What is the Direct School Admission-Secondary (DSA-SEC)?

By: Ben Tan    

Direct School Admission Secondary (DSA-Sec) Exercise is an admission exercise to allow participating schools to select some Primary 6 (P6) students for admission to Secondary 1 based on their achievements and talents before the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results are released.

The objective of the DSA-Sec Exercise is to promote holistic education by giving participating schools greater flexibility in selecting students while holding on to the key principles of transparency and meritocracy.

The DSA-Sec allows students to seek admission to a secondary school on the basis of talents and achievements that may not be demonstrated at the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). The DSA-Sec enables students to enter suitable academic and non-academic programmes in Secondary Schools that can develop the students in these areas. For information on changes to the DSA announced in March 2017

How do schools select students in the DSA-Exercise?

The selection process differs across schools, and for different DSA categories. Depending on the DSA area applied to, students may be asked to submit a portfolio showcasing their talents and achievements, primary school results, CCA records, a personal statement and/or a character reference. Schools may also administer interviews, tests, trials or selection camps.

How many DSA-Sec vacancies are offered by each of the participating schools?

For the 2017 DSA-Sec Exercise, the places available for admission through DSA-Sec for Secondary 1 non-IP intake into Independent Schools is up to 20%, Autonomous Schools is up to 10%, and Schools with Distinctive Programmes is up to 5%. From the 2018 DSA-Sec Exercise onwards, the places available for admission through DSA-Sec for Secondary 1 non-IP intake into all the above schools is up to 20%.

Specialised Independent Schools (viz. NUS High School, School of the Arts, School of Science and Technology) have full discretion in admissions, and take in 100% of their student through the DSA. Schools that offer the Integrated Programme (IP) have full discretion when admitting students to the IP, although a majority of students are admitted via the S1 Posting Exercise. From 2014 to 2016, schools with IP generally admitted an average of 35% of their Secondary 1 IP intake through the DSA-Sec Exercise.

IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE

  • P6 students have a choice of whether or not to participate in the DSA-Sec Exercise. If they choose not to participate in the DSA-Sec Exercise, they will continue to participate in the S1 Posting Exercise after the release of the PSLE results.
  • Students should consider carefully before opting for the DSA schools. Students can only amend or withdraw their submitted school preferences before the end of Exercise School Preference (ESP) stage. Any amendment or withdrawal from the exercise will not be allowed after the ESP stage.
  • Students successfully allocated to their DSA schools will not be allowed to participate in the annual S1 Posting Exercise to opt for secondary schools, and are expected to honour the commitment to the allocated DSA school for the entire duration of the programme. They will also not be allowed to transfer to another school after the release of the PSLE results.
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