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    May 27, 2014

    PSLE still a key milestone

    THE Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) will continue to be an "important milestone examination" in the education system here, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat reiterated yesterday, amid a call by an opposition party for it to be scrapped.

    But the ministry will review the exam's scoring system, to focus less on grades and academic success. The high-stakes exam will instead have a broader emphasis on "values, attributes, knowledge and skills for work and life", said Mr Heng.

    He was addressing 600 educators from more than 40 countries at a global conference on educational assessment at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.

    Mr Heng did not give more details about the PSLE revamp, first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at August's National Day Rally. Mr Lee had said then that the PSLE T-score would be replaced in a few years by wider grade bands, similar to the A1 to F9 grades for the O levels.

    The T-score system has often been criticised for fuelling competition by sorting children too finely.

    Earlier this month, the Singapore Democratic Party had called for the PSLE to be scrapped so that pupils can focus on learning.

    But Mr Heng said exams today have gone beyond recall and understanding. "Our national examinations at all levels require higher-order thinking skills such as application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation," he said.