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All About Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE)

PSLE New Scoring System & Achievement Levels (AL)

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Overview of New PSLE Scoring System

From 2021 onwards, the PSLE grading criteria will shift from the T-score system to the Achievement Levels (AL) Scoring System. This new AL scoring system replaces the T-score with broader scoring bands for every subject.

We’ve collated information from the Ministry of Education (MOE), Singapore Examination and Assessments Board (SEAB), various secondary schools and parenting blogs in Singapore to give this all-in-one information page on the PSLE Scoring System. What’s more, we’ve also covered frequently-asked questions about the PSLE grading and scoring.

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New PSLE Grading System By Achievement Levels (AL)

What is the new PSLE scoring system for Standard PSLE subjects?

Under the AL grading system, there are eight different PSLE scoring bands awarded for all standard PSLE subjects. The scoring range for each PSLE standard subject is as follows:

ALMark Range
190 and above
285 to 89
380 to 84
475 to 79
565 to 74
645 to 64
720 to 44
819 and below
What is the new PSLE scoring system for Foundation PSLE subjects?

Under the AL grading system, there are three different PSLE scoring bands awarded for all foundational PSLE subjects. The scoring range for each PSLE foundation subject is:

Grades for FoundationFoundation Raw Mark RangeEquivalent Standard Level AL
A75 to 1006
B30 to 747
C29 and below8
Do I get bonus points in Higher Mother Tongue?

There will be no bonus points under the new AL system like there used to be with the T-score system for Higher Mother Tongue.

However, if 2 students have the same AL score, the student with better Higher Chinese grades will be given priority if he/she is applying to a Special Assistance Plan (SAP) School. This advantage applies before other tie-breakers for Secondary 1 posting.

An example of the order of consideration for students gaining admission to an SAP School:

Considered for admission to SAP School in the following order:PSLE ScoreHigher Mother Tongue Grade
1st7No HCL
2nd8Distinction
3rd8Merit
4th8Pass
5th8No HCL
6th9Distinction
How is the final PSLE score calculated?

The final PSLE score will be the sum of the 4 subject scores. It would range from 4 to 32, with 4 being the best possible total score.

An example of a student scoring an Achievement Level Score of 15 is as follows:

SubjectOverall MarkAL
English Language862
Mathematics754
Foundation Science70B (7)
Chinese Language882
What is the passing score under the new grading system?

Under the new system, there are no passing or failing grades for the individual subjects.
For each individual subject, an Achievement level of 8 is considered “Ungraded”.

To progress to the Normal Techinical N(T) course, a student have to obtain a PSLE AL score of 26 to 30 in addition to scoring an AL7 or better in both English Language and Mathematics can progress to the N(T) course.

What is the maximum score you can get under the new PSLE system?

Under the new system, the maximum score you can get under the new PSLE system is the lowest score of 4.

Indicative Achievement Level Cut-off Points (AL COP)

What is the current indicative cut-off points based on AL?

The first batch of PSLE students using the new scoring system will take the PSLE in 2021.

MOE will only release indicative COPs for now.

Here’s the latest updated 2020 table showing the respective PSLE scores and expected placement outcomes.

Placement OutcomePSLE Score
Express4 to 20
Express / N(A) Option21 to 22
N(A)23 to 24
N(A) / N(T) Option25
N(T)26 – 30, with AL7 or better in both English Language and Mathematics
How are indicative AL COP ranges for school types derived?

The indicative Achievement Level Cut-Off-Point (AL COP) ranges for the different school types will be derived based on the previous yearcohort’s PSLE results and school choices.

Based on the score of the last student admitted, MOE will take the lowest and the highest indicative AL COPs of schools within each school type (Government and Government-aided Schools, Autonomous Schools and Independent Schools) to obtain the range of indicative AL COPs.

The simulation is purely indicative and the actual AL COP for a school may vary from year to year, as they depend on the PSLE results and school choice patterns of each P6 cohort.

Will there be more balloting under the new system?

With the new grading system, there will be more students with the same AL score due to wider scoring bands.

Hence, there would be more tie-breaking, particulary if students pick the same school.

The order of tie-breaking is first based on citizenship, followed by choice of school. Subsequently, a computerised ballot will be used if there is still a tie.

Balloting will be computerised and conducted centrally by MOE HQ, the same balloting process for admission to Junior Colleges / Centralised Institute, Polytechnics and ITE.

