16 July 2019
Members of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union call for the TSA to be abolished. Photo: RTHK
Members of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union call for the TSA to be abolished. Photo: RTHK

Teachers call for TSA to be canned, citing pressure on students

Seventy percent of primary school teachers are calling for the abolishment of the Education Bureau’s Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA), saying it piles unnecessary pressure on students, Apple Daily reported Tuesday.

The report cited a survey conducted by the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union.

The TSA, an exam that tests ability in Chinese, English and mathematics, was introduced in 2004 for Primary 3 and Primary 6 pupils.

Schools can make use of the school-level report to devise suitable curriculum plans and learning and teaching strategies to enhance learning.

The survey was conducted between March and April on 139 primary curriculum development officers and 1,916 primary school teachers.

Teachers said the TSA affects their day-to-day teaching, and about 70 percent of them said additional exercises were arranged to help prepare pupils for the test.

About 70 percent of the teachers surveyed said they had to conduct an average of two hours of additional remedial classes each week for TSA preparation, 34 percent of these classes being taught after school and 26 percent before school.

Virtually all (97 percent) the teachers would ask their Primary 3 and Primary 6 pupils to buy printed exercise sheets, an average of 3.1 exercises each.

Some parents said their children were tired of doing TSA exercises and would complain about the added workload.

Parents of autistic children said their kids couldn’t help crying under the additional pressure.

Ho Mei-yee, spokeswoman for a TSA parent concern group, said the test and the associated training and exercises simply demoralize children.

Cheung Man-sin said her autistic son once asked her: “Do I live for homework?”

The teachers’ union called for the Education Bureau to abolish the TSA from the 2016-17 school year.

A spokesman for the bureau said many schools have agreed to keep the TSA, as the data collected is useful for the school in assessing its performance.

The bureau said school managements should not put unnecessary pressure on teachers and students.

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