26 October 2016
Eddie Ng (inset, left) receives the preliminary recommendations from the committee that reviewed the TSA. Photos: HKEJ, HK govt
Eddie Ng (inset, left) receives the preliminary recommendations from the committee that reviewed the TSA. Photos: HKEJ, HK govt

Shorter version of TSA to be tried out in 50 primary schools

The Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) for Primary 3 students will be held in only one in 10 primary schools this year, Metro Daily reported Friday.

The Education Bureau (EDB) has accepted a recommendation by a committee it set up to review the TSA that only 50 schools be required to conduct it in May.

The committee said the assessment is necessary and should continue to be done, but the difficulty of the questions and the length of reading passages should be reduced.

Based on the results of this year’s trial, it said, the TSA would likely continue to be held next year. 

The EDB said it agreed in principle and accepted the recommendations made by the committee.

It said it will publish in two to three weeks’ time the names of the 50 schools that will be invited to do the assessment.

The committee members felt the TSA could help optimize learning and provide critical data for reference, the EDB said.

Tong Chong-sze, secretary general of the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority, said there is no way to find out the problems existing in schools without the TSA.

He said the authorities will invite, through their schools, at least 3,000 Primary 3 students to take part in this year’s trial assessment, but the schools can decline the invitations.

This year, the number of reading passages in the test of Chinese will be cut down from three to two, and they will be limited to 1,200 characters. The number of questions will also be reduced to 20 from 23.

As recommended by the committee, in the test of English, there will be three sections instead of four. The number of questions in the mathematics test will also be reduced.

No grades will be issued after the assessment this time, and schools will only be told if their students have met the desired academic requirements.

The committee also recommended that the TSA be scrapped as part of the assessment of schools.

Democratic Party legislator Helena Wong Pik-wan criticized the proposed changes as trivial and said the EDB is ignoring appeals from the majority of parents and concern groups to abolish the assessment altogether.

Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim said the TSA results will not be used to assess schools.

Schools will be encouraged to engage in more communication with parents if they are unwilling to let their children sit the TSA, he said.

The Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union hit out at the proposal, calling it a plan without logic, as it talks about resuming the assessment next year even before the trial is done, Apple Daily reported Friday.

The TSA Concern Group also rejected the committee’s report, saying the EDB has no intention to evaluate the TSA.

The group will encourage parents and students to boycott the TSA.

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