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  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 7:53am


The Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education examination is administered by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority. Most candidates take four core subjects - Chinese and English languages, mathematics and liberal studies - and two or three elective subjects. Results are divided into five levels, with 5 being the highest. A Level 5 with the best performance will be awarded a 5**.

NewsHong Kong

12 stand out from university 'in' crowd with seven 5** grades

Seven boys and five girls in top 1pc of their subjects lead the race for one of 15,000 government-subsidised degree places

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 July, 2014, 6:52pm
UPDATED : Monday, 14 July, 2014, 10:44am

A record 12 high-flying students have stood out from this year's Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination, as the percentage of students meeting the basic requirements for local university admission increased.

The 12 pupils - seven boys and five girls - got seven level 5**, or high distinction, marks. That puts them in the top 1 per cent for their subjects, according to figures released yesterday by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.

There were nine top-scoring students last year and only five in 2012, when the DSE exam was held for the first time. Seven students with different levels of special education needs also scored three or more than three level 5** marks in this year's DSE exam.

Results are graded from levels 1 to 5. The top-scoring students at level 5 receive a 5**. Each level represents a fixed standard of performance.

The top-scoring students were among the 27,943 pupils this year who achieved a score of 3-3-2-2 in the core subjects of English, Chinese, mathematics, and liberal studies. That is the minimum for university entry.

They made up 35.6 per cent of an overall 79,572 secondary school graduates who took the DSE this year. This is 0.6 per cent more than last year, when an overall 82,283 students took the exam and 28,418 of them achieved the minimum university entrance requirements.

Pupils who met the minimum scores will compete for about 15,000 government-subsidised first-year university degree places through the joint admission system.

Tong Chong-sze, secretary general of the authority, said: "Overall, the performance of candidates this year showed steady improvement.

"In some cases, we witnessed some marked improvement, such as in English."

Some 52.8 per cent of students obtained a level 3 or higher in English - 4 per cent more than last year - while slightly more than half, or some 50.7 per cent of students, got a level 3 or higher in Chinese, making it the worst performing core subject this year.

But almost 2 per cent more students achieved two level 3s in both language subjects compared with last year's figures.

Liberal studies is again the best performing core subject, with 87.3 per cent of students scoring a level 2 or higher, outperforming mathematics, at 80.1 per cent, and each of the two languages.

Subjects that saw the most serious deterioration in performance were combined sciences and integrated science. Some 8.5 per cent fewer students got a pass in biology plus physics.

Tong advised those who didn't make the grade not to give up on their further education. "There are always candidates who miss the basic requirements for university," he said. "But there are many different pathways available. They may consider taking an associate degree programme, higher diploma or repeating their studies."

Eight pupils who were found to have plagiarised their work, by copying articles from the internet or other sources for their school projects, had their marks downgraded. One student was disqualified for cheating.

Pupils will receive their examination results at their schools today.


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This article is now closed to comments

What is the significance of this article?
Will the "12 high-flying students" discover a cure for cancer?
What have previous "high-flying students" accomplished?
Emphasis should be placed on students who accomplish something other than doing homework all their lives.
It is atrocious that the local Hong Kong examination system is so rigid and difficult. Compared to the UK A-levels and its slightly tougher counterpart, the IB, the Hong Kong DSE forces many students to take an alternative path to university.
It is a shame to our education system which can only deliver 50% student to pass the Chinese, their mother tongue. What go wrong in the Chinese education has to be seriously looked into? A poor foundation in primary school is probably a major reason and the way to teach Chinese as a foreign language should also be blamed. Nonetheless our education bureaucrat will never admit the shortfall is due to their failure to develop a proper Chinese curriculum. Interestingly when the society is increasingly sceptical towards using Putonghua in teaching Chinese, the DSE result is a clear evidence that use Putonghua in teaching Chinese is not helpful at all.
Education overall needs an overhaul!
liberal studies? what happened to real knowledge like physics, chemistry and biology? no wonder the kids think they can get somewhere just by standing in the street screaming.


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