Does PSLE Shape a Child’s Future?



Yes and no. The question of whether the PSLE affects a child’s future is ambiguous and disputable. CPD Singapore Education Services Pte Ltd article weighs up the impact of the PSLE in a child’s life.


PSLE affects secondary school postings

The PSLE sorts students into Special, Express, Normal Academic or Normal Technical Streams in secondary schools. Secondary schools have an array of cut-off points (COP), and students are posted to respective schools based on their scores within their band. Hence the PSLE does affect firstly the stream band which a child will enter and, within the bands, the various schools that a child can enter based on their scores.

Express vs Normal

Suppose two students are admitted to the same school but one in Express and the other in Normal Academic (NA). The former will sit for his “O” level examinations in 4 years while the latter will sit for his N levels first after 4 years. If he does well, he progresses to another year to sit for his O levels. Hence it is a more robust and adequate system.

If the NA child does very well in his N levels, he is also able to obtain direct admission into polytechnic under the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP). Hence, instead of sitting for the “O” levels he will be under the PFP for one year and provided he meets the academic criteria, he will then advance to Polytechnic, which is the same as an Express student applying for Polytechnic after receiving his “O” level results. Even Normal Technical (NT) students can advance from ITE to Polytechnic after achieving higher NITEC.


Tertiary level

By the time the child reaches university he will be mixing with various students of different PSLE scores, some may have taken different routes to reach the same outcome but the chances of achieving higher education, university etc. are not impeded by poor PSLE results.