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PSLE English Composition: Marking Scheme & Mistakes to Avoid.

June 17, 2022
StudySmart Team
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While sitting in the classroom, primary school students write their PSLE English compositions.

PSLE English Composition: Why You Should Give it a Serious Thought

Ask any former Primary student who has faced the PSLE gauntlet, and they will tell you that the English composition is one of the most feared components in PSLE English. Blame it all on the vague marking scheme that makes English composition a tiresome and daunting task for both students and parents.

What's all this " PSLE English composition marking scheme" about? Generally, Primary school English compositions are categorised into two areas which are awarded separate marks:

  1. Content
  2. Language

According to the English syllabus drafted by the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB), the total mark weightage for the composition section is 27.5%. It consists of two components:

  1. Situational writing (15 marks)
  2. Continuous writing (40 marks)

Situational writing comprises a written functional piece of information like a letter, email, report, or recommendation that aligns with the given situation, audience, and context. On the other hand, continuous writing is where students need to write a 150-word composition on a given topic. The topic will be visually presented with three pictures offering various angles of interpretation. Students are also allowed to give their own interpretations of the topic.

The significance of the English composition is the score it carries. A well-written composition can add immense weightage to the overall English score. A good score in PSLE English can make a huge difference in the overall PSLE score. If you are a Primary school student in Singapore, you will know the value of a good PSLE score.

Read on to know more about the English composition marking scheme.

Also Read : Tips to Manage PSLE English Composition

English Composition Marking Scheme in PSLE: A Closer Look

As far as English composition is concerned, the marking scheme for Content and Language components varies with the classes.

  • For Primary 3 and 4, Content and Language are awarded 10 marks EACH.
  • For Primary 5 and 6, Content and Language carry 20 marks EACH.

Marking Scheme for Content

The "content" component refers to the relevance of the story plot and ideas in the question. Examiners award marks based on the students:

  • Fulfilment of the topic requirements.
  • Understanding of the core topic.
  • Skill to stay on track with the theme.

Compositions that fulfil the above criteria have the potential to reap scores of 7-10 (for Primary 3 and 4) and 14-20 (for Primary 5 and 6). In contrast, poorly written compositions with disorganised thoughts and ideas will be awarded mediocre marks of 3-5 and 6-10, respectively.

Content Marking Scheme for Primary 3 and 4

Mark range 1 - 3 4 - 6 7 - 8 9 - 10
Confuses and irrelevant ideas. Unclear ideas that are slighly relevant to the topic. Clear, logical ideas with good topic relevance. Extremely clear, logically accurate, and highly relevant ideas.

Content Marking Scheme for Primary 5 and 6

Mark range 1 - 5 6 - 10 11 - 14 15 - 17 18 - 20
Confused, illogical, and totally irrelevant to the topic. Ideas are somewhat vague, slighly confusing, and slightly relevant to the topic. Clear, logical, and relevant ideas. Interesting clear, logical and relevant ideas with a well-developed story. Highly interesting, clear, logical and totally relevant ideas that help develop a very interesting story.

Marking scheme for Language component

The Language comprises the technical parts of the essay, such as:

  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling,
  • Vocabulary
  • Paragraphing
  • Sequencing of events
  • Linking of ideas.

Language Marking Scheme for Primary 3 and 4

Mark range 1 - 3 4 - 6 7 - 8 9 -10
Numerous grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. Wrong use of vocabulary, extremely disorganised sequence of events. Multiple grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors, limited use of vocabulary, wrong usage of words, mediocre organisation of events. Minor errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling; Good range of vocabulary; clear organisation and sequencing of events Very few error in grammar, punctuation and spelling; Impressive use of vocabulary; Excellent organisation and sequencing of events.

Language Marking Scheme for Primary 5 and 6

Mark range 1- 5 6 - 10 11 - 14 15 -17 18 -20
Evident lack of organisation of events, numerous grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors, and poor vocabulary usage. Multiple errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling, Wrong and limited use of vocabulary, mediocre organisation and sequencing of events. A number of errors in punctuation and spelling; Average range of vocabulary, wrong usage of words,
average organisation and sequencing of events.
Only a few errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling; Impressive vocabulary usage and clear organisation and sequencing of events. Very few minor errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling; Excellent range of vocabulary; Exceptional organisation and sequencing of events.

Now that you know the marking scheme, it is also important to look out for vulnerable mistakes that cause students to lose marks in PSLE English Composition.

School children standing beneath chalk-drawn graduation hats in front of a blackboard.

The following are some common mistakes to avoid if you are an educator guiding your child through PSLE this year.

7 Common Mistakes to Avoid in PSLE English Composition

1. Straying from the topic

One of the most common mistakes that result in the heaviest loss of marks is when students lose focus and sway out of PSLE English composition topics. This may happen because of your child:

  • Does not understand the topic.
  • Forgets to use a picture.
  • Fails to address the topic well enough.

2. Inadequate description of events

Students often spend too much time narrating one sequence to another, resulting in not having enough time and words to meet the requirement. As a result, they tend to rush up on things and use minimal description to jump from one event to another. Ensure that your child adds a detailed description for each action to avoid this.

3. Use of stereotyped introductions

Cliched intros can be off-putting for examiners who go through hundreds of papers. Help your child's composition stand a cut above the rest by encouraging them to use unique and catchy intros.

4. Resolving the problem too easily

Most PSLE English essays revolve around a problem for which the story characters seek a solution. Problems that are solved too easily will not garner the desired scores. Examiners look out for logical content where the student has attempted to worsen the problem and find a solution for the same.

5. Use of illogical content

Let's not forget that Primary school students are quite young and can easily be influenced by the video games and movies they watch. As a result, they may tend to incorporate those sequences in the essay, which will add no value to it. Instead, they may lose marks, thanks to all the illogical content.

6. Use of inaccurate phrases

This mistake often occurs with children who blindly memorise phrases without comprehending the meaning and use them liberally in the composition. Parents must train children to understand and use phrases that align with the storyline.

7. Use of abrupt conclusions

One of the most common mistakes is that students who often start strong do not end the composition with an equally strong conclusion. The ending is often rushed due to a lack of ideas and poor time management.

English composition may seem imposing, but there are several ways to overcome the challenges and acquire impressive scores.

8 Amazing Tips to Ace PSLE English Composition

  1. Understand the topic well before commencing your composition.
  2. Create a story outline to simplify your task.
  3. Set aside 5 mins in the end to check spelling, Grammar and punctuation to score better.
  4. Make reading a daily habit to get more ideas about portraying expressions and feelings in words.
  5. Create a personal word bank to improve vocabulary.
  6. Practice consistently to avoid straying from the main topic.
  7. Master the grammar rules and practice your spelling ability.
  8. Identify and act on the areas that need improvement.

Get StudySmart for that added advantage.

Mastering PSLE English is no more a challenge, thanks to StudySmart, our intelligent and innovative AI-powered app. StudySmart, Singapore personalises your child's education and optimises PSLE preparation. Reach out to us today, and we'll tell you how your child can benefit from StudySmart.

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