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Ways to Determine Your PSLE Scores With the PSLE Calculator

March 6, 2022
StudySmart Team
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A happy smiling girl student showing her A+ PSLE exam grades.

Is your child appearing for PSLE after 2021? Well, then you know what it signifies. 2021 was the year when Singapore's Ministry of Education implemented the new scoring system after it was announced way back in 2016.

Christened the Achievement Level (AL) scoring system, it replaced the old T-scoring system, which was criticised for the unnecessary pressure it placed on both parents and students. Therefore, students taking their PSLE exams this year and the consecutive years will be using ALs to calculate their PSLE scores. As of 2021, your child's level of achievement will be reflected in their PSLE score through scoring bands.

The AL scoring system can confuse first-time users, and estimating your child's PSLE score can be challenging. However, the details in our blog will help you comprehend the nuances of the AL system and show you how to calculate PSLE scores.

Understanding the AL Scoring System: the New Twist in PSLE

At the outset, let's make two things clear about the new PSLE aggregate calculator:

  • Your child's PSLE score will be the sum of the four subject scores, namely English, Science, Mathematics, and Mother Tongue Language or MTL.
  • The AL score ranges from 4 to 32, with 4 being the best possible score.

Instead of the old grading system, the AL score system segregates the marks into eight bands, namely AL1 to AL8. Each PSLE subject is scored with the appropriate AL bands. The students who exhibit similar performance are placed in the same AL for each subject.

The Achievement Level and the mark range for each level are given below:

AL Raw Mark Range
1 ≥90
2 85 - 89
3 80 - 84
4 75 - 79
5 65 - 74
6 45 - 64
7 20 - 44
8 <20

Here's an example of how the PSLE score is calculated based on the Standard subjects:

Subjects AL Score
English Language AL3
Mother Tongue Language AL2
Mathematics AL1
Science AL2
PSLE Score 8

The AL scoring method remains the same for students taking foundational subjects. However, instead of marks, their scores are graded as A, B, and C. These grades are then translated to their equivalent standard level AL to determine the PSLE scores.

To achieve success in PSLE exams, your child needs in-depth knowledge and intense practice. Using StudySmart's PSLE module, students can learn the PSLE syllabus, practice exam strategies, and attempt challenging questions. You can also browse our apps here: PSLE English, PSLE Maths, PSLE Science.

In order to calculate a student's overall PSLE score, Foundation Level AL A to AL C will be mapped to corresponding Standard Level subjects of AL 6 to 8. These scores are used for the purpose of S1 posting.
A school student for the PSLE exam in the classroom.
AL Scoring for MTL Exemption & Asian/ Foreign Languages

What if your child is exempted from the Mother Tongue Language exam due to extenuating circumstances? Do not worry. Under the AL scoring system, all students exempted from MTL are assigned an MTL score based on:

  • Reference from peers with the same English, Mathematics, and Science scores.
  • Parity of treatment from students taking foundation MTL with a score between AL6 and AL8.

As a result, in the PSLE, students will get an MTL score ranging from AL 6 to 8. The PSLE score is calculated by adding the ALs of the four subjects taken, which are English, Mathematics, Science, and Mother Tongue. Therefore, PSLE scores can range from 4 to 32, with 4 being the best score.

It is natural for any parent and student to wonder why the old T-scoring system is scrapped and replaced by the AL system. The MoE has its reasons (which we have discussed later), and to understand them, we have to understand how both systems differ.

T-Scoring System Vs AL System: What's the Difference?

The T-scoring system was infamous for its complex formula to determine the PSLE score. The formula is this:

T-Score= 50+ (10 (x-m) / s)


X= Raw marks obtained
M= Mean average mark
S= Standard deviation or spread of marks

A sum of all the four T-scores would yield the total PSLE score.

Comparatively, the AL PSLE aggregate score calculator makes it easier to calculate a rough estimate of the PSLE score based on the student's performance in preliminary exams and practice papers. The following tables will help you understand the differences between the old and new scoring systems for PSLE.

T- Scoring System

Grade Mark Range
A* 91-100
A 75-90
B 60-74
C 50-59
D 35-49
E 20-34
U <20

AL Scoring System

Achievement Levels Mark Range
1 ≥90
2 85 - 89
3 80 - 84
4 75 - 79
5 65 - 74
6 45 - 64
7 20 - 44
8 <20

So, what are MoE's reasons for adopting a new scoring system? The Ministry points out two main rationales, which are:

  • Reducing the fine differentiation between scores for students at a young age.
  • Reducing the pressure on students to grab the last mark instead of aiming to fall in a certain band.

Apart from these reasons, the MoE is also keen on encouraging students and parents to select secondary schools based on:

  • Available Co-Curricular Activities or CCAs
  • School culture
  • School location

The underlying aim is to shift the focus from academic performance to the students' capabilities and mastery of each subject.

Under these circumstances, the uneven distribution of raw mark ranges is now one of the more hotly debated issues. Let's see if the AL scoring system has a solution for this issue.

Also Read : The AL Level PSLE Scoring System: A Closer Look at the Details

How AL Scoring System Deals with Uneven Mark Ranges

Comparisons are often made between AL 2 to AL4 (which each have a five-mark range), AL 5 (ten-mark range), and AL 6 (twenty-mark range). To dispel these comparisons, the MoE clearly states in its FAQs that around half the students taking Standard PSLE subjects score above 75. Therefore, more than half of the PSLE cohort will have a score of AL1 to AL4 for each Standard subject. The MoE's website also cautions that there is no passing or failing mark for each PSLE subject or PSLE as a whole.

So, what are the MoE's plans for the future, and how will it affect secondary school postings for students appearing for PSLE beyond 2021? Here's a quick look at what to expect from the MoE:

  • Subject-Based-Banding or SBB for secondary schools beyond 2024. This banding will allow students to choose subjects at levels G1, G2, and G3, the most advanced level.
  • Phasing out of Express, N(A), and N(T) streams by 2024. This will allow students to attempt different subjects with different complexity levels.
  • Replacing O-Levels and N-Levels with Single Nation Certification in 2027.

Despite all the hype and discussion about the AL scoring system, one fact remains unchanged: The importance of PSLE should never be undermined. Your child's final score will determine their future course of education and career path. Therefore, how your child prepares for the PSLE matters above everything else.

Avail StudySmart for better PSLE preparation:

StudySmart is a brilliant PSLE learning app powered by Artificial Intelligence and backed by Neuroscience. It is an ideal, affordable, and efficient platform for students to optimise their PSLE preparation. Want a free trial for StudySmart? Reach out to us today.

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