The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) and other national year-end examinations will begin in less than a week.
However, in view of the rising Covid-19 cases in Singapore the past few days, the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) have put in place arrangements for students who may be affected by Covid-19.
These include special consideration for those who miss any papers, as well as special arrangements for candidates to take their national year-end examinations while on Quarantine Order (QO), Leave of Absence (LOA) or Approved Absence (AA) in a safe manner.
According to a joint statement by MOE and SEAB, candidates who miss any national examination paper(s) with valid reasons, such as testing positive for Covid-19 or being on medical leave, can apply for special consideration.
Special consideration is a well-established procedure which awards candidates with projected grades through a "fair and rigorous evidence-based methodology".
SEAB will consider multiple sources of data, such as the candidate’s performance in the other papers for that affected subject in national and school-based examinations, as well as the school cohort's performance in national and school-based examinations, to ensure a fair assessment for all candidates.
All special consideration applications are assessed on each case's merit, to ensure that the grades awarded are as accurate and fair as possible, said MOE and SEAB.
School candidates may apply for special consideration through their schools. Private candidates may approach SEAB.
Arrangements for Candidates on QO
While special consideration will be applied to cases with valid reasons, MOE and SEAB noted that some candidates would still wish to have the opportunity to take their national year-end examination.
These candidates can include students who have been placed on QO but are otherwise well.
MOE and SEAB said that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has approved a set of procedures for such candidates on QO to be allowed to apply for leave from quarantine to sit for their national year-end examinations.
This is an additional option made available to all national examination candidates this year, starting from the PSLE examinations, and subsequently for GCE N(A)/N(T), O and A level examinations thereafter.
For PSLE candidates who may have to be accompanied to their examination venue, MOH has also approved a similar leave arrangement for an accompanying family member or caregiver, should the latter also be under quarantine.
Both the PSLE candidate and the accompanying family member who are applying for leave from quarantine must satisfy a rigorous testing requirement and follow these procedures:
- Obtain a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) entry swab at the beginning of the QO.
- Complete a self-swab with Antigen Rapid Tests (ART) kits at home and test within 24 hours before each of their examination papers.
- Travel arrangements to their examination venue by private transport (i.e. by private vehicle or by private hire transport) or on foot, and only between their place of residence and examination venue with no additional stops in between. Travel by public transport, such as buses or MRT, is not permitted.
- Inform their schools that they intend to take the specific paper in order for the school to prepare the examination venue arrangements for them.
MOE said that it will be providing more details of the requirements to candidates in due course, including the application procedure, and the expected timelines for processing of such applications.
Rooms used for QO candidates will also be thoroughly wiped down after the examinations to ensure the safety of candidates and invigilators in the examination venues and schools.
QO candidates will also need to:
- Take their examinations in a separate classroom/hall from the rest of the school cohort.
- Be seated three metres apart in exam-style seating.
- Avoid mingling with the other candidates as they will be provided with designated entry/exit points, restrooms, etc.
- Start examinations 30 minutes after the scheduled start time for the rest of the school cohort.
- Stagger their reporting time and venue.
Arrangements for Candidates on AA
MOE and SEAB have also updated the examination arrangements for candidates who are on AA due to being placed on MOH’s mandatory testing regime or Health Risk Warning alert.
In addition to completing their MOH-mandated entry PCR test and testing negative before they can sit for their examinations, these candidates must do a self-swab with ART test kits at home at regular intervals in compliance with MOH’s testing regime.
They must then inform their schools of the outcome before their examination, until their AA is rescinded.
The remaining arrangements as well as prevailing safe management measures (SMMs) implemented for the national examinations will continue to be in place.
MOE and SEAB said that they will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation and provide updates if there are further changes to the examination arrangements.
"We urge all candidates and staff to continue practising good personal hygiene, adhere to SMMs, and exercise social responsibility. Students should stay away from school and seek medical attention if they are unwell."
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