Education Bureau announces enhancement measures of Territory-wide System Assessment

     The Education Bureau (EDB) announced today (April 11) the results of the Review on Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) and the related enhancement measures. The Review examined the implementation arrangements, assessment content and reporting functions, etc.

     The TSA provides schools with information on their overall students' performance on basic competencies (BC) at the end of three key learning stages (Primary 3, Primary 6 and Secondary 3). As each student is only required to attempt some of the assessment questions, the TSA does not and cannot assess individual students. The TSA is a low-stakes assessment which serves to enhance learning and teaching, but is not a tool for ranking and selection. The assessment scope of the TSA covers BC, which is only part of the curriculum. BC indicates the minimally acceptable knowledge and skill level at the end of a key stage necessary for learners to progress to the next key stage without extra learning support.

     By making use of the TSA school report data as well as other assessment information in the school, teachers can identify students' learning difficulties and enhance learning and teaching. Timely improvement could therefore be made to avoid learning difficulties being accumulated while a student progresses to the higher class level.

     The EDB spokesman said, "Bearing in mind the concerns expressed by schools on pressure and workload, the EDB has endeavoured to strike a balance with a view to preserving the benefits of the TSA on learning and teaching.

     "Having consulted various stakeholders and examined their views, the EDB decided to launch the following enhancement measures starting from 2014:

* not disclose to individual primary schools the percentage of their students achieving BC in Chinese Language, English Language and Mathematics;
* remove the TSA from the Key Performance Measures for primary schools;
* continue with the alternate-year arrangement for Primary 6 TSA and Pre-Secondary One Hong Kong Attainment Test (Pre-S1 HKAT), i.e. Primary 6 TSA would be conducted in odd years and Pre-S1 HKAT in even years, whereas the implementation mode of Primary 3 and Secondary 3 TSA would remain unchanged; and
* enhance the reporting functions of the TSA by phases and provide a more interactive reporting platform.

     "The EDB and the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority will inform schools of the administrative details of the enhancement measures later."

     The spokesman added, "The decision of not releasing the BC attainment rates to individual primary schools represents virtually the views of the vast majority, whilst balancing the interests of different stakeholders. We believe this measure can help alleviate the excessive drilling practices in schools in the course of relieving the pressure on primary schools' students, teachers and parents.

     "We hope that schools would not treat the TSA data as the only indicator of students' performance or make superficial ranking or comparison within or among schools. Schools should make fuller use of the TSA Item Analysis Reports and other available assessment information in schools to understand the students' strengths and weaknesses in various learning dimensions, thereby improving learning and teaching."

     The EDB expressed gratitude to stakeholders for their valuable views. In future, the EDB will continue to maintain close communication with stakeholders with a hope of optimising the development of the TSA.

Ends/Friday, April 11, 2014
Issued at HKT 14:45