PSLE score – what’s it to you?

This year was the first time I went to school to collect the PSLE results. #3 asked me to go because both of her best friends’ mums were going. Needless to say, the anticipation in the school hall was killing everyone. I don’t know who was more anxious, the students or the parents.

Ok, I’m sure all of you want to know what #3 got, since I did put #1 and #2’s score up on my blog previously. Some people are secretive about it, but to me, it doesn’t say very much. So here it is. She got 4 ‘A’s with an aggregate of 229. We are all very proud of her because even until P4, she was hyperactive and found it hard to sit for more than 15 minutes. She had always been in one of the last classes and was still failing some subjects at the beginning of P6. The fact that she took the exams very seriously, was motivated to do well and gave of her best efforts was already cause for celebration. She was jumping for joy and exclaiming “I got an A for Chinese!”

On the other hand, her best friend scored 246 and cried.

The whole day, my phone beeped non-stop with people asking me her results. I understand how anxious her tutors were to know if their hard work had paid off, and I understand the concern of family. But there were many other people who just wanted to know her score.

What is it about people wanting to know other people’s kids’ scores? So that they would feel better about themselves if their kid scored higher? Or that they could put a number to a child’s intelligence? Or make all sorts of judgements about the child and his family?

Poor kids. I really feel sorry for them when adults asked them their grades and they have to face their reactions, and worse, sometimes face expressions with a split second of “oh gosh, that’s bad” before the adults regain their composure and said something positive. And strangely the adults seemed only interested in knowing the aggregate without asking them if they felt they had done their best, if they had shown an improvement, or anything else about the child as a person.

So before you ask a child his or her PSLE score, please ask yourself why do you want to know it, and what is the message you would want to tell the child after you hear it. Because kids are shaped in part by society, and your reaction to the child might stay in his or her mind for a long time. Please spare a thought for these children who are grappling with what these 3 numbers mean. 

Related posts:

Why we went on vacation just before the PSLE

Countdown: 3 months to the PSLE

6 things to do in the PSLE year

School Stories:

#1 – When your son gets into fights in school
#2 – My son the loan shark
#3 – So kids can’t play once they start school?

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

8 Replies to “PSLE score – what’s it to you?”

  1. My son has 225 and I am very proud of him. He felt a little disappointed but I told him that this is just the beginning of his marathon. He has just reached the 1st water point, so drink up, take a break and move on.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Kian Lam. That's exactly what I told #3 and her friends! That they have a long way more to go, and this score does not define them, and neither should they define their friends by their scores.

  3. Kudos! I would encourage my kids to put in their best effort too šŸ™‚

    I refused to believe that their whole life ahead will be determined by their PSLE marks.

    cheers, Andy

  4. Thanks Andy! Yes, so glad there are as many parents out there who think like we do as the parents who forget or refuse to look beyond the aggregate.

  5. Thank you, Donna Belle! Yes, it has become such a norm that many people forget about that. Let's all remember what education is truly about and it would be a great start to reducing the stress surrounding the PSLE.

  6. My daughter was perplexed why so many people wanted to know her marks…. We left it to her whether to tell others but she knows she is loved regardless of what # it is… And that's all that counts…

  7. Yes, strange isn't it? And then the kids start following suit and everyone wants to know everyone else's marks, and they learn to judge and pigeonhole their friends and acquaintances.

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