Local students performed well in an international assessment test to train their skills in problem-solving, reasoning, critical thinking and communicating. At the 8th prize presentation ceremony of the International Assessments for School 2000, students received awards in English, mathematics and science. The number of participants in Hong Kong this year was a record 33,500. Professor Jim Tognolini, director of the Educational Testing Centre of the University of New South Wales, said: 'An analysis shows that students from Hong Kong have again performed well in the assessment this year. 'In English, students in the younger years had average scores considerably higher than those of their international counterparts. 'In mathematics and science, in the younger age groups, those who sat the papers in Chinese performed slightly better than those who sat in English. And the situation in the older age groups was reversed,' he said. More than 30 countries took part in the test, including Denmark, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India. Students are provided with detailed reports showing their potential weakness and identifying areas of strength. Marc Dennis Rivera Esteban, 12, won two subject awards in English and science. The Year Seven student at Sear Rogers International School said he loved to take tests. 'I love challenges,' he said. 'It's a way to test my capabilities. Among all subjects, I love science the most.' Wong Lui-kwan of Ying Wa College won a subject award in science. The 14-year-old said his interest in science developed when he was young. 'Science is very much relevant to our daily lives,' he said. 'When I was young, I would ask such questions as why there is light from a bulb and how a recorder plays music.' Ngan Kin-san of Po Leung Kuk No 1 W H Cheung College also won a subject award in science. The 14-year-old said he never thought his standard would be compared with his counterparts in other countries. 'The assessment is meaningful because we can compare ourselves with students of the same age group in other countries,' he said.