EDB announces arrangements for Basic Competency Assessment Research Study (with photos)

     The Education Bureau (EDB) today (January 23) issued a circular memorandum to all primary schools in Hong Kong outlining the arrangements for the Basic Competency Assessment Research Study.

     A spokesman for the EDB said that the 2016 Tryout Study (Primary 3) (2016 Tryout Study) garnered support and constructive views from participating schools, parents and sponsoring bodies. The Coordinating Committee on Basic Competency Assessment and Assessment Literacy (the Committee) reviewed the feedback on the 2016 Tryout Study professionally and scrupulously and made forward-looking recommendations.

    The spokesman said, "The Basic Competency Assessment Research Study is not a 'resumption' of the previous Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA), but embodies the professional recommendations put forward by the Committee in its report on the 2016 Tryout Study on December 9 last year, which included four new initiatives for enhancement: improving assessment papers and question design; enhancing school reports; strengthening diversified professional support measures; and including a questionnaire survey on students' learning attitude and motivation. The Research Study will be extended to all primary schools in the territory this year in order to allow more schools to participate and understand the new initiatives. The Committee and the EDB will then receive more comprehensive feedback to continue to review and enhance the arrangements for TSA."

     Based on the feedback and views collected through various channels and the experience of participating schools, the four new initiatives would effectively address public concerns, including removing any incentives for over-drilling caused by TSA; alleviating stakeholders' concerns as far as possible about the issues involved; and deepening mutual trust among schools, parents and various stakeholders to enhance assessment literacy.

     According to the feedback from participating schools and parents under the 2016 Tryout Study, students acquired basic competencies through daily learning without additional or over-drilling for TSA, and parents observed that their children who participated in the TSA felt no pressure. The parents also pointed out the importance of home-school communication and mutual trust in facilitating their understanding of school-based homework and assessment policies, strengthening their partnership with schools, and collaboration with schools in the promotion of students' learning.

     Participating schools' experience showed that through enhanced communication, different stakeholders could grasp the function and value of TSA and have a better understanding of the concept of "assessment for learning". Should schools participating in the Basic Competency Assessment Research Study encounter special circumstances or difficulties, the EDB would look into the matter and provide assistance.

     The spokesman added, "To sum up, the new initiatives under the 2016 Tryout Study reflect the 'low stakes, no drilling' design of TSA and the original purpose of providing feedback on learning and teaching. They put TSA back on the right track as a 'high effectiveness, low stakes' assessment tool which enables students to learn effectively while enjoying learning."

     The EDB also accepted the other recommendations in the Committee's report, including introducing a framework for participation of various stakeholders to promote "assessment for learning" through concerted efforts.

     An initiative was jointly launched today by the Chairman of the Committee on Home-School Co-operation and District Federations of Parent-Teacher Associations to reaffirm the value of making good use of assessment data to provide feedback to learning and teaching; to oppose meaningless, repetitive and mechanical drills; and to make concerted efforts to promote the healthy development of students with their learning needs as the prime consideration.

     The spokesman said that the Basic Competency Assessment Research Study seeks to promote quality education according to the three core values of "students' learning needs", "professionalism" and "mutual trust among stakeholders". It is hoped that the study will receive support from various sectors and gather more comprehensive feedback to benefit students.

Ends/Monday, January 23, 2017
Issued at HKT 13:01