Nov 06, 2013

    Grades slipping in English exams

    PUPILS who took the Primary School Leaving Examination last year recorded the worst performance in English language in a decade.

    A 10-year education-performance trend released by the Ministry of Education yesterday showed that the percentage of pupils who scored A*, A, B and C fell from 97.9 in 2007 and 97.7 in 2011 to 97 last year. The fall was seen among all races.

    This despite 60 per cent of the Primary 1 cohort now coming from English-speaking homes.

    The percentage of pupils who scored A* to C for Mother Tongue remained consistent in recent years, at 97.4 last year, and 97.5 in 2011 and 2010. But it fell from the 98.1 per cent a decade ago.

    Private English tutor Gabriel Chai said: "It could be because children are reading less now. Reading helps them in areas like comprehension and composition."

    Another factor could be that more foreign students with a weaker grasp of English are taking the examination, he added.

    Mr Baey Yam Keng, a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, noted that despite the drop, the percentage of those who attained A* to C for English remained high. "We don't need to be unduly worried, but it's a reminder that we should not slacken in our efforts to ensure that children master the language."

    The percentage of passes for English in the O-level examinations went up over the 10 years.