Asked by : Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Replied by : SEM
Under the existing Secondary School Places Allocation System, written tests are not allowed in the allocation of Secondary 1 ("S1") discretionary places. However, it has been reported that the Subsidized Secondary Schools Council encourages its member schools to consider the applicants' scores in open examinations such as the Cambridge Young Learners' English Tests. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:
Given the above rationale, in reforming the SSPA system, apart from abolishing the Academic Aptitude Test, the Government has also increased the percentage of DP from 10% to 20