Extra funds sought for preschool pilot scheme

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2007, 12:00am

An education expert is applying for extra funding to expand coverage of a pilot scheme to assess the performance of kindergarten pupils.

Margaret Wong Ngai-chun, director of early childhood and special education programmes at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, announced yesterday that HKIEd was applying to the Quality Education Fund to cover another 100 preschools over two years, starting next September. The scheme, based on the Education Bureau's learning performance indicators, had been tested in 15 preschools over the past two years at a cost of HK$1.6 million, she said.

Professor Wong said kindergartens that joined the voucher scheme were required to undergo a quality review in five years' time. 'Quality of kindergartens will be assessed to see if they are up to the standard in order to be eligible for the next round.'

However, many preschools were finding it difficult to put abstract performance indicators into practice without knowing how they assessed pupils' learning development.

'So we've translated them into a set of practical approaches,' Professor Wong said.

She explained by way of example that in measuring a child's science learning progress, students were asked to observe and describe the characteristics of sugar cubes.

Teachers observed pupils' performance and then assessed their approaches at three levels.

Level one children tended to just 'notice' the characteristics of sugar; whereas at level two they were able to use a simple method to 'discover' characteristics such as taste.

At the third level, pupils were capable of using a systematic plan to discuss the more complicated characteristics of sugar.

In developing a curriculum and preparing learning activities, teachers were asked to observe students' reactions and record them, replacing the traditional report card system.