Ed Chief disputes BCA claims Minority of students fail to achieve competency

SOME Primary Six students performed worse at school than in Primary Three.This, according to education chief Kevin
Yeung Yun-hung (楊潤雄), made the Territorywide System Assessment (TSA, 全港性系統評估) a necessity. Yeung was rebutting claims that the TSA – also known as Basic Competency Assessment (BCA, 基本能力評估) whose latest results were announced on Wednesday – was unnecessary. The report tracks students who passed the assessment when they were in Primary Three but found about one-tenth of them failed three years later in Primary Six.
The original TSA was strongly criticized by students who were heavily drilled for the exams. The government has improved the question design and introduced a revamped version, or the BCA, which all primary schools have to take this year.
More than 40,000 students took the TSA in both Primary Three and Primary Six.
The percentage of students who achieved basic competency in both Primary Three and Primary Six in three core subjects – Chinese language, English language and mathematics – were 76.4 percent, 70.2 percent and 81.2 percent respectively.
However, 11.3 percent of students achieved basic competency in Chinese language in Primary Three but failed to meet the standard in Primary Six while 10.3 percent of students achieved basic competency in English language in Primary Three but failed three years later. And 7.1 percent of students achieved the basic competency in maths in Primary Three but not in Primary Six.
Some education veterans said it showed the TSA was not helpful in improving pupils’standards. Yeung replied that the findings would alert schools to make improvements.
“No matter whether it’s BCA or TSA, the aim is always to provide information to the education sector, including the government and schools, on whether our students generally meet the standards,” the education chief said.
Yeung said the assessment itself does not require that students’ performance must be improved.
He said the results are intended to give people the information and understanding of the situation.
“There is a small percentage of students achieving basic competency in Primary Three but not in Primary Six. This gives schools and the Education Bureau (教育局) some basis to consider how education can be improved,” Yeung said.
The education chief said the government will make a decision on what to do with the test after the Coordinating Committee on Basic Competency Assessment and Assessment Literacy (基本能力評估及評估素養統籌委員會) presents its recommendations to the government by the end of next month or early January.

(This article is published on Student Standard on 10 November 2017)