Applications for direct admission to secondary schools increase steadily: MOE

Ms. Tan also addressed the lingering idea among parents that the bell curve is used to determine scores. The bell curve is the statistical practice of moderating grades after exams to ensure that they fall within a specific distribution.

She said: “The famous bell curve, we have to sound the death knell for the bell curve. Let me perhaps state categorically that the bell curve is not used for all national exams, including the PSLE.

During the webinar, Ms Tan also advised parents on how to choose a school for their children under the new grading and display systems.

As part of the 2021 changes, a student’s order of choice for schools is used as a tie-breaker between students with the same score.

She said: “It’s a broader-based grading system, and the reason we’ve made these changes is really to take parents and students away from this first-choice craze.

“I want to encourage parents not to just put all their eggs in that first choice basket, because if we look at the schools that are now consolidating in terms of cut points, there are a lot more choices available.”

The webinar was followed by three breakout sessions with the principals of Singapore Chinese School for Girls, St Joseph’s Institution, St Andrew’s Secondary School, Temasek Secondary School, Bowen High School and Swiss Cottage High School.

Principals discussed school choices and answered questions on topics such as how to tell if a child is a good fit for the Integrated Program, a six-year continuing education program some schools offer where students skip exams O level.

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