The Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) have meticulously structured the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) English Examinations to evaluate students’ comprehensive English language skills. Among the multiple sections of these examinations, Paper 2, and specifically its Comprehension section, has a pivotal role in gauging a student’s ability to read, understand, and interpret a range of written texts effectively.
|Component||Duration / Marks||Skill(s) Assessed||Format||Further Details|
|Paper 2: Language Use and Comprehension||1 hour 50 minutes / Total 95 marks||Students’ ability to use language correctly and understand visual and textual information|
|Booklet A||Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs)|
|Grammar MCQ||10 marks||Assesses grammatical understanding|
|Vocabulary MCQ||5 marks||Assesses vocabulary understanding|
|Vocabulary Cloze MCQ||5 marks||Assesses context-based vocabulary understanding|
|Visual Text Comprehension MCQ||8 marks||Assesses comprehension of visual text, e.g., posters|
|Booklet B||Various formats|
|Grammar Cloze||10 marks||Assesses understanding of grammatical structure|
|Editing for Spelling and Grammar||12 marks||Assesses ability to identify and correct spelling and grammatical errors|
|Comprehension Cloze||15 marks||Assesses understanding of text through cloze passages|
|Synthesis & Transformation||10 marks||Assesses ability to combine and transform sentences|
|Comprehension Open-Ended||20 marks||Assesses understanding of a longer text passage||Questions may include tables for students to fill in|
Paper 2’s Comprehension section is divided into two parts, known as Comprehension Booklet A and Comprehension Booklet B. Each part presents a passage of text, followed by a series of questions intended to evaluate a student’s understanding of the text, as well as their ability to infer, summarise, and extrapolate from the information given.
In Comprehension Booklet A, students are typically given a non-fiction passage which may be drawn from various genres such as reports, news articles, and informational texts. The questions in this section are typically factual, literal, and vocabulary-based. They require students to locate and extract specific information directly from the visual text, understand and explain the meaning of certain words and phrases in context, and make straightforward inferences based on the given content.
Comprehension Booklet B, on the other hand, often features a narrative or a descriptive passage, which could be a story, a personal anecdote, or a character sketch. The questions in this section are more complex and varied. They test students’ ability to infer and deduce meanings, understand and interpret characters and their motivations, identify the mood and tone of the passage, and appreciate the use of figurative language and literary devices. They may also involve summarising parts of the passage, making predictions, and providing personal responses or reflections based on the passage.
Moreover, some questions could require students to rewrite sentences or paraphrase passages while maintaining their original meaning. These questions test students’ command of the English language and their ability to manipulate language structures effectively.
It’s worth noting that both Comprehension Booklet A and B are designed to assess not only students’ reading comprehension skills, but also their visual confirmation, critical thinking and analytical abilities. This is reflected in questions that require students to evaluate the text, identify the author’s purpose or viewpoint, and draw conclusions based on the information given.
The Comprehension section of the PSLE English Examinations Paper 2, as defined by MOE and SEAB, provides a comprehensive and multi-faceted assessment of students’ reading, understanding, and interpreting abilities. It offers a valuable opportunity for students to demonstrate their proficiency in English language comprehension and their capacity to think critically and analytically about written texts.