Academic grading in Singapore

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Singapore's grading system in schools is differentiated by the existence of many types of institutions with different education foci and systems. The grading systems that are used at Primary, Secondary, and Junior College levels are the most fundamental to the local system used.

Primary schools[edit]

Primary schools in Singapore implement a grading system along an "Achievement Band", until the system disregarded the EM3 stream and concentrated on an "Overall Grade" scheme, which grades students as below:

Primary 3 to 4[edit]

  • Band 1: 85% and above
  • Band 2: 70% to 84%
  • Band 3: 50% to 69%
  • Band 4: Below 50%

Primary 5 to 6 standard stream[edit]

  • A*: 91% and above
  • A: 75% to 100%
  • B: 60% to 74%
  • C: 50% to 59%
  • D: 35% to 49%
  • E: 20% to 34%
  • U: Below 20%

Primary 5 to 6 foundation stream[edit]

  • Grade 1: 85% and above
  • Grade 2: 70% to 84%
  • Grade 3: 50% to 69%
  • Grade 4: 30% to 49%
  • U: Below 30%

Secondary schools[edit]

Secondary schools are the first institutions in Singapore to have implemented the “Overall Grade” grading system for academic subjects. Since the 2000s, the education system allows more capable Normal (Academic) stream students to participate in the O Levels examination for Mother Tongue and Mathematics (Elementary) a year instead of taking the N Levels equivalents. This has resulted with a quasi-O Levels grading system used for such students, although their N Levels subjects are graded along the Overall Grade grading system, thus in their result slip, some subjects will be graded along the Overall Grade, and some with the O Levels grading system.

Express and Special stream students are graded along the Overall Grade grading system for the first 3 academic years in their secondary schools, and then graded along the O Levels grading system in their final secondary school year (year 4). Normal (Academic) students are graded for first 3 academic years and the N Levels year (year 4), and subsequently graded along the O Levels grading system in their final secondary school year (year 5). Normal (Technical) stream students are graded along the Overall Grade grading system throughout their entire education in secondary schools.

Non-academic subjects like Religious Knowledge, Civic & Moral Education and Music are graded with an alphabetical grading system of A, B, C or D.

Overall grade[edit]

  • A1: 75% and above
  • A2: 70% to 74%
  • B3: 65% to 69%
  • B4: 60% to 64%
  • C5: 55% to 59%
  • C6: 50% to 54%
  • D7: 45% to 49%
  • E8: 40% to 44%
  • F9: Below 40%

GPA[edit]

In some Secondary Schools, Grade Point Averages are used. The Grade Point Average is calculated by taking the Grade Point of each subject, adding them together, then dividing the total by the amount of subjects the student takes. This value is rounded to two decimal places, giving the student's GPA. A minimum GPA of 2.0 will usually be required for promotion.

For example, the GPA table for Raffles Girls' School and Raffles Institution (Secondary) is as below:

Grade Percentage Grade point
A+ 80-100 4.0
A 70-79 3.6
B+ 65-69 3.2
B 60-64 2.8
C+ 55-59 2.4
C 50-54 2.0
D 45-49 1.6
E 40-44 1.2
F <40 0.8

The GPA table differs from school to school, with schools like Dunman High School excluding the grades "C+" and "B+"(meaning grades 50-59 is counted a C, vice-versa) However, in other secondary schools like Hwa Chong Institution and Victoria School, there is also a system called MSG (mean subject grade) which is similar to GPA that is used.

Grade Percentage Grade point
A1 75-100 1
A2 70-74 2
B3 65-69 3
B4 60-64 4
C5 55-59 5
C6 50-54 6
D7 45-49 7
E8 40-44 8
F9 <40 9

The mean subject grade is calculated by adding the points together, then divided by the number of subjects. For example, if a student got A1 for math and B3 for English, his MSG would be (1+3)/2 = 2.

NA levels grades[edit]

  • 1: 75% and above
  • 2: 70% to 74%
  • 3: 65% to 69%
  • 4: 60% to 64%
  • 5: 50% to 59%
  • U: Below 50%, considered Un-graded, or failed.

NT levels grades[edit]

  • A: 70% and above
  • B: 65% to 69%
  • C: 60% to 64%
  • D: 50% to 59%
  • U: Below 50%, considered Un-graded, or failed.

O levels grades[edit]

  • A1: 75% and above
  • A2: 70% to 74%
  • B3: 65% to 69%
  • B4: 60% to 64%
  • C5: 55% to 59%
  • C6: 50% to 54%
  • D7: 45% to 49%
  • E8: 40% to 44%
  • F9: Below 40%
  • Grades D7, E8 and F9 are considered the failing grades. Students taking Mother Tongue Syllabus B may be awarded a Merit, a Pass, or an Ungraded grade.[1]

The results also depends on the bell curve.

Junior college level (GCE A and AO levels)[edit]

  • A: 70% and above
  • B: 60% to 69%
  • C: 55% to 59%
  • D: 50% to 54%
  • E: 45% to 49% (passing grade)
  • S: 35% to 44% (denotes standard is at AO level only), grade N in the British A Levels.
  • U: 35% and below

In addition, students offering Special Papers (offered for the last time in 2006) will be awarded either 1 (Distinction), 2 (Merit), or U (Unclassified). Grades 1 and 2 may only be awarded with a grade E and above in the main A level paper. Grade U will be awarded if a candidate fails to achieve at least a grade E in the main subject paper, and will not be reflected in the A level result cerificate.

For students offering H3 Subjects (introduced for the first time in 2006), they will be awarded either Distinction, Merit, Pass or Ungraded.

Different JCs have different expectations and thus, the school reserves the discretion to moderate the marks when deemed necessary. For example, some JCs may regard 50% as the passing mark instead of 45% by others.

Note: AO level grades at Junior College level follows the O level system above.

All percentages with their corresponding grades shown here are just approximate guidelines because ultimately at the end of all major examinations (Primary School Leaving Examinations or PSLE in short, GCE N, O and A Levels) the Ministry of Education, Singapore, will moderate the results. Hence, an A grade for instance may no longer be at 70%. It could possibly be 68% or even 73% depending on the performance of the cohort. This is usually done to prevent grade inflation.

In addition, some schools are also offering the International Baccalaureate diploma program.

Polytechnic (diploma)[edit]

Grading

  • AD: Distinction (Top 5% score in the subject for the cohort)
  • A: Excellent (>=80%)
  • B+: Very good (75%-79%)
  • B: Good (70%-74%)
  • C+: Above average (65%-69%)
  • C: Average (60%-64%)
  • D+: Pass (55%-59%)
  • D: Borderline pass (50%-54%)
  • F: Fail (<50%)

Grade point average

  • AD: 4.0
  • A: 4.0
  • B+: 3.5
  • B: 3.0
  • C+: 2.5
  • C: 2.0
  • D+: 1.5
  • D: 1.0
  • F: 0

The graduation criteria is to accumulate at least 0.5 for their GPA. For entrance into local university, the minimum criteria is to accumulate at least 3.5-3.8 for their GPA depending on each course. As for overseas university, the criteria is slightly lower which can range from 2.0-3.0. The matriculation requirement for local university is very high because only 15% of its vacancies is allocated to polytechnic graduates. CCA is also taken into consideration for matriculation. However, from 2007 onwards, local universities have scrapped the 5% CCA criteria. This means that polytechnic results would comprise 80% while the remaining 20% is made up of O Levels grade. Some secondary schools also use the Grade Point Average of the polytechnic Diploma system.

References[edit]