Parliamentary Question

Candidates who miss national examinations due to COVID-19 quarantine order

13 September 2021


Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song, Aljunied GRC

To ask the Minister for Education for candidates who miss national examinations because they are under a quarantine order (a) what evidence will be used to award their grades; (b) how is a fair grade arrived at since some students may not perform well during earlier school tests/examinations; (c) whether an alternative examination script can be administered on another date; and (d) how can parents be assured that they need not be anxious about their children having contact with infected persons in the weeks leading up to national examinations.



1. To enable as many students as possible to sit for the national examinations while ensuring that the examinations are conducted safely with stringent Safe Management Measures in place, the Ministry of Education and the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) have updated the examination arrangements to include the use of Antigen Rapid Tests (ART) and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for students who are placed on Leave of Absence (LOA), Approved Absence, on Medical Leave with Acute Respiratory Infection or Medical Leave due to fever. Similar to last year's practice, schools will be implementing a study break for graduating cohorts prior to the year-end national examinations to minimise the risk of school-based transmissions and reduce the number of students placed on QO and LOA.

2. Each year, there will be students who miss some papers of a subject or sat for a paper under adverse circumstances at the national examinations, such as an illness. Under such circumstances, schools will apply special consideration for these students. Similarly, students who are affected by COVID-19 can apply for special consideration.

3. Special consideration is a well-established procedure, used by many international examination boards, to project grades through an evidence-based and data-driven approach. To ensure that the projected grade is fair and accurate, multiple sources of evidence are considered which include the student'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.

4. While there is a make-up examination for oral examinations as these are held well ahead of the year-end written examinations, there will be no make-up examinations for the other papers held in the later part of the year. Given the large number of written papers, providing make-up examinations for these would lengthen the duration of national examinations and impact downstream processes such as marking, results release and posting to schools.

5. MOE and SEAB will monitor the COVID-19 situation and provide timely updates if there are further changes to the examination arrangements.