The New PSLE Achievement Level (AL) System: What Does It Mean For Your Child?

new al scoring system

Hey Parents! 

As you know by now, there are new changes to the PSLE scoring system.

How PSLE Score will be calculated from 2021
Source: Ministry of Education
Achievement Level Reference Raw Mark Range
1 >90
2 85-89
3 80-84
4 75-79
5 65-74
6 45-64
7 20-44
8 <20
Best Overall Score:4 Lowest Overall Score:32


The PSLE T-score system that was used in calculating students’ results since 1960, is no more and is now replaced with a brand new scoring system – the Achievement Level (AL) scoring System.

Starting 2021, Primary School students will be assigned Achievement Level scores – ranging from Achievement Level 1 (the best) up to Achievement Level 8, for each subject – based on their PSLE examination results.

So What Does This Change In The Scoring System Mean For Your Child?

  1. Foundation Level Subjects
Grades for Foundation Foundation Mark Range Standard Level AL Equivalent
A 75-100 6
B 30-74 7
C <30 8

For Primary School students who are taking Foundation subjects, your child will be graded from AL A to AL C. This will be factored into their overall AL score, with:

– AL A being an AL equivalent of 6

– AL B being an AL equivalent of 7

– AL C being an AL equivalent of 8

The main objectives behind the changes in the PSLE scoring system are to instil confidence in your child, as well as help them strengthen their subject content mastery.

Students who are taking subjects at the Foundation level will still be able to qualify for Express or N(A) courses, even if they are taking one or more Foundation subjects, as long as they can meet the placement criteria.

2. Your Child’s Eligibility For Higher Mother Tongue Language (HMTL)

Do note the new criteria for HMTL. 

For your child to be eligible for HMTL in Secondary School, they have –

(i) To score an overall PSLE score of 8 or better; OR

(iI) An overall PSLE Score of 9 to 14 (inclusive); and attain

  • AL 1 / AL 2 in MTL or
  • Distinction / Merit in HMTL

These new eligibility criteria are meant to measure your child’s ability to cope with the increase in academic workload for Secondary.

Schools will have the flexibility to offer HMTL to your child, even if they have not met the above criteria. Your child’s ability and interest in the Mother Tongue Language and their ability to manage HMTL, without hindering their academic performance in other subjects, are some important considerations.

3. More PSLE Students Will Have The Same AL Score

Your child’s score is no longer calculated based on how well they perform in relation to other students in the cohort.

Therefore, the new AL scoring System is intended to significantly lessen your child’s examination stress, by doing away with pitting their performance against their peers.

The broader score bands of AL5 to AL8 also encourage and help struggling students to learn at their own pace.

However, the key defining difference must not be overlooked. In the previous PSLE T-score system, there used to be 200+ different variations (wider range of scores) that your child could achieve. 

With the new AL scoring System, the variance has been greatly cut down to just 29 different possible scores. 

What this means is that the score your child receives will be the same as many many other students too! Again, this is due to a much narrower range of scores.

What about your child then, who is going to sit for their PSLE? Your child’s game plan now is to minus every single unwanted point they can, from their PSLE Report Card, in order to secure their seat in the Secondary school of their choice.

As you will know too, posting to Secondary schools is dependent on several factors namely, Choice Ranking, Citizenship and Computer Balloting as tie-breakers. 

The big BUT is that you can’t lose sight of the fact that it is still MERIT-BASED – first and foremost. Your child’s AL Score remains the very first cut.

Which also means that all subjects – whether it is English, Math, Science or Mother Tongue – are equally important! 

While both (old and new) scoring systems use the grades for the same 4 subjects, the marked difference is that the old PSLE T-score system does not count the subject weighting equally.

In the old PSLE T-score system, if your child scored A* in their Math and Science subjects but scored worse for English and Mother Tongue,  they would still end up with a good T-score as the weighting for the subjects are different.

