Thursday, December 19, 2013

PSLE results released without top and bottom scores

By | Yahoo Newsroom – Fri, Nov 22, 2013

For the first time, the highest and lowest scores for the Primary School Leaving Examinations were not published when the results were released to graduating Primary Six students on Friday.

Primary schools around Singapore, no longer allowed to trumpet the T-scores of their top-performing students, adopted creative ways to honour their graduating cohorts.

At St Joseph's Institution (Junior), for instance, the former St Michael's School, about 15 to 20 names of boys who scored 250 and above for their PSLE were read out.

Peiying Primary School took a more uplifting approach. The names of its top 15 students were announced to the cohort, but the top students from each class were also honoured, as were students who did well overall — taking into account leadership in co-curricular activities or achievements in sports or other contributions to the school.

Account director Mrs Siva, whose daughter collected her results from Peiying on Friday, said she was pleased to see that students from all classes in the cohort were recognised for their achievement.

"I think it's good because children from every class, even the slightly weaker classes, were honoured on stage," she told Yahoo Singapore. "Some students were nervous, of course, but on the whole, the mood was very upbeat — the school did a lot better than previous years."

She noted that Peiying's principal mentioned the cohort did well overall, and the foundation classes did better than before, too.

"The teachers were also very encouraging; a lot of them came up to congratulate the students and take photos with them," she added.
Over at CHIJ Our Lady Queen of Peace, the names of students who scored more than 230, more than 240 and more than 250 were displayed, and the girls were honoured accordingly -- a method homemaker Alice Lock felt was positive for the students.
"A lot of kids get recognised, not just the high scorers -- for instance, as long as you're in the 250 range you're happy -- the whole group of them stood up and were happy," the 38-year-old told Yahoo Singapore.
With the top islandwide score unknown, however, she admitted she and several other parents of graduating students had mixed feelings about the change.

"Since I'm not sure what the highest score is, I don't know at this point whether my daughter can comfortably go into the first school she would like to choose," she said. "Knowing the top score islandwide is useful in giving me a perspective of how well the rest did, so I will know how much chance my daughter has in going to that school... right now it's so uncertain (because) it's not transparent."

According to the Ministry of Education, a total of 43,047 Primary 6 students sat for the PSLE this year, with 97.5 per cent of them assessed to be "suitable" to proceed to secondary school. Of these, 66.7 per cent are eligible for the Express stream, 19.9 per cent for Normal (Academic) and 10.9 per cent for Normal (Technical) streams.

This is the first year time that the highest and lowest PSLE T-scores islandwide were not published on PSLE certificates, or announced publicly, following the Ministry's decision to withhold the names of the top performers, as well as those broken down by racial profiling.

In a Facebook post Thursday, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said, “It is not healthy for the children if we put undue pressure on them over one exam. There are many areas where our children can shine, and we should encourage and help them reach their best in these areas.”

Last year, in a bid to stem the obsession with academic grades, the names of the top scorers of the PSLE were withheld.

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