Controversial primary test stays this year

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 February, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 February, 2000, 12:00am

The widely criticised test sat by all primary schoolchildren will not be scrapped until next year, it has emerged.

The 22-year-old aptitude academic test would go ahead in December as usual, a government source said.

The source said officials had taken into account the fact thousands of Primary Five pupils had been preparing for the test, which decides which secondary school they would go to.

The Education Commission has proposed scrapping the test, saying it puts too much pressure on children. It gave no timetable and said the date would depend on finding a replacement.

Secretary for Education and Manpower Joseph Wong Wing-ping had said the administration would study whether it was feasible to scrap the test this year.

But the source said: 'It will be too hasty to drop the test this year . . . as many students have already made a lot of effort to prepare for it.' He said that after the aptitude test was scrapped, a temporary mechanism for the allocation of Primary Six pupils to secondary schools would be introduced until officials came up with a better method.

Students would be assessed on the basis of their school's average results in the test between 1998 and 2000.

Students now in Primary Five will be first to benefit.

The Education Commission is also proposing primary school principals be allowed to decide the admission of only 15 per cent - instead of the current 60 per cent - of its pupils.

The remainder would be decided by the Government, according to where the students live.

The commission has suggested the banding system, under which schools are ranked according to their pupils' ability, be decided by tests of randomly chosen children at each school.

The results would be kept secret to avoid pressure on students and poor-performing schools would be given money to improve.

The commission is expected to finalise a set of proposals in June on its third round of consultation on the reform of the education system.