There is an intense debate whether the recently introduced BCA (Basic Competency Assessments) is good for primary school students. Both the BCA and its predecessor TSA (Territory-wide System Assessment) are aimed at Primary Three students. They test the students’ maths and language skills.
Many parents blamed schools for drilling students for the TSA, which they said put their children under a lot of pressure. Faced by heavy criticism, the Education Bureau scrapped the TSA and brought in the BCA.
But parents were worried that schools would continue to drill students for the BCA, so they asked whether their children could choose whether or not to take the exam. Some people urged the bureau to cancel the test altogether.
Many schools still believe the BCA will be used as an indicator of their ranking so they will continue to prepare students for the test.
However, the “victims” of the assessment are primary school students. They say the test is difficult and stressful. So I would like to ask the bureau: should the BCA be compulsory for all Primary Three students?
Maybe it’s time for the government to have a full review of both the BCA and TSA.
Kenny Wong, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Kenny. Many students have expressed their concerns about various testing methods, TSA, BCA, HKDSE, and so on.
The TSA and BCA help the education department decide whether or not Hong Kong’s education system is working. Scrapping them would mean the department would not be able to gauge whether or not it is “educating” our youngsters. But it is counter-productive for students to be drilled to take the tests, as this would give the department a false result.
Imagine if we could do this more Hunger Games style, with all the students’ names going into a draw the day before the exam? That way, the sample would be completely random. Schools would have no clue as to whether or not their students were going to be tested. Also, there would be no time for any drilling, grilling or stressing.
We could break it down by “districts” and have the draw shown live on TV in each area. All the money generated through adverts could go to the less well-off schools to help them get better facilities.
May the odds be ever in your favour!