CHINESE middle schools, which used to get good results in the Higher Level (H-level) Examination, failed to emerge as the cream of the crop in this year's Advanced Level (A-level) Examination. The schools said it was because of the lack of good Chinese textbooks and reference material and their inexperience in teaching the ''new'' exam. Due to the abolishment of the Higher Level Examination, students at Chinese schools had to take the Advanced Level Examination. But they were given the choice of a Chinese-version exam. Since the schools had no experience in handling the examination, their students were unable to make the top performance list this year. Clementi Middle School, which did extremely well in last year's H-level exam with a pass rate of 91.4 per cent and produced 6As scorers, had its best arts student scoring one B and one D and a science student with three Cs in this year's A-level exam. Principal Ma Chi-sau was very disappointed by the results. He expects the situation to be no better next year. ''Most of our good students, who were worried about the unfamiliar A-level exam, got into Chinese University with their HKCEE results, leaving the weaker students to take the A-level exam,'' he said. ''Both teachers and students were anxious and lacked confidence because they were used to the H-level exam.'' Mr Ma said his students, who took the English Language (Syllabus A) in HKCEE, were less competitive than the students from English schools as they had a lower English standard. Mr Tsang Yok-sing, the principal of Pui Kiu Middle School, said arts students, who took the Chinese version A-level exam, had poor results. He said science students, who took the English-version exam, did better than arts students because ''science subjects such as Mathematics have less of a language barrier''. The pass rate for arts students was over 40 per cent while the pass rate for science students was over 70 per cent. Mr Tsang, who is also the chairman of the Association of Hongkong Chinese Middle School, urged publishers to produce more Chinese-version A-level books. ''It took our teachers a lot of time and effort to translate the English books into Chinese, and the past exam papers we had were in English,'' he said. Mr Tsang hopes the situation will improve when the Government comes up with the first set of Chinese A-level textbooks in September. The H-level exam, easier than the A-level exam, was tailored for Chinese middle school students. The exam used to offer admission to Chinese University. But the number of the candidates has been falling steadily since the university introduced in 1985 the Provisional Acceptance Scheme which allows A-level students to apply for admission. Last year saw the last batch of H-level candidates and a Chinese version of the A-level exam was introduced for the Chinese middle school students.