Primary School Leaving Examinations
The Primary School Leaving Examinations, or PSLE for short, is an academic assessment that takes place at the end of the six foundation years of education. This national examination is compulsory for all locally enrolled students at the end of Primary Six.
The Primary School Leaving Examinations aims to assess a student’s ability and suitability for secondary education and would stream these students into various streams in secondary schools. These streams include the Special Stream, Express Stream, Normal (Academic) Stream and Normal (Technical) Stream.
For the core examinable subjects, the following grading system is adopted.
|91 and above||A*|
|75 to 90||A|
|60 to 74||B|
|50 to 59||C|
|35 to 49||D|
|20 to 34||E|
For the optional subjects, the following grading system is adopted. These grades are not taken into account in computing the overall aggregate score for the pupils. However, the grades would be reflected on the PSLE results slip.
|80 and above||Distinction|
|65 to 79||Merit|
|50 to 64||Pass|
For the EM3 Stream, another grading system is adopted as the papers that are taken are different. The follow grading system is used in grading these papers.
|85 and above||G1|
|70 to 84||G2|
|50 to 69||G3|
|30 to 49||G4|
Examinable Subjects of PSLE
The Primary School Leaving Examinations consists of the examination of four main subjects and two optional subjects. The four main subjects include English Language, Mother Tongue Language, Mathematics and Science. Optional examinable subjects include Higher Mother Tongue Language and Social Studies.
In the English Language examination, pupils are tested for their proficiency and mastery of the language and their literacy level. There are four core aspects of the proficiency of the language that would be tested. These four aspects are Listening, Speaking, Writing and Comprehending.
Hence, the examination is split into four papers in order to test for each of these four core aspects. The oral and listening comprehension papers are taken on different days from the written papers. The oral examination paper is usually conducted a couple of months earlier than the other papers while the listening comprehension paper is usually conducted about a month before the written papers.
In the first paper, the pupil’s writing skills would be tested. Students would be required to complete a situational writing exercise and a narrative composition within the time limit of 1 hour 10 minutes. The objective of this assessment is to evaluate the pupil’s ability to write effectively in Standard English Language and their ability to communicate ideas through writing. The pupils are also expected to write legibly and coherently and to demonstrate clear understanding and knowledge of the foundation of English grammar, vocabulary, spelling and punctuation.
The second paper, which constitutes the majority of the overall English Language grade, is the Language Use and Comprehension paper. In this paper, the pupils would be tested for their ability to use the English Language correctly and to understand and comprehend given graphic and textual information. Pupils are expected to hypothesize, infer and draw conclusions from given information and contextual clues. In addition, students are also to suggest reasons in order to support their argument and opinions.
In the third paper, the listening ability of the students would be tested in a Listening Comprehension test. The paper comprises multiple-choice questions where students are expected to choose the most appropriate answer to the question after listening to and understanding the spoken texts. These texts would be given in various forms, ranging from advertisements to announcements, from telephone conversations to stories. Students are expected to identify the key ideas in the texts and recall details from the texts. They are also to demonstrate understanding of what is being said and to infer and draw conclusions from it.
In the final paper, the ability to communicate orally would be required from the pupils. The paper consists of two main components, the passage reading component and the picture discussion component. In the first component, students are tested for their pronunciation and articulation of words. The ability to use variation of tone and rhythm to convey the information in the test is also tested. In picture discussion component, students are expected to interact with the examiner and interpret the situation given in the picture. Through the pupil’s response, the examiner would give a grade for his ability to use correct grammar, appropriate vocabulary and to express himself clearly.
The overall grade for English Language is computed with different percentages accorded to different papers. The writing component contributes 27.5%, the language use and comprehension component makes up 47.5% of the grade while the listening comprehension and the oral test contributes 10% and 15% of the overall grade respectively. The percentages are scaled according to the importance of the aspect tested.