February 8, 2024

2024 PSLE AL Scoring & Grading System (With Examples)

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The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is a crucial milestone in the educational journey of Singaporean Primary school students. A student’s overall PSLE score determines their academic performance, which in turn determines the number of Secondary schools which they qualify for.

First announced in 2016, the new revamped PSLE 'Achievement Levels (AL) Scoring System' officially replaced the old ‘T-Score system’ in 2021.

Why Introduce a New PSLE Scoring System?

In November 2021, the Ministry of Education (MOE) introduced the new PSLE ‘AL Scoring System’ to provide a broader scoring band for each subject. This essentially reduces the emphasis on marginal score differences that were present in the ‘T-Score system’.

Here’s a quick example: Under the previous system, Student X might score 270 and Student Y 271, leading to narrow comparisons. The new AL system, however, is designed to assign similar scores, like a ‘4’, to both students in such scenarios. If this wasn't clear, we have clearer examples with illustrations below.

By providing a broader scoring band for each subject, the new PSLE AL score intends to benefit both students and parents:

  1. Primary 6 students will have more choices of Secondary Schools to choose from with the same cutoff point.
  2. Alleviate stress for both children and their parents.
  3. Allows students to focus on their interests and strengths.
  4. Lower the likelihood of a loss of confidence among young learners.

Therefore, as a parent of a child preparing for the PSLE, it is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of this new grading system.

What is the 2024 PSLE Scoring System? 

The PSLE in Singapore now employs the AL Scoring System. Under this system, each PSLE subject is assessed using eight distinct bands, termed “Achievement Levels (ALs)”. 

Students receive an AL score ranging from 1 to 8 for each subject (1 being the highest), with each AL corresponding to a specific range of marks. 

This scoring framework is detailed in the table below.

PSLE AL Scoring System in Singapore
This illustrates how a subject's marks (/100) translates into Achievement Levels (ALs)

The 2024 PSLE Scoring system will also mean that more Secondary Schools have the same cut-off point.

In instances where more than one student shares the same PSLE score and competes for the last available slot in a Secondary school, tie-breakers will be applied in a specific sequence. We cover this below under “How will posting be decided in the case of a tie? Will there be more balloting?”.

It’s also useful to note that this 2024 PSLE Scoring System (PSLE AL score) takes into account individual accomplishments, promoting a more inclusive approach to recognising students' academic achievements.

How to Calculate the PSLE Score using the AL Scoring System?

Under the AL system, the total PSLE score is the sum of the 4 subject scores (AL bands).  The total score will range from 4 to 32, with 4 being the highest total.

A simple example of how to calculate your AL Scores from the 4 subjects.

Let's look at another example below: 

  • The student scored 3, 2, 4 and 4 respectively for English Language, Mother Tongue Language, Mathematics and Science. 
  • This means that the student achieved a PSLE Score of 13 (3+2+4+4).

Remember, under the AL Scoring System, the lower the overall PSLE AL score, the better.  The best possible score is 4, and the lowest is 32.

How to calcuate your AL Score
Another example of how to sum up your Overall PSLE Score from each of the 4 subjects.

What Is The Difference Between T-Score VS AL Score PSLE Scoring System?

The main difference is that PSLE scores will become much less finely differentiated. Under the AL score system, a student can only have 29 possible PSLE scores, unlike the old T-Score system, where a student can have over 200 possible aggregate T-Scores.

We took time to combine and compile both scores and ranges side-by-side in the table below:

A side-by-side comparison of the new AL Scoring System vs the old T-Score System

Under the T-Score Grading system, students often missed getting their school of choice by just a few marks as there were 200 different possible scores. Before the current AL Scoring System, PSLE scores adopted the T-Score system to reflect how well students perform against their peers

The old T-Score system was measured via a formula in which four subject T-Scores were added to the T-Score Aggregate, showing how well they performed versus everybody else in the same year. This, however, emphasised relative performance to peers instead of absolute achievement levels.

Unlike the T-Score system, having a lower score in the AL Scoring System is better: The best possible score is 4, and the lowest is 32.

