Bar reset for primary-school learning

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 February, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 February, 2005, 12:00am

The Education Commission working group has developed a new means of moderating the varying standards of primary schools to replace the defunct Academic Aptitude Test.

It has proposed using the performance of students in the Pre-Secondary One Attainment Test taken in secondary schools to adjust the scores of individual primary students.

But to minimise the pressure that this would put on Primary Six students, the results of the students who left the same primary school in the previous year will be used.

This would be done to prevent a return to cramming, as primary schools would be less likely to drill their students because they would have left the school when they took the attainment test.

To further deter primary schools from drilling their students, the Education and Manpower Bureau will take samples of schools' results only once every other year.

Michael Tien Puk-sun, chairman of the working group who also chairs the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research, said this approach would counter the tendency among primary schools to seek to boost their reputations through exam results.

Studies had shown that it would not be necessary to sample the schools' results every year because students' performances did not fluctuate greatly across years, he said.

The percentage of students allocated through discretionary places - rather than the central allocation mechanism - will be increased from the current 20 per cent to 30 per cent.

The working group was tasked with finding a fairer way to allocate secondary school places following the abolition of the Academic Aptitude Test in 1999 and guidelines for determining which schools could teach in English.

Under the interim arrangement now in force, students are allocated places according to their test results, which are moderated according to their schools' average score in the final three years of the Academic Aptitude Test.