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International study shows Hong Kong students improving by leaps and bounds in reading literacy

    The Education Bureau (EDB) today (November 29) welcomed the finding of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2006 that Hong Kong students ranked second among 45 participating jurisdictions, just one point less than their peers in Russia who came first in the study.

     "We are pleased to know that the performance of Hong Kong Primary Four (P4) students has improved by leaps and bounds, up from 14th place in PIRLS 2001. This is great encouragement to teachers, principals and other education professionals within and outside the EDB who have been making unrelenting efforts in implementing the education and curriculum reforms in the past few years," an EDB spokesman said.  

     "The success should be attributed to the efforts made by schools and teachers. They have taken up the new Chinese language curriculum, used quality assessment data, and engaged in targeted professional development. All education professionals know the importance of reading for better learning.

     "A greater percentage of our students have reached the high and advanced levels of the international benchmark. In particular, the number of those reaching the advanced level has increased three-fold from 5% in PIRLS 2001 to 15% in PIRLS 2006," he added.

     Hong Kong students did particularly well in reading for informational purposes, scoring the highest among all 45 participating countries/regions. They also performed the best among the participating countries/regions in the high level reading comprehension processes, which means they are very good at interpreting, integrating and evaluating.

     "As compared to PIRLS 2001, there has been a significant increase in the percentages of schools having informal initiatives to encourage students to read and conducting formal instruction of reading. There was also a comparatively wider range of reading materials used in reading lessons," the spokesman said.

     "Students' reading habits have improved in the past years.  There was a significant increase in the time students spent on reading and in the frequency of their borrowing books from the library. Their reading attitude has shown positive changes and reading self-concept has improved significantly.

     "Parents' efforts have played an important role too. In the past five years, there was an increase in parents engaging their children in reading activities such as telling stories and visiting the library.  There was also improvement in home educational resources, such as the increasing number of books at home. All these helped to provide a favourable reading environment for our students."

     The spokesman stressed that the bureau would continue to work closely with schools, parents, tertiary institutions and the community to sustain the good performance of the students and would consider ways to further promote and support reading.

     Background information and key statistics of PIRLS 2006 are at the annex.

Ends/Thursday, November 29, 2007
Issued at HKT 12:45


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