Re-using the previous example above: 

Under the previous system, Student X might score 271 and Student Y 270, leading to narrow comparisons. The new AL system, however, is designed to assign similar scores, like a ‘4’, to both students in such scenarios.

How Do The AL Bands Work? 

The AL bands were designed to provide a fairer and more comprehensive reflection of a student's understanding and abilities, particularly for those in the middle to lower ALs. It ensures that students are evaluated more equitably, especially when applying for admissions or further educational opportunities.

Lower AL Bands (in red) and Higher AL Bands (in yellow)

Lower AL Bands (With Example)

Under the MOE's new AL Scoring System, there is a broader marks range for lower AL bands. This approach acknowledges the wider distribution of student scores in these bands, compared to the upper ALs. 

As seen in the table above (red highlight), under the AL Scoring System, a student who scored 45-65 would have been awarded a ‘6’, whereas under the old T-Score System, that student could have been awarded ‘B’, ‘C’ or ‘D’.

Upper AL Bands (With Example)

For upper AL bands, the MOE maintains finer differentiation. By doing so, there will be a lower occurrence of potential tie-breakers and ensures that high-achieving students are accurately recognised for their academic excellence. 

As seen in the table above (yellow highlight), under the T-Score System, a student that scored 75-89 would have been rewarded an ‘A’, whereas, under the new AL Scoring System, that student could have been awarded ‘2’, ‘3’, or ‘4’.

How will posting be decided in the case of a tie? Will there be more balloting?

The Ministry of Education in Singapore has reaffirmed that postings to secondary schools will “still be based on academic merit”. According to MOE's simulations, it's expected that approximately 90% of students will secure their placements without needing balloting.


A specific set of tie-breakers will be used if more than one student with the same score is vying for the last available place in a school, in the following sequence:

  • Citizenship: A Singapore citizen has the highest priority, followed by Permanent Residents (PRs) and lastly international students
  • School Choice Order: A student who ranked the school higher on his or her list of choices gets priority
  • Computerised Balloting: If the above two are the same, computerised balloting will be used to determine who is to be admitted.

How Will PSLE AL Scores Affect Secondary School Placement?

Until 2023, students' placement into Secondary schools will be determined by their PSLE scores, categorising them into one of three streams: 

  1. Express,
  2. Normal (Academic) or N(A) 
  3. Normal (Technical) or N(T)

Starting in 2024, a new system will introduce three Posting Groups (1, 2, and 3) to replace these streams. This change aligns students with subjects at three levels—G1, G2, and G3 (General levels), corresponding to the former standards of N(T), N(A), and Express. 

PSLE AL Scores Placement in Secondary School
How PSLE AL Scores map to Express, Normal Academic (NA), Normal Technical (NT) placements in Secondary School

Students who do not qualify for any program will have the opportunity to retake the PSLE. This approach ensures a more flexible and tailored educational pathway, reflecting the evolving standards of secondary education in Singapore.

Alternatively – Students have the option to choose the Assumption Pathway School (APS) or NorthLight School (NLS) for a more hands-on learning approach. That said, enrollment in these programs is contingent upon receiving an endorsement from the principal.

What Is A Good PSLE AL Score? 

A good PSLE score is subjective and often depends on various factors, such as the individual aspirations of the student and the academic expectations set by their chosen Secondary schools. 

According to the new Scoring System, the common benchmark of a Total PSLE Score is typically between the 4 and 32 mark range, derived from combining scores in four core PSLE subjects: English, Mathematics, Science, and Mother Tongue. 

At eduSpace, we intentionally avoid labelling one score as better than another, as we believe that every individual young learner has different strengths, weaknesses and goals.  Students learn best when they’re most comfortable: Many students ‘fear’ or even ‘hate’ certain subjects because of past negative experiences, resulting in an unwillingness to engage with the material.

If you have a child who is preparing for the PSLE, consider signing up for our trial lesson! We offer English Tuition, Math Tuition, Science Tuition and Chinese Tuition for students preparing for their examinations!

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