Photo of Ng Chee Meng from Seah Kwang Ping The Straits Times

Education Minister Ng Chee Meng today (July 13) introduced a new Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) grading called the “Transformed Score (T-score)” that set the top grade at 90 marks instead of the former 85. 12-year-olds Primary 6 PSLE students will have to score 65 (formerly a ‘B’ grade) and above on average among the four subjects to qualify for the Express Stream (4 year O Level course) in secondary schools. A student who gets 64 marks across all 4 subjects will be relegated to Normal Academic Stream (5 year O Level course).

You may view the new grading here:

Graphic from The Straits Times
Graphic from The Straits Times

Students from elite primary schools with Higher Mother Tongue will be given priority over neighbourhood school students.

The new grading system will increase expectation pressure on students and worsen the workload of both teachers and students. A mere 5 marks between a score of 90 and 85 will be competed for, even when two of such students are actually at the same level. However, the Minister claimed otherwise saying that this new move will “nurture well-rounded individuals and move away from an over-emphasis on academic results.”

Families who cannot afford private tuition for their children are expected to be the worst-affected by the new grading system.