Principals and teachers from six of the 50 Hong Kong public primary schools that trialled a revised version of the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) last year have urged parents to give the new test a chance.
The TSA is an examination used by schools to gauge the competencies of Primary Three pupils in subjects such as Chinese, English and maths. The test has long been criticised by people for causing students undue stress.
Speaking at a sharing session on Tuesday, the educators said, despite sending invitations to all the lawmakers, they were disappointed only four members from the Legislative Council had decided to attend the event or sent assistants in lieu of appearing themselves.
Fifty primary schools took part in a trial run of the revised test last year. It reduced the amount of questions pupils would have to answer, and made it easier too.
Some 500 primary schools will take part in the official test, called the Basic Competency Assessment (BCA) research study, this week.
Hung Wai-shing, the principal of SKH Tin Shui Wai Ling Oi Primary School and a member of a committee tasked by the government to review the TSA exam, said the revised test had massively reduced drilling in schools.
He said parents had identified about 30 schools in total suspected of drilling for this year’s test, which represented only “a minority”.
Hung said the test would provide schools with vital statistics about how students performed in each subject, which would help them to identify weaknesses and improve on teaching.
“If we suspend the exam, we will lose important and objective data that will help schools improve themselves,” Hung said.
He added that the government wouldn’t disclose the results of individuals in the test, nor would it reveal how one school performs against others in the city.
Education sector legislator Ip Kin-yuen said schools should be allowed to decide whether or not they want to take part in the BCA.
“This assessment has been designed in a way that can easily lead to comparisons between schools. Drilling for this official test is common, even though the Education Bureau doesn’t want that,” said Ip.