How can I make school choices when the indicative AL COPs for many schools are the same?

Under the new AL banding system, more secondary schools will likely have similar AL Cut-off Points (AL COP).

This was done intentionally as the MOE wants parents to choose schools not just purely based on academics but to consider other factors, such as:

  • The school’s environment and culture
  • Whether the school programmes fit the child’s interests and aspirations
  • Proximity to their homes

Parents are encouraged to research on each school’s programmes such as: Co-Curricular Activities (CCA), Learning for Life Programme (LLP), Applied Learning Programme (ALP)

Another important point to note is that choice of schools will now be used as a tie-breaker (from 2021 onwards), so be sure to choose your schools wisely!

Why is choice of schools now used as a tiebreaker under the new grading system?

As part of the shift towards a less academic-driven focus, MOE wants parents and students to give more consideration about school choices and not just look purely at the cut-off points.

By placing a greater weight on the order of choice of schools, families will have to think more carefully about the school’s culture, CCAs and programmes, as well as proximity to their homes.

This will result in students entering secondary schools which better suit their interests and needs.

Others

What is the purpose of the new AL Scoring System?

The main purpose of the new AL scoring system is to have students less finely differentiated by having more students with similar AL scores.

Under the old T-Score grading system, there would be 300 possible T-scores as compared to the new AL system with only over 29 possible AL scores.

Who marks the PSLE examination papers?

The PSLE examination papers and answers are marked by teachers from the MOE and SEAB.

After the end of the last PSLE papers, there will be around four days spent marking the PSLE scripts. Throughout the four-day “Marking Days”, teachers from all over Singapore will go to secured, centralised locations to look through and grade every individual PSLE paper.

During the marking process, each written exam script will be marked and verified separately by two teachers. A third teacher will also examine the marks awarded by both teachers to make sure that they are similar. If the difference in the scores is too big, the paper will be re-marked by a third teacher.

To help with consistency and accuracy of marking, all teachers will be given a comprehensive marking scheme that standardises the marking process. In addition, all written papers should be anonymous and randomised across the marking locations, minimising the chances that a teacher will mark their student’s paper.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) are shaded on optical answer sheets (OAS) and will be digitally marked with an optical mark recogniser. If they are any errors with the OAS, the OAS will be marked by a teacher physically.

Is there a bell curve used for new PSLE grading system?

The bell curve grading is no longer used in the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), the Ministry of Education (MOE) has said.

This means a student’s score would not be weighted against his peers.

For example, if a student scores 92 in a subject, he will receive an AL1 grade automatically.

What were the PSLE Results in 2020?

In 2020, 98.4% of Primary 6 students are eligible for Secondary Schools.

This is broken down into 66.3% eligible for Express course, 21.2% for Normal (Academic) course and 11% for Normal (Technical) course.

Estimate your PSLE AL Score with our AL Score Calculator

Do you want to calculate your PSLE AL Score but have no idea how to do it? Fret not, now you can use our Free online PSLE AL Score calculator to estimate your PSLE AL Score quickly and accurately.

There’s no need to calculate using complicate formulas and workings with this useful PSLE planning tool from SmileTutor! In addition, you can now look for your ideal secondary school easily.

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Do you want to calculate your PSLE AL Score but have no idea how to do it? Fret not, now you can use our Free online PSLE AL Score calculator to estimate your PSLE AL Score quickly and accurately.

There’s no need to calculate using complicate formulas and workings with this useful PSLE planning tool from SmileTutor! In addition, you can now look for your ideal secondary school easily.

Calculate your PSLE AL Score now

Secondary School Cut Off Points (COP)

You can also filter by gender, IP, SAP and more. Say goodbye to endlessly flipping through the Secondary School Information Booklet!

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You can also filter by gender, IP, SAP and more. Say goodbye to endlessly flipping through the Secondary School Information Booklet!

Find your ideal secondary school

Score your 100% in the PSLE with PSLE Home Tuition

Does your child have an ideal AL Score to achieve but they are not performing as expected? Do you want to know the secret to the coveted A* and A in the PSLE?

Achieving your ideal PSLE AL Score in the PSLE is not easy. Majority of students require some form of external help, such as from PSLE tuition centres or private home tuition.

With SmileTutor behind your back, you can achieve so much more in the PSLE. Get a private home tutor for PSLE today and jumpstart your future!

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