Primary six pupils will suffer fewer testing times
Primary Six pupils will take only one public test instead of two in the coming three years as the Education Bureau tries to ease the pressure on them.
Depending on the year, they will sit either the Territory-Wide System Assessment (TSA) or the Hong Kong Attainment Test (HKAT), but not both, as at present.
The TSA will be suspended next year and in 2014, while the HKAT will be suspended in 2013.
'Under this new arrangement, P6 students will only have to take part in one of the public assessments in the coming three years,' Secretary for Education Michael Suen Ming-yeung said.
'This has the merit of relieving students immediately from the pressure of facing frequent examinations while the stability of the education system will be maintained.'
A government official said it was too soon to say what would happen with the exams after the three years.
The bureau would review the two tests and examine areas for improvement.
The outcome of the two tests does not directly affect pupils' schooling.
The TSA examines their level of English, Chinese and maths, and the result is used to give schools internal feedback on the effectiveness of their teaching.
The results of the HKAT, meanwhile, are used by secondary schools to gauge the pupils' ability in Chinese, English and maths when they enter Form One.
The Education Bureau said the decision was made after a review last year by a working group comprising representatives from the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority, school councils of primary and secondary schools and front-line teachers.
The group suggested the arrangements in a bid to ease the pressure on pupils and teachers.
The test results do not affect a pupil's academic record or their choice of schools.
But many schools complained that the assessments forced them to drill Primary Six children as the TSA results were used to modify the academic ranking of the subsequent year's graduates when applying for secondary school places.
Subsidised Primary Schools Council chairman Cheung Yung-bong said schools hailed the changes.
'In order to prepare students for these assessments, teachers and students have to sacrifice much valuable time that could be used on other things, such as extracurricular activities.'