Hong Kong exam board sees slight increase in TSA pass rate in 2017 compared to 2016

Hong Kong exam board sees slight increase in TSA pass rate in 2017 compared to 2016

The Territory-wide Systems Assessment still shows need for improvement in key areas of English learning

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Students generally performed well in the reading, writing, and listening section
Photo: Dickson Lee/SCMP

Despite seeing a higher pass rate than last year, the Territory-wide Systems Assessment still shows need for improvement in key areas of English learning, the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority reported.

The examination, which is divided into speaking, reading, writing, and listening portions, recorded a passing rate of 69.7 per cent this year, a slight increase over last year’s 69.6 per cent.


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According to the report released by the HKEAA, students generally performed well in the reading, writing, and listening sections, but said that students still struggled with both the individual and group speaking sections.

In particular, examiners said some students “relied heavily on the given prompts and could not elaborate their ideas” during the individual presentations, while in group presentations “the interaction became stilted ... and this did not allow for the conversation to progress naturally”.


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The examiners praised students’ performance in the reading section, but believe that students found the section difficult “because they saw the information in isolation and had not thought to go beyond what was provided in the task”.

In addition, students encountered trouble in the writing section’s picture-based prompts, as they “lacked the imagination to combine the picture together to form a coherent [narrative]”.

Examiners also noted that the TSA has seen slow but steady improvement in the pass rate since secondary school students started taking it in 2005.

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