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NewsHong Kong

Secondary pupils do poorly in DSE English exam: report

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 November, 2013, 4:29am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 November, 2013, 11:33am

E-mail writing, spelling, pronunciation and vocabulary were among the most challenging areas for candidates in this year's Diploma of Secondary Education English examination.

Only 48.5 per cent of pupils met the university entrance requirement in this subject, the lowest rate among all subjects, an official report stated.

Candidates performed worst in a task requiring them to write an e-mail to a potential advertiser requesting changes to a submitted advertisement, according to the report, which was published yesterday by the Examinations and Assessment Authority.

Pupils sometimes struggled to combine information from different sources, such as editorial notes on the advertisement and policies reported in meeting records, the report said.

"Also, the advertisers should be include the business address and phone number in the advertisement" was an example cited in the report, in which the candidate failed to address the advertiser directly.

Spelling errors such as "chok" - a popular term among young Hongkongers meaning forcing oneself to look handsome - or "choke" for "chalk", "blockbroad" for "blackboard", and "frist" for "first" were common among the pupils.

In oral exams, examiners complained about candidates failing to understand key words or ideas. Some pupils talked about fried noodles and milk tea in a group discussion when the topic was about strange food, while other pupils said "I agree with you" despite errors.

Common pronunciation errors included pronouncing "robot" as "Robert" or "rabbit", "snack" as "snake", "healthy" as "heavy", and "pressure" as "pleasure", the report revealed.



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An “English as a Second language” for DSE?
Students of standards illustrated in the examples
have no need for English in social communication
Using their mother tongue to focus on substance and not the medium
should help their specialization in various fields
where practical need drives communication skills
Foreign visitors, whether scholars or cleaners, have no right
to expect service in “good” English from HK cab drivers, waiters, …
just like Turkish visitors can’t expect Turkish service in Boston
There have been attempts
to make English an international language
by fiat and self-serving propaganda
to reap ridiculous privileges, such as, ごめんごめん
Japanese scholars apologize to dropouts of American hi schools
for not being able to speak English like a native speaker
No pedigree language can be international
A language must hybridize to become global
While I should like to speak French like a native Parisian
I’d gesture and feel no shame
if maitre d' can’t understand my
où est la salle de bain
"Using their mother tongue to focus on substance and not the medium
should help their specialization in various fields
where practical need drives communication skills"
What like
mgoi one char sui fan
to go lah?
would you like su tiu with that?
Your world of imagination
colorfully populated by the chimeras of objective reality
maybe doesn't require literacy
in any language (try as you do)
Here in the perimeter
we is stoned, immaculate
When you wake from the dream
and see your countrymen...er...citypeople
toiling in minimum wage jobs
to serve the dailohs on Kadoorie Avenue
and Plantation Road
and Shek O Road
and Island Road
waiting hand and foot on 阿燦 as they
flash their UnionPay cards and guady clothes
while your people cram into cage homes
in To Kwa Wan if they're lucky
Then will you drop the admittedly entertaining English version of the King of Kowloon's graffiti style of writing and come to terms with the economic disadvantage of growing up without the benefit of learning either English or Putonghua well?
you won't,
will you
If the education policy emphasized teaching over assessment, we might see a different outcome.


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