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Further Updates to PSLE 2021

1. To help the first batch of students and parents familiarise themselves further with the new Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) scoring system, the Ministry of Education (MOE) is releasing indicative Achievement Level (AL) Cut-Off Point (COP) ranges for different school types and the Subject-Based Banding (SBB) eligibility criteria under the AL scoring system.

2. MOE had earlier announced the upcoming changes to the PSLE scoring and Secondary One (S1) posting systems, which will take effect from 2021 (see Annex A). Under the new PSLE scoring system, students will receive AL scores instead of T-scores and be graded based on their individual performance in the subjects, regardless of how their peers have done. These changes reinforce MOE's efforts to shift away from an over-emphasis on academic results by reducing fine differentiation at a young age. This also provides our students with more flexibility and space to nurture their strengths and interests in order to develop them to their fullest potential.

Indicative Achievement Level (AL) Cut-Off Point (COP) Ranges

3. Based on students' PSLE results and school choice patterns at the 2019 S1 Posting Exercise (i.e. last S1 Posting Exercise), MOE has generated the indicative AL COP ranges for different school types (Tables 1 – 3 below). The AL COP refers to the AL score of the last student admitted into a particular school in the previous year via S1 posting. AL COP ranges in turn present the lowest and the highest AL COP amongst schools of a particular school type. Similar to the current T-score system, AL COPs may vary from year to year, depending on students' PSLE results and their school choices for that year's S1 Posting Exercise.

Government & Government-aided Schools

These schools are the mainstay of our education system and offer high quality education at standardised fees. They offer a range of electives, applied subjects and student development programmes.

Course Indicative AL COP range for 2019 PSLE
Express [Integrated Programme (IP)] 7 – 9
Express (O-level) 8 – 22
Normal (Academic) 22 – 25
Normal (Technical) 26 – 30

Table 1: Indicative AL COP ranges for Government & Government-aided schools.

Autonomous Schools

These schools are a subset of Government or Government-aided schools mentioned above. Autonomous schools provide a wider range1 of programmes that seek to enhance students’ learning experiences and develop their talents.

Course Indicative AL COP range for 2019 PSLE
Express (IP) 7 – 9
Express (O-level) 8 – 16
N(A) 22 – 25
N(T) 26 – 29

Table 2: Indicative AL COP ranges for Autonomous schools.

Independent Schools

These schools have the autonomy to develop their curriculum and programmes to cater to their students’ diverse learning needs.

Course Indicative AL COP range for 2019 PSLE
Express (IP) 6 – 8
Express (O-level) 8 – 10

Table 3: Indicative AL COP ranges for Independent schools.

4. For more details on the list of schools under the various school types, please refer to For more information on the schools' electives and programmes, Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) and locations, please visit

5. Following this year's S1 Posting Exercise, MOE will provide the indicative AL COPs for individual secondary schools in the first half of 2021 - based on the PSLE results and school choices of the 2020 PSLE cohort, as this would be the most recent data available. Students2 and their parents can use this information, in addition to factors such as schools' distinctive programmes, CCAs, ethos and culture, to shortlist secondary schools that would best fit the educational needs of the student.

Subject-Based Banding (Secondary) [SBB (Sec)] Eligibility Criteria

6. Since 2018, MOE has introduced Subject-Based Banding (SBB) in all secondary schools with N(A) and N(T) courses. SBB (Sec) provides students with greater flexibility to take various subjects at a more demanding level based on their subject-specific strengths and aptitudes.

7. Under the new PSLE system, students in the Normal course will continue to be eligible to take subjects at a more demanding level from Secondary 1, based on their AL scores for individual subjects. This recognises and develops students' subject-specific strengths. Table 4 shows the SBB (Sec) eligibility criteria based on AL scoring.

PSLE subject grade Option to take a subject at
AL 5 or better in a Standard level subject Express level
AL 6 or better in a Standard level subject
AL A in a Foundation level subject
N(A) level

Table 4: SBB (Sec) eligibility criteria for students in the N(A) and N(T) courses.

8. Regardless of the academic course a student enters in secondary school, the student will be eligible to take English Language, Mathematics, Science and/or Mother Tongue Language at the Express level, if the student scores AL 5 or better in a Standard level subject at the PSLE. The student will be eligible to take the subject at the N(A) level, if the student scores AL 6 or better at the Standard level or AL A at the Foundation level in that subject at the PSLE.

9. Beyond the start of Secondary 1, as students progress in secondary school, they will continue to have more opportunities to take subjects at more demanding levels based on their performance in school, to further pursue their strengths and develop to their fullest potential.

Our Journey Forward

10. MOE will continue to support students, parents, and schools through these changes. In the months ahead, schools will also engage students (and their parents) who will be sitting for PSLE 2021 under the new scoring and S1 posting systems, and also continue to provide Education and Career Guidance (ECG) support to guide them in making informed decisions on school and subject choices.

11. For more details on the changes to the PSLE scoring and S1 posting systems, please refer to



  1. Parents and students may reach out to the individual schools or visit the school's website for more information on these programmes.

  2. Students who are taking the PSLE in 2021 and participating in the 2021 S1 Posting Exercise.

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