Sunday, August 18, 2013

PSLE is Dead, Long Live PSLE! WTF?

PM Lee said PSLE is no more, or rather repackaged it a bit some time down in the future. When nobody knows. As PM said, as we all know already from kopitiam uncles to NUS academics, to decide a child's education path and fate at 12 on PSLE results is outright meaningless, however "meritocratic" it is.

Whether it is good or not, depends on whether you think the PSLE is similar to O Levels or not is good. The stress to students and their parents is still there, just that instead of the knee shaking T-score, it is now the nail-biting point system A1 - 1 point A2 - 2 points etc. Smokes and mirrors. LPPL. Anyway, PSLE is just a cultural Albatross around parents' necks. Parents conform to the belief that PSLE is the be all and end all in their children's education what. Even if they claim they don't believe in it, they participate in the chase nonetheless. The reason, if you speak to a friend, uncle, aunty, brother, sister who is a parent of a P6 kid, is that if they don't strive, there is a risk their boyboy or girlgirl would fall behind as other children and parents are way ahead hothousing for 4 A*.  LOL Time to run faster on the hamster wheel.

NDR 2013: PSLE scores to use wide bands for grades like O' levels
Tham Yuen-C

The PSLE T-score, long a source of stress for students and parents, will eventually be removed and replaced with bands similar to those used for O' and A' levels, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday.

He said the move was to the remove the fine distinctions in the T-score and ease excessive competition to chase every point: "An A* is still an A*, whether you score 91 marks or 99 marks."

The move would not take place immediately, however. He said it would take several years to do.

Calling the PSLE one of the most important examinations, he said that many believe it "determines a large part of a student's future", and felt tremendous stress. Doing away with the T-score would help to lessen this pressure, said Mr Lee who added that he does not know his own PSLE score.

When he took the exams in 1963, the scores were kept confidential, he said, and students were only told whether they had passed or failed and which school they were posted to. "Luckily I passed," he quipped.

The changes to PSLE scoring, though, will only kick in in a few years time.

In an effort to make sure that top secondary schools are accessible to more students, the Ministry of Education will also broaden Direct School Admissions categories, he said.

With this change, "special qualities" such as character, resilience, drive and leadership, will also be considered in admitting students into these schools.

Another change Mr Lee announced will let all secondary one students take a subject at a higher level. But this is provided they have done well in it in the PSLE.

Currently, only students in upper secondary levels are allowed to do so.

This will provide more flexibility in tailoring their education to their abilities and development, he said.

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