HK students score well on maths

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 March, 2010, 12:00am

Students in Hong Kong did better at getting the right answers than showing how they reached a solution in the latest World Class Tests for Maths and Problem Solving, researchers say.

In the maths test for students aged eight to 11, the average score for getting the right answer in algebra questions was 67 but for demonstrating the calculation process it was just 42, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology team found.

In the maths paper for students aged 12 to 14, the average score in data-handling questions was 59 for getting the right answer but only 43 for showing the calculation process, while in spatial-ability questions it was 62 and 48 respectively.

The results of 1,678 Hong Kong students aged seven to 14 who took the World Class Tests in November last year also showed that students did better as they got older.

Tony Lam Wai-leung, director of the World Class Tests Asia Centre, said: 'It may be because Hong Kong students are used to doing multiple choice questions in which they find the answer by elimination.'

Dr Edmund Chan Yik-man, who co-led the study, said: 'Instead of giving students 100 questions to complete, it may be better to give students 10 questions and ask them to spell out how they reach their answer.'

A comparative figure for the global average across the 25 countries and regions where the test is taken was not available, the researchers said.

Mannix Chan, eight, who took the tests when he was seven, picked up titles for most outstanding candidate for Primary Three in both papers, and for youngest outstanding candidate.

Mannix, who attends St Margaret's Co-educational English Secondary and Primary School, said he liked numbers and doing calculations best. 'After calculating things, your mind will be very relaxed,' he said.