Graphic from CNA

In Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)’s press release today (Jan 5), 48 students from the Singapore elite school scored perfect scores in the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma examinations in November 2016. Over the world, only 94 students scored the perfect score of 45 for the IB diploma exams. 1,849 students in Singapore and 14,071 students worldwide sat for the IB exams.

ACS (I) students averaged 41.84 points, while Singapore’s average score is 38.27. Globally, the average score is 29.21. Singapore is also the best performer with a 97.70% passing rate.

Other elite schools are also quick to brag about their results, with Hwa Chong International School (HCIS) calling it a “breakthrough” when two of their students scored perfect scores. Elite school St Joseph’s Institution (SJI) also bragged that while they only had one perfect scorer, 10 students scored a near-perfect score of 44/45.

Singapore has consistently been the best performer in examinations, excelling in the recent PISA test ranking. The success is built on a strong private tuition environment where students take about 20 hours of private tuition hours a week on top of regular school hours. Tuition cost of each student cost about S$500 a month on average. The social cost of academic excellence in Singapore includes exam stress leading to suicides and depression.

Academic performance in Singapore is highly competitive because employers especially the Civil Service value paper qualifications.