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Getting Over the PSLE Nightmare

26 Nov 2015

Getting over the PSLE nightmare

Students deserve a clean slate after crossing the PSLE hurdle.

Still hung up about your kid’s PSLE score? Anba Saroja, Principal at Kent Ridge Secondary School, tells parents to get over it because students entering secondary school deserve a clean slate. 


It's only natural to expect your child to excel in his studies. Every parent would like to feel as if they’ve empowered their kids to achieve their goals and set them on the path to success as adults. But what happens when your child doesn’t meet your expectations?

Anba Saroja, Principal at Kent Ridge Secondary School, has met parents who’ve set the bar too high and end up reacting badly when their kids fail to meet their lofty expectations.

They have told her how devastated they felt when their children's less-than-stellar PSLE results kept them from attending their preferred schools. What such parents fail to realise is that every child is unique and develops at their own pace. It’s not the end of the world if a child doesn't score straight As in Primary 6.

Mrs Saroja explains how she gets parents to give their kids a fresh start in Secondary 1.

On hang-ups about their kid’s PSLE results:

Think about what you want to see at the end of your child’s education. How do you define “doing well”? Do you want your child to do well but at the end of the day, you don’t have a child with you? They’re not talking to you.

Some students need a bit more time. You must believe they can get to the destination. We’re not rushing. Your child’s journey will definitely be different from another kid’s.

On guilt-tripping kids over exam scores:

Parents indirectly blame themselves for their children’s performance. They feel that they didn’t teach them better; they didn’t give them more tuition; they didn’t get the best tutor and that’s why the child got only these grades.

Many are anxious, and rightfully so. They want their children to succeed. Who doesn’t?

On giving kids a clean slate:

If you keep harping on the past and about things that don’t work out as well as you want to, you have a child who lacks confidence and who doesn’t believe in himself. That will scar him for life.

On knowing your parenting style:

Believe in your kids and believe that they will succeed in life. We’re the constant in their journey. Their friends will come and go.

On motivating your child:

Ask your child where he sees himself at 22. If you ask Secondary 2 students what they want to do later on in life, many of them will say “I don’t know”. The conversations at home are about class tests – so look beyond that and discuss with your child about what kind of occupations he likes. If your child is interested in aeronautics, take him to the Singapore Airshow. Such conversations must start early. 

Stop saying this…

  • “Why can’t you do as well as your friend?”
  • “Is this how you repay me?”
  • “I know better than you do!”
  • “Don’t talk too much – show some results first.”
  • “Who’s got the highest score in class?”