Looking beyond the pain over PSLE

Covid-19 has been tough on this year’s cohort, pointing to further action needed as the children go on to secondary school. Parents too need to consider the broader shifts in education and the lessons they impart their children in their responses to exam setbacks.

This year’s PSLE exposed a chasm between what the majority of this cohort of Primary 6 pupils were prepared for, and what they were ultimately able to do. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Laremy Lee
For The Straits Times

So palpable was the pain from this year’s mathematics primary school leaving examination (PSLE) that it even affected those of us who did not sit the exam.

It prompted my 29-year-old cousin to recount, over WhatsApp, her traumatic experience in 2004, when she sat for her PSLE: “For my cohort, our science PSLE was the toughest. Science was my best subject. But I could neither do the paper nor finish it in time. I was quite shaken and on the verge of breaking down. Our teachers confirmed it was the toughest science paper they had seen in years. So how (this cohort of) pupils must be feeling totally resonates with me.”

(Continue reading the full article here.)

(Published as “Looking beyond the pain over PSLE” on 7 Oct 2015 in The Straits Times.)


Hands move. An exam.
Coloured pens mark scripts and time
while youth flies away.

An exam. Hands move,
coloured pens mark scripts and time
while youth flies away.

One among others.
Coloured pens mark scripts and time
while youth flies away.

Notification of Examination Results.


Regn/Matric No : 08XXXXXXX Date of Release : 01-Jun-2009
(Semester 2) Examination for PG.Dip.Ed.
Grade Grade Point Academic Unit(s)
Core Modules
QCE521 Language Teaching Experience B- 3.00 3.0
QCR520 Aims and Approaches to Teaching Literature A 5.00 6.0
QCR523 Literature Assessment, Writing and Teacher Reflection A 5.00 3.0
QED523 The Social Context of Teaching and Learning A- 4.50 2.0
QED524 Educational Psychology II: Teaching and Managing Diverse Learners in the Classroom B+ 4.00 2.0
QPR520 Teaching Practice DIST 10.0
Prescribed Modules
QED562 Designing Effective Learning Environments A- 4.50 2.0

Total No. of Academic Units Obtained: 40.0
Remarks: Passed the Final Examination for the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Specialisation in Teaching at Secondary School Level) (with Credit).
Cumulative Grade Point Average: 4.47


The rationale for and context of why I post up my grades can be found here and in older posts I’ve linked to (I’ve resurrected them from the old blog).

This is one of the things that has been bugging me since last night. I missed getting a PGDE (Distinction) by 0.03 grade points. It wouldn’t have mattered if not for two things:

  • It feels a bit like dressing up nicely for a night out at the theatre, getting there on time and getting ready to go in for a nice performance, only for you to dip your hand into your pocket and discover, to your horror, that you’ve left the tickets at home i.e. what a waste. (For context: you need to get a Distinction Credit for the Practicum module and a GPA of 4.5 to get the PGDE (Distinction). I got more than necessary for the former but missed out slightly on the latter.)
  • I made two separate choices earlier in the year to do two things, both of which I shall not mention because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. On hindsight, these two choices were directly responsible for the shortfall of 0.03 grade points. It stings to realise this now. Nevertheless, I must be man enough to stand by my choices if I was man enough to make them in the first place with the benefit of knowing full well what might happen if I made those choices.

Anyway, my sincerest thanks go out to my NIE Supervisor and the staff (permanent and trainees) + students of Saint Gabriel’s. The Practicum Distinction is for and because of all of you.