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PSLE T-Score

for 2020 P6 parents

What is the PSLE T-Score and how does it concern you? In this Simple Guide, we explain common misconceptions & highlight Important facts that every Primary 6 parent in 2020 must know about the T score.

Many parents have the misconception about PSLE. Contrary to popular beliefs, the PSLE total score is not 300 and neither is the T score calculated by converting the total marks of the 4 subjects to 300. So what exactly is the T-score then?

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).


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.


Supposing Daniel scored 85% for his English Paper and Mother Tongue Paper. He did much better in English as compared to his peers. However, 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?

Since the students taking the PSLE exams in 2019 and 2020 will be using the T score for entering secondary school, let’s take a look at how to calculate their final PSLE 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 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!

Let’s look at 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

T-Score = 50 + [10 (80 – 60)]/14 = 64.29

Case 2:

Student B’s raw mark = 50

T-Score = 50 + [10 (50 – 60)]/14 = 42.86


We hope that this post has addressed your concerns regarding the PSLE T Score. From 2021 onwards, this system will be replaced by a new PSLE Scoring system measuring the Achievement Levels of each subject.

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