Educators and parents have different opinions about the new exam brought in to replace the controversial Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) for Primary Three students. Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim said on Monday that all Primary Three students will take part in the basic competency assessment (BCA) research study. He insisted the BCA is not a “resumption of the previous TSA”, and said it is based on professional recommendations from a government committee.
He explained that the trial, which was conducted at just 56 schools last year in place of the usual citywide TSA, featured simpler and shorter exam papers, thus eliminating the issue of overdrilling.
Jenny Chan Yuen-han, the bureau’s principal assistant secretary, said that the bureau will not use the results to rate schools’ performance.
PLK HKTA Yuen Yuen Primary School took part in the trial run last year. Principal Alex Cheung told Young Post that the assessment gave them useful feedback.
“The results of a unified testing system can provide us with accurate figures and feedback, which helps us understand our students’ strengths and weaknesses in key subjects – Chinese, English and maths – and determine how we can improve teaching strategies and learning progress,” he said.
However, a primary school English teacher, who asked not to be named, told Young Post that she did not agree with extending the trial to all primary schools this year. “In the past, one TSA lesson was assigned to allow all students to understand the format of the test,” she said. “If we have to take part in the BCA, it will increase our workload. That additional lesson will come back and we will have to teach the test details again.
“The bureau needs to understand that it’s still a test and schools need to prepare for it. Otherwise, if students perform badly, they’ll have additional work such as after-school tutorials again.”