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In this simple guide, we explain everything a Primary 6 parent in 2020 must know about the Primary School Leaving Examination PSLE T score so that you know how your child’s performance is going to be measured for this important milestone.

If your child is taking the PSLE in 2021, do note that this scoring system is already replaced by the new PSLE scoring system which measures every student’s performance by achievement levels (ALs) instead.

What is the PSLE T Score?

The PSLE T-score provides us with the relative position of a student’s performance as compared to the performance of the other students in the same level of a subject.

In PSLE, the raw score of each student will be transformed into a T-score and the PSLE aggregate score will be the sum of the T-scores of all 4 subjects instead of the raw scores.

What does the T score mean for my child?

To put it bluntly, the T-score is the entrance ticket for your child to their secondary schools after the PSLEs.

Although there are other ways of securing their place in their dream schools such as Direct School Admission (DSA), this is still the main important factor that determines your child’s eligibility to the various secondary schools and what stream they are able to be enrolled in.

When is the T score used?

The usual assessments in schools measure the students’ performance by their raw score in all subjects. The only time where the T score is used in primary schools is the PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination).

Overall PSLE score = English (T-score) + Mother Tongue (T-score) + Mathematics (T-score) + Science (T-score)

Why do we use the T score for PSLE?

The main reason why the T score is used in the PSLE is for fairness.

It is important to measure a student’s performance according to the different levels of difficulty in different subjects. This is because the raw score obtained by a student only shows how good the student is for a particular subject, but it does not show his performance compared to his peers.

A student scoring 85% in English and Mother Tongue could mean very different things.

Consider this PSLE bell curve:

Comparing the t score between students

Supposing Daniel scored 85% for his English Paper and Mother Tongue Paper. He did much better in English as compared to his peers. His performance in Mother Tongue is very close to his peers. The raw scores do now show this.

However, with the T score, we will be able to get a better picture of Daniel’s different capabilities in his respective subjects.

How to calculate the PSLE T Score?

Many parents have the misconception that the PSLE total score is 300. This is not true and neither is the T score calculated by converting the total marks of the 4 subjects to 300.

Since your child will be using the T score to enter secondary school, let’s take a look at how to calculate their final PSLE T score.

To do that, we’ll first convert the average mark of each subject to a common score of 50 marks.

Then, we’ll also take into account the extent to which the student’s score differs from the average and the size of the spread of the marks around the average (standard deviation).

Here’s the formula for the T-score:

T-score = 50 + [(10(X – Y)) / SD]

T-score is the transformed score

X is the student’s raw marks

Y is the average mark of the whole cohort who took the same exam

SD is the standard deviation (the spread of marks around the average)

Let’s see how we calculate the T Score with an example!

Here are 2 cases. Supposing the average mark (m) scored by all the students in Math is 60 and the standard deviation (s) is 14, the calculation of the T-score of each student will be as follows:

Case 1:

Student A’s raw mark = 80


= 50 + [10 (80 – 60)]/14

= 64.29

Case 2:

Student B’s raw mark = 50


= 50 + [10 (50 – 60)]/14

= 42.86


We hope that this post has addressed your concerns regarding the PSLE T Score. Let us know if you have any questions regarding the PSLE and we’ll be glad to help.

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