Implications of P5 Subject Banding on PSLE Aggregate Score

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Implications of P5 Subject Banding on PSLE Aggregate Score

Postby astronomer » Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:47 pm

During the past few days parents with kids in P4 has probably seen the brochure from MOE regarding Subject-based banding.

There is a statement inside this brochure regarding the calculation of PSLE score:- “The different expectations of standard and foundation subjects will be taken into account when your child’s PSLE score is calculated.”

What do you think MOE meant by that?:-
How will taking Foundation Maths instead of Standard Maths affect your aggregate score?

Ok, according to the brochure, EM3 streaming has been replaced by Subject-based banding. At the end of P4, before going into P5, students will be banded based on their P4 exam results.

A)If your child (for P4 exam)
->Passes all 4 subjects and performs very well in Mother Tongue Language
Your child will be recommended to take (in P5)
->4 standard subjects + Higher Mother Tongue Language

B)If your child (for P4 exam)
->Passes all 4 subjects
Your child will be recommended to take (in P5)
->4 standard subjects

C)If your child (for P4 exam)
->Passes 3 subjects
Your child will be recommended to take (in P5)
->4 standard subjects

D)If your child (for P4 exam)
->Passes 2 subjects or less
Your child will be recommended to take (in P5) either
->3 standard subjects + 1 other foundation
subject; or
->2 standard subjects + 2 other foundation
subjects; or
->1 standard subject + 3 other foundation
subjects; or
->4 foundation subjects

The student will then take these recommended subject combinations in P5 thru to P6 and subsequently sit for those combination of papers in PSLE.

Ok, let’s have two fictatious PSLE student Johnny and Tommy. Tommy takes the combinationB and Johnny takes the combinationD (let say Johnny takes the 3 standard subjects and Foundation Maths combi). So the only difference between Tommy and Johnny is that Johnny sits for Foundation Maths whereas Tommy sits for Standard Maths. All the other 3 subject are the same.

Let’s assume these are their PSLE raw scores:
Tommy
CL = 170
EL = 170
Science = 85
Maths = 70

Johnny
CL = 170
EL = 170
Science = 85
Foundation Maths = 99

Remember that they both sat for the same CL, EL and Science papers. Therefore their aggregate scores excluding Maths will be exactly the same.

It is only in the Maths papers that their scores differ and therefore it will be the maths results that determine the difference in their final aggregate scores. At first glance we have to probably conclude that Johnny’s aggregate score will be higher. After all everyone know scoring 99% is better than scoring 70%. But is it? I think not. Reason being that Standard maths is much more difficult than Foundation maths (the foundation maths paper and the standard maths paper are two different papers – they have two different syllabus).

So, I quess this is what MOE meant by “The different expectations of standard and foundation subjects will be taken into account…”. MOE has to make sure the Johnnies (foundation mathematicians) do not end up with higher aggregate than the Tommies (standard/smarter mathematicians). Some sort of ‘handicapping’ if you want to put it that way. So do you think this is what MOE meant? Anyway if this is correct than it only begets more questions. How much handicapping will MOE put in place, how exactly do they determine this ‘handicap’ and how exactly is it calculated? Please share your thoughts and do correct any wrong assumptions I may have made.

astronomer
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Postby jedamum » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:14 pm

this is interesting.

i have changed the heading to 'Subject Banding' for clearer reflection of the discussion.

for those interested to read the 'pamphlet', i think it should be this...
http://www.moe.edu.sg/education/primary ... anding.pdf

astronomer,
you can google for some information; some schools do have some slides explaining how the PSLE score will be calculated and i briefly read that
1. the foundation subject score will be lower than standard subject score during the calculation of PSLE aggregate (by how, i dunno).
2. if one take 1 foundation subject, the chances of going Normal Stream is increased (maybe there is a 'cap' on scoring? eg as the T-score for the Foundation Subject is been calculated, if a lot of them score 99 marks, and for the student with 99 marks, perhaps they only allocate a 50-60 max out of 100 marks when compared to Standard Subject calculation - purely my guess) ;
3. those taking 2 foundation subjects is most likely channeled to Normal Stream route.

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Postby astronomer » Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:52 pm

jedamum wrote:astronomer,
you can google for some information; some schools do have some slides explaining how the PSLE score will be calculated and i briefly read that
1. the foundation subject score will be lower than standard subject score during the calculation of PSLE aggregate (by how, i dunno).


Hi jedamum, infact I did come across presentation slides of some schools regarding this subject banding and how it will affect PSLE score but not very informative. (I did a search for 'subject based banding')

In general these were the points that was mentioned on those slides(I got a feeling they were given guide-lines from MOE...all the slides look similar.):-

How will PSLE scores be calculated?
The PSLE scoring system remains unchanged
The raw mark for each subject is converted to a transformed score (T-score)
The T-score reflects the pupils’ standing relative to other pupils on a common scale
The Aggregate Score is the sum of the T-score in all subjects
Each subject carries equal weighting

• The PSLE score takes into account the
– content and demand of each subject
– number of subjects taken


The "content and demand of each subject" is most likely refering to foundation and standard subjects. So they still did not say how the scores will be taken into account.

astronomer
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Postby astronomer » Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:11 pm

I have seen both the sample foundation maths and standard maths PSLE papers. The standard maths papers were clearly more difficult especially the paper-2 structured/long-answer section.

A kid who generally scores a 70-80% mark in standard maths would probably score 80%-90% in foundation maths (my opinion).

Would it be better opt to sit for foundation maths during PSLE and get a higher mark?

astronomer
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Postby lizawa » Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:20 pm

I am not sure how the T-score is calculated for foundation subjects. What I have seen in the past for students in EM3 stream, the PSLE score is normally a 2-digit score or 100+.

I am not sure if you can even choose to do foundation maths, if you are not recommended to do so. Only if you pass 2 subjects or less, will you be recommended to do foundation subject.

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