Education Minister Lawrence Wong reminded 12-year-olds across the nation that they are not defined by their examination scores, as the students collected their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results yesterday (25 Nov).

The PSLE is a national examination in Singapore taken by all students near the end of their sixth year in primary school before they move on to secondary school. The exam was widely considered a great source of pressure for 12-year-olds since their scores seemed to determine the rest of their educational future under the streaming system.

The streaming system divides students according to their PSLE scores and places them in one of three streams: the Express, Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) streams. Those who did well in the PSLE and make it to Express stream more easily attended junior colleges and polytechnics at the tertiary level while those who performed less well in the PSLE had poorer prospects.

Some of the stress associated with the PSLE was alleviated last year when the Government announced that it will abolish streaming. The streaming system will be phased out by 2024 and and will be replaced with full subject-based banding.

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A new PSLE scoring system will also come into effect next year. Students from 2021 onwards will be graded based on their individual performance in the subjects, regardless of how their peers have performed, as part of an effort to move away from an “over-emphasis” on academic results.

Mr Wong, who was made Minister for Education after the July election, urged students against dwelling too much on how they did in their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) when this year’s cohort received their results yesterday (25 Nov).

Encouraging students that there are many pathways to success and that the PSLE is just one assessment in their learning journey, Mr Wong advised on Facebook: “Whatever your results, there is no need to dwell too much on them. Your scores do not define you, and certainly do not determine your future.

“There are many late bloomers who didn’t so well in school, but later blossomed and excelled in their chosen fields. Conversely there are also cautionary tales of those who scored high early in life, but then became complacent and never quite achieved their full potential.”

He added: “The point is that PSLE is just one assessment in your journey of learning, which will continue for the rest of your life. So take it in perspective. What’s more important is an attitude and mindset to keep on improving and learning, and to excel at whatever you do.”

Mr Wong also appreciated the Primary 6 students this year for persevering through the school year despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. He wrote:

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“I’m also especially proud of our P6 students this year. Because all of you have persevered and completed this milestone despite a challenging school year with Covid-19. Learning is never just about book knowledge. The grit and resilience you have shown throughout the year will definitely put you in good stead for the future!”

Urging students and their parents to research and make informed choices when it comes to deciding on which secondary schools they wish to apply to, the ruling party politician added:

“In the coming days, our P6 students and their parents will no doubt be thinking hard about their secondary school choices. My advice is to do your research, and find out as much as possible about the programmes, culture and ethos of the schools you are considering, so you can make an informed choice.

“You can visit SchoolFinder, or our schools’ virtual open houses for more information. Our schools and teachers stand ready to support you through this process.”

Read his post in full HERE.

WP MP is well-versed with PSLE stress tutoring his own daughter