The Singapore Examination and Assessment Board (SEAB) said on Thursday (Dec 8) that students receive full credit for any solution in the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) mathematics paper as long as it demonstrates the correct application of concepts.

11 parents noted that their children always scored 95 marks and above on their maths exams in school, which is equivalent to Achievement Level (AL) 1. However, in this year’s PSLE maths paper, they were surprised to discover that their children scored in the AL 3 to AL5 range.

Chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao published a forum letter from a group of parents of graduating Primary 6 students from Nan Hua Primary School.

“If a single child’s carelessness caused them to stumble on the exam, we have nothing to say. But when almost a third of the students in the class have a similar score gap, it’s hard not to be puzzled,” the letter said.

The parents then appealed to the Ministry of Education (MOE) and SEAB for a review of the exam papers, although they were told that the success rate for such appeals was almost zero.

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The letter also highlighted that parents are only given the sum of the scores and are unable to see the answer sheet of the student’s test paper; therefore, they cannot verify if the supposed discrepancy was caused by other factors.

“If SEAB ignores parents’ calls to check the answer sheets and simply dismisses it with an excuse that the system is always accurate, this kind of operation without transparency may not be convincing to people,” the letter read, as reported by Channel News Asia.

In a media response to CNA, SEAB said, “For the mathematics papers, any solution which demonstrates the correct understanding and application of mathematical concepts and skills as requested by the question will be given full credit.”

The board added that it has rigorous processes to ensure that the PSLE papers are set according to the syllabus at “appropriate standards.”

Experienced teachers and specialists from MOE and SEAB make up the panel of exam reviewers to ensure a consistent balance of easy, average and difficult questions across the years, said SEAB.

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Although the performance in the 2022 PSLE maths exam is similar to last year’s, candidates who think their grades do not reflect their expected achievements can appeal the scores.

“Candidates can submit their appeals for subject grades through their schools to SEAB. During the review of results, an independent senior marker conducts a thorough review of the marking and checks the accuracy of mark entries.” /TISG

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ByHana O