Only half of the candidates for teaching posts passed the writing and speaking portions of this year’s English language proficiency examination, the Hong Kong Examination and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) said in a report published on Wednesday.
Still, this year’s performance, with 53 percent of the examinees passing the writing test, was better than last year’s 45 percent.
In its report, the HKEAA noted that many candidates did not follow instructions. For example, candidates were asked to write a short article for a school website about a summer homestay in Korea or Japan and discuss at least one positive cultural influence of the program.
“Some candidates appeared to misunderstand the task and the purpose of the website article. Instead of responding to the positive cultural influence, they discussed positive and negative influences,” the report said. Some candidates only wrote about negative influences, which was not required according to the instruction.
Also, “there were some incorrect colloquial phrases like ‘the Korean wind’ (instead of ‘wave’) and overuse of clichés such as ‘every coin has two sides’,” the report said.
There were also many instances of wrong spelling such as “Independent Day” for Independence Day.
Omission of articles and pronouns and other lapses were also noted: “Can you hear [me]?”, “I think you know how to do [it]“, “Why [do] you think this one is better?”, and “How much [do] you understand?”
For the speech test, many of the examinees were unable to establish or maintain “a professionally vibrant exchange”, the report said. The flow of conversation was obstructed by the use of phrases such as “I agree” without any follow-up, engagement or extension.
The HKEAA advised candidates to read regularly, especially fiction which allows the reader to “hear” English in the dialogues of the characters.
Meanwhile, 57.2 percent of the 2,306 candidates who took the Putonghua exam passed, down from last year’s 59.1 percent, a separate HKEAA report said.
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