Coordinating Committee on Basic Competency Assessment and Assessment Literacy submits report on 2016 Tryout Study (Primary 3)

     The Coordinating Committee on Basic Competency Assessment and Assessment Literacy submitted the report on the review of the arrangements of the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) and the 2016 Tryout Study (Primary 3) today (December 9).

     The review is premised on the core values of "learning needs of students", "professionalism" and "mutual trust among stakeholders" to promote quality education.

     Over the past 14 months, the Committee and its two working groups have conducted 24 meetings, and conducted extensive exchanges with principals and teachers participating in and not participating in the Tryout Study, as well as parents through over 40 focus groups, seminars and meetings to listen to different views in conducting a comprehensive and professional review of the TSA.

     The feedback and views collected by the Committee from different channels indicate that the four major new initiatives under the Tryout Study - improving the assessment papers and question design, enhancing school reports, strengthening professional support measures and including a questionnaire survey on students' learning attitude and motivation - coupled with communication with various stakeholders can effectively address several concerns, including eliminating the incentives for over-drilling induced by the TSA, alleviating stakeholders' concerns about the stakes involved, allowing the TSA to return to the "low-stakes, no drilling" design and serving the function of promoting learning and teaching.

     The report points out that the improved assessment papers and question design has eliminated the incentives for over-drilling induced by the TSA. The Committee continues to be mindful of the over-drilling culture and the problem of over-drilling induced by other factors. Therefore, the Committee recommends that communication with the education sector should continue with a view to dealing with the situation of over-drilling, emphasising that the quality of homework is more important than its quantity and restating the importance of whole-person development.

     In addition, the report recommends that the Education Bureau (EDB) should continue to organise public education activities and provide training for teaching staff at different stages to enhance assessment literacy of various sectors, and should strengthen internal communication and provide clear guidelines on the use of TSA data. In addition, the report emphasises the importance of various stakeholders in their various roles in promoting quality education, therefore recommending the roles of participation of various stakeholders. It is expected that through concerted efforts of all sectors, strength could be gathered to serve the function of "assessment for learning" for the benefit of students.

     The Committee recommends that the EDB should continue to strengthen the provision of diversified support measures on "assessment for learning" and enhancement of assessment literacy, such as providing more online teaching materials to cater for different learning needs, continuing to commission an independent organisation to conduct the questionnaire survey on non-academic data and expand the sample size in order to enhance the reference value of data and information collected, and further explore the use of questionnaire surveys to understand the views of schools and parents on homework arrangements and pressure.

     Based on the favourable and positive feedback on the Tryout Study, the Committee considers that the new initiatives under the Tryout Study should be promoted to all primary schools, with a view to gathering more comprehensive feedback and continuously reviewing and enhancing the arrangements of the TSA and related support measures.

     An EDB spokesman said, "The EDB appreciates the efforts of all members of the Committee and its two working groups, who have conducted the review from a professional perspective and put forward views and recommendations. The EDB will study in detail the contents of the report and continue to listen to different views. The arrangements for the TSA will be announced as soon as possible."

     To address public concerns, the Committee commenced a comprehensive review of the TSA at the end of October 2015. In February this year, the Committee submitted the review report, which reaffirmed the intent and value of the establishment of TSA and recognised the functional use of TSA data to provide feedback on learning and teaching. The Committee also recommended the Tryout Study with the primary objective of validating whether the revamped papers and item design would tie in with the curriculum and student learning, introducing different reporting formats to meet the needs of individual schools, enhancing the provision of professional support measures for schools, and more.

     The report of the Tryout Study has been uploaded to the EDB website:

Ends/Friday, December 9, 2016
Issued at HKT 17:10