How to Calculate PSLE Scores

Every year, students in Singapore anxiously await their PSLE scores, which determine which secondary schools they will be able to attend. But how are these scores calculated?

The How to Calculate PSLE Score by Writing Samurai is the sum of your child’s Achievement Level (AL) scores for each of the four subjects he or she takes. These are English, Maths, Science and Mother Tongue Language (MTL). A student will have to achieve a minimum of 90 marks for all four subjects to have a high PSLE score of 4 which is the maximum.

However, this isn’t the only factor that goes into determining your child’s streaming into secondary school. Other factors such as CCA and previous academic achievements also play a part in the decision-making process.

If your child’s PSLE score is below 22 or 24 then he or she will be eligible for the Express course. If your child’s PSLE score is above 22, he or she will be entitled to either the Normal or Normal (Technical) course, depending on his or her performance.

This is a new grading system that replaces the T-Scores currently used in the PSLE. It takes effect from 2021 onwards and aims to shift away from an over-emphasis on academic results towards more holistic assessment of a student’s ability.

It uses 8 Achievement Levels for Standard Subjects and Foundation Level subjects, with AL 1 being the best. These scores can range from 4 to 32, with a high score indicating that your child is more than competent in his or her chosen subjects.

The new scoring system will also have an impact on how your child’s aggregate PSLE score is determined. Previously, the T-score was based on your child’s relative performance in each of the four subjects.

But under the new system, each subject is scored using the new ALs. The T-score for each subject is then multiplied by the SD and the cohort average for all of the subjects taken in that particular year. This is why it’s not possible to get a PSLE aggregate score of 300 in one year, as your child’s PSLE score may vary wildly from one year to the next.

What’s more, this system will also have an impact on the way schools post students into the right stream. Previously, students were posted into the appropriate stream based on their T-scores.

Now, if your child is in the wrong stream, he or she will be placed into the correct stream after a computerised ballot process is carried out. This will ensure that all students have the same opportunity to be placed in the appropriate stream.

If you’re interested to find out more about the new PSLE scoring system, check out our blog post on the topic. You’ll also be able to find answers to some frequently asked questions on the topic.

Another important thing to note is that your child’s PSLE aggregate score will still be influenced by their group’s overall performance, so if there are more than one person in your child’s cohort that has achieved the same PSLE result, then you should expect them to be placed into the same school. In addition, the PSLE score itself is not a guarantee of your child’s success in secondary school and it is important to continue to work hard on your child’s studies to keep them ahead of their peers.