But with the new AL scoring System, every single subject point will be added into your child’s final PSLE score!

Which is why helping your child to improve and master every subject is the only way to reach the top with the new AL scoring System! 

Therefore, the mindset shift and new game plan for parents and students is to adopt an all-rounded approach – being tops in all subjects!   

4. Every Point Counts For Secondary School Admission
Did you also know that, under the old PSLE T-score system, more than 50% of students normally scored As for their PSLE cohorts in previous years? (Based on MOE’s statistics)

To fine-tune the above, the new AL scoring System has introduced AL Bands. The AL Bands ensure that students’ performances are finely differentiated at the higher levels of subject mastery!

With reference to the table below, it’s out with the old PSLE T-score system, where the A* / A grade is just 2 bands. But now, it’s in with the new AL scoring System, where there are 4 AL Bands (AL 1 to AL 4). 

The current T-score system with grades A”, A.B. C D and E, will be replaced by scoring bands known as ALS AL scores will be added up with the highest score being 4, and the lowest, 32 Achievement level (AL) Marks
1 90 and above
2 85-89
3 80-84
4 75-79
5 65-74
6 45-64
7 20-44
8 Below 20


Do refer to the next table below, on the required AL Band ranges for the different Secondary programmes offered, when your child embarks on the next stage of their education journey

Indicative achievement level (AL) cut-off point (COP) ranges for different school types
  Indicative AL COP range for 2019 PSLE
Course Government and Government-aided schools Autonomous schools Autonomous schools
Express [Integrated Programme [(IP)] 7-9 7-9 6-8
Express (0-level) 8-22 8-16 8-10
Normal (Academic) 22-25 22-25 NA
Normal (Technical) 26-30 26-29 NA


As you can see, with the new AL scoring System for 2021, there are new changes to embrace.

At EduEdge, we believe that the new AL scoring System is a clearer indication of every child’s true learning progress for every subject. 

As supportive parents for your child, it’s natural that you would feel anxious and want to give your child that competitive edge under the new AL scoring system.

Under this new system, English has become more important than ever as an examinable subject.

5. Help Your Child Excel In English To Improve Their AL Score

Here at EduEdge,

Our dedicated and professional English Language Specialists have an in-depth knowledge of the PSLE English curriculum and mastery of how English should be taught so that your child can improve.

Using our structured and unique “Formula-Style” method of teaching English, our Language Specialists have helped over 2,500 students, all over Singapore, learn English and jump at least 1-2 grades! 

Our methodology holds true too for students (and parents) who wrongly thought that they couldn’t study for English.

Parents, it’s only natural that you’d surely want to see your child improve and do really well in their PSLE English too, with the new AL scoring System!  

Because of this, we’d like to invite you and your child to our complimentary 60-minute Diagnostic Consult & Assessment (DCA) (worth $158.00) with our Language Specialist.

That is the first crucial step because our Teachers will need to know your child’s strengths and weaknesses before they can formulate a game plan for your child to improve in English.

From this session, you will also learn more about how we help students improve with our unique method of studying English using Formulas and how we are different from the other English tuition centres / English tutors out there.

At the end of the day, whether you choose to engage our professional services or not, it is entirely up to you. 

Sounds fair?

Eduedge offers English tuition for all levels. If you are searching for English tutors, look no further, we specialise in PSLE, O-level english tuition and A level english tuition. Our tuition teachers are a blend of MOE-certified and full-time tutors prepared to equip students with the confidence to understand English. 

For the betterment of our students, we provide comprehensive teaching materials in all components such as reading, speaking, vocab, writing, listening and grammar, core components of the examinations. More importantly, we offer customised diagnostics and personalised feedback, as we value understanding through the lens of the student and the English tuition Singapore environment. 
(​​Book a free diagnostic consult assessment for your child worth $158 for free!)

Start your English learning journey today by contacting us. Help will be available beyond class hours through Whatsapp or face to face consultations.