New PSLE Scoring System Cut-off Point Singapore

By | September 21, 2021

The indicative cut-off points are based on the cohort’s PSLE results and school choice patterns. For government and government-aided schools, the cut-off point ranges from PSLE scores of eight to 22 for the Express (O-Level) track, 21 to 25 for Normal (Academic), and 26 to 30 for Normal (Technical).

SINGAPORE — To guide Primary 6 pupils and their parents in their school choices, the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Tuesday (April 27) released the range of secondary school entry scores under the new Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) scoring system.

The indicative cut-off points are based on the 2020 cohort’s PSLE results and school choice patterns.

For government and government-aided schools, the cut-off point ranges from PSLE scores of eight to 22 for the Express (O-Level) track, 21 to 25 for Normal (Academic), and 26 to 30 for Normal (Technical).

The range is similar in autonomous schools such as Anglican High School, Bukit Panjang Government High School and Cedar Girls’ Secondary School.

The cut-off point ranges from eight to 15 for the Express (O-Level) track, 21 to 24 for Normal (Academic), and 26 to 30 for Normal (Technical).

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For independent schools such as Anglo-Chinese School, Hwa Chong Institution and Raffles Institution, the cut-off point range for the Express (Integrated Programme) course is six to eight and eight to 10 for the Express (O-Level) track.

Starting this year, all Pri 6 pupils will be graded according to Achievement Level (AL) scores instead of alphabetical grades in a bid to reduce the emphasis on their academic achievements.

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The new scoring system, where AL1 is the highest grade and AL8 is the lowest, looks at pupils’ individual performance in subjects instead of how they do relative to their peers, which is the case in the previous T-score system.

MOE said there are now only 29 possible PSLE scores, compared to more than 200 possible aggregates under the T-score system.

A student’s PSLE score under the new system is the sum of their AL scores across the four subjects, ranging from four, which is the best possible score with four AL1 scores, to 32, which is four AL8 scores.

MOE said the indicative PSLE score range is derived from the scores of the first and last student admitted into a school in the previous Secondary 1 posting.

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Like the T-score system, this range may vary from year to year depending on the previous cohort’s results and school choice pattern. Fluctuations will typically be by the equivalent of one AL score.

Mr Wong Siew Hoong, MOE director-general of education, said during a media briefing on Tuesday that the indicative cut-off points start at six so that students do not aim for the perfect score of four to get into popular schools.

Based on its simulations, there were no schools where the last student admitted had a PSLE score of four or five, and therefore no schools have a cut-off point of four or five, said MOE.

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Under the new scoring system, MOE said a new “tie-breaker” of choice order of schools has been introduced for pupils with identical PSLE scores vying for places in a particular school.

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This means a student who ranked the school higher in his or her list of six will have priority.

But in the event that the choice order of schools between students of the same score and citizenship status is similar, they will be allocated a place through computerised balloting.

MOE said only one in 10 students will need to undergo balloting as the vast majority of students will likely be allocated to one of their six school choices.

A ministry spokesperson added: “So school choice really does count for a lot more and I think giving careful thought to the six choices will be an important thought process for both students and parents.”

Another group of students who will receive a posting advantage are those who take Higher Chinese Language (HCL).

This will improve their chances for entry to Special Assistance Plan (SAP) schools, although students need not take the subject to enter SAP schools.

If students with the same PSLE Score are vying for limited places in the same SAP school, those with better HCL grades will be allocated a place first.


Mr Wong said the blunter scoring system will mean both students and schools will be less finely differentiated.

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“Students will have a wider range of secondary schools to choose from and need not chase for the last mark to get into the school of their choice,” he added.

He also encouraged students and parents to consider other factors when choosing a school such as the programmes and co-curricular activities offered and its location.

Parents can use MOE’s SchoolFinder portal to get a better understanding of the offerings by 139 secondary schools taking part in the Sec 1 posting exercise this year.

“We fully understand that there might be some anxiety over the new system, especially for the first batch of students and their parents going through it this year,” said Mr Wong.

“We want to emphasise that there is no change to the curriculum, the assessment and the standards of the PSLE. There is no need to be overly anxious about this.”