English A-levels up for second successive year after 3 declines

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 June, 2009, 12:00am

Students did better on the English A-level exams this year, with just over 76 per cent receiving a pass mark or above. Three students scored six A grades across the board.

According to figures released yesterday by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority, 76.3 per cent of the 29,332 day school students who took the use of English exam attained the E grade or above. Last year, the rate was 74.4 per cent.

Despite the increase, the figure was still lower than the 79.6 per cent recorded in 2004, after which the pass rate dropped for three years.

Three students, two girls and one boy, scored six As. Seven students with special needs also scored exceptionally well, with one girl achieving the top grade in three subjects and the other six scoring two As each. A total of 4,268 A grades were awarded, down by 133 over last year.

'Even regular students have to work hard in order to get top grades. The seven students with special education needs have put in a lot more perseverance and effort than others,' said Francis Cheung Wing-ming, secretary general of the authority.

Four students were found cheating however - the first time since 2005. 'Candidates are different every year and hence they all behave differently during examinations. We can't compare this year's situation with last year,' Dr Cheung said. 'We do work hard together to ensure an honest and fair examination trend and this is set to continue.'

Cheung Man-kwong, the legislator for the education sector and president of the Professional Teachers' Union, expressed disappointment over the cheating. He said he feared that technological advancements were posing challenges for examination monitoring.

'There are so many IT gadgets that many examiners have never seen before,' he said, adding that those who broke the exam rules had to be punished to set an example for others.

The number of students who have obtained the minimum qualification for university is 17,744, up by 174 over last year. However, 3,244 students will have to seek out a different path as there are only 14,500 government-funded undergraduate places available.

Results will be sent out today for the 38,647 candidates - including 8,859 private candidates and 9,711 repeaters - via post, over the Web or through text messaging.

Schools have said they will adopt crowd management techniques in light of the threat posed by the spread of swine flu. Schools that were closed would follow special handling measures according to the Education Bureau.

Passing grade

Facts from 2009 A-Level examinations

3 students got six As

12 students got five As

51 students got four As

161 students granted special exam arrangement, and one girl got 3As