can qualify for the respective academic courses in secondary school as long as his or her overall PSLE Score meets the placement criteria listed in Annex A, regardless of the mix of Standard and Foundation subjects offered.

Eligibility for Higher Mother Tongue Language in Secondary Schools

8. Under the new PSLE scoring system, students will be eligible to take Higher Mother Tongue Language (HMTL) in secondary school if they receive:

  1. An overall PSLE Score of 8 or better; or
  2. An overall PSLE Score of 9 to 14 (inclusive); and attain AL 1 / AL 2 in MTL or distinction/merit in HMTL.

9. The eligibility criteria for secondary school HMTL is intended to ensure that students can cope with the higher academic load, and takes reference from existing criteria. For students who do not meet the above criteria, secondary schools will continue to have the flexibility to offer HMTL to students if they are assessed to have high ability and interest in MTL, and are able to take HMTL without affecting their performance in other subjects. This is similar to the existing practice.

Indicative AL Cut-Off Points

10. MOE will be providing information on each secondary school’s indicative Cut- Off Point (COP) in AL terms in the first half of 2021. This will guide the first batch of students and parents undergoing the new PSLE scoring system to make informed choices when selecting secondary schools. These AL COPs will be derived from the PSLE Scores and choice patterns of the 2020 S1 Posting Exercise.

Our Journey Forward

11. Every child's education journey is unique. The systemic enhancements we are putting in place, including recently announced initiatives such as the reduction of school-based assessment load and the implementation of Full Subject-Based Banding in secondary schools, aim to offer multiple pathways and possibilities for our students with diverse needs to reach their fullest potential, regardless of their starting points.

12. We will continue to support students, parents, and schools through these changes. In the next few months, schools will engage students and parents who will undergo the new PSLE scoring system, starting from those in P4, to guide them in making informed decisions on subject choices at the end of the year.

13. For more details on the PSLE scoring changes and S1 posting system, please refer to https://www.moe.gov.sg/psle.

  1. Please refer to Annex A for a summary of the announcement.