Quarantined students will be allowed to take their national examinations this year if they wish to, subject to stringent criteria, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) in a statement on Sunday (Sept 26).
They have to test negative for Covid-19 with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at the start of the quarantine order, and complete a self-swab with antigen rapid test (ART) kits at home and test negative within 24 hours before each examination paper.
Travel arrangements to their exam venue must be by private transport or on foot, with no stops between their place of residence and exam venue. The schools have to be informed that they are taking the particular paper so the exam venue can be prepared.
Other measures include:
- The rooms used for quarantined candidates will be separate from the rest of the cohort and will be thoroughly wiped down after the exams.
- The students will be seated 3m apart in exam-style seating and have designated entry and exit points and restrooms.
- They will start the exams 30 minutes after the scheduled start time for the rest of the cohort.
- These measures will ensure the safety of candidates and invigilators, MOE said.
The arrangements are different from last year's restrictions, which did not allow candidates in quarantine to sit exams.
The changes apply to the Primary School Leaving Examination as well as the N-, O- and A-level exams.
Those who are positive for Covid-19 or on stay-home notice are still not allowed to sit exams this year.
If a quarantined PSLE candidate needs to be accompanied to the exam venue, an accompanying family member or caregiver, if also in quarantine, is subjected to the same restrictions as the student.
Those on approved absence due to mandatory testing by the Ministry of Health or who are under health risk warnings are also allowed to sit the exams if the PCR test at the start of the absence was negative and their regular ART self-swabs are negative.
Those on leave of absence are also allowed if supervised ART tests, done in regular intervals, are negative.
How grades will be derived
MOE and SEAB said that similar to previous years, candidates who miss national exams with valid reasons such as Covid-19 can apply for special consideration.
They will be awarded projected grades that take into consideration multiple sources of data, such as the candidate's performance in other papers for that subject and the school cohort's performance, in national and school-based exams.
If the student misses all the components of the subject's exam, such as the PSLE mathematics paper, the SEAB will take into consideration the student's school preliminary examination results for the subject to determine his relative rank among peers in his school cohort.
This position will then be used to derive his projected mark from the school cohort's performance in the PSLE, based on the mark that corresponds to this relative rank. The mark will then be used to derive the final score.
If a candidate misses one or more papers of a subject, the SEAB will look at the student's performance in the papers he has taken to derive a projected outcome for the subject, and also take into consideration the student's performance in the school preliminary exams.
MOE said it will provide details of the requirements and application procedure at a later date.