Study shows that PSLE is still necessary

preschool math, primary school maths, secondary school maths

Study shows that PSLE is still necessary

The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is still recognised by most parents as necessary to gauge their child’s progress in primary education. This is according to a nationwide study conducted by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) which took into account the views of  1,500 parents, who are citizens or permanent residents, with children in local primary schools on their perceptions about Singapore’s education system at that level.

The study found that less than half of the parents agreed or strongly agreed that the PSLE should be postponed to a later age. The remaining slight majority disagreed that high-stakes exams should be postponed.

“There’s been a lot of talk to postpone exams like PSLE as a policy change, but we soon realised there’s no consensus,” said Dr Mathew Mathews, IPS senior research fellow who led the study. He added that a good proportion of Singapore still accepted the idea of high-stakes exams.

In 2013, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had mentioned the “tremendous stress” the PSLE had placed on students and families in his National Day Rally speech. He said that changes to the examination system would “reduce excessive competition to chase that last point”. In July 2017, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced a major revamp to the PSLE, where the T-score system will be replaced by eight Achievement Levels from 2021.

93.7 percent of the parents surveyed agreed that the primary school curriculum should be made more manageable, while 87.7 percent felt that class sizes should be reduced so that all students get adequate attention. About 66.6 percent of the parents agreed that the amount of homework in primary schools should be reduced, while almost 60 percent of the parents felt anxious as they did not know how to help their child with the challenging syllabus.

Singaporeans still subscribe to values such as meritocracy and equality of opportunity. The findings suggest that parents do support some form of redistribution, as over 92 percent surveyed agreed that the best teachers should be distributed to all primary schools. More government funding should be given to neighbourhood schools, and there should be efforts to give children of all backgrounds a fair chance at success.

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