New PSLE Scoring System – It’s about making choices

By Lim Kim Tong

Instead of the long employed T Score, Achievement Levels (AL) from 1 to 8 will constitute the new PSLE scoring system come 2021. For starters, this new grading system is easier to understand. It is resembles the grading systems used in higher level examinations such as the 'O' Levels, all the way to tertiary education.

So long as we are in a competitive, meritocratic environment, one cannot get away from comparisons amongst peers. Choices have to be made every step of the way. These include taking up tuition for weaker subjects, mulling over which secondary schools to apply for, time management etc.

Because schools are not all the same and reputations differ, competition to get into the school of choice can cause heartaches. Whether it is the T-Score or new AL system, it boils down to using these as a means to enter a secondary school. Ditto for Joint Admission Exercise (JAE) to JCs, Polytechnics, ITE using GCE 'O' Level results.

As parents, perhaps we can take a step back and focus more on the child's needs and aptitude. What does the child seek in life? We do not want to force our children to assume roles they are not suited for . If academic pursuits isn't his forte, look at other attributes and interests that define him. Life is a very long journey. PSLE is just one small part of it. If tuition over-exhausts him, give him the option to stay away from all those extra classes. If elite schools such as Raffles Institution is beyond reach, choose another school that is compatible with his level of competence. We can achieve small successes along the way. It need not be significant ones all the time. Let them achieve their own dreams and not ours. They are the ones who must live their lives. As parents, we can only lend support to our children, provide a listening ear and a caring presence.

This article was first published over at Living Investment on 15 July 2016. It is reproduced with permission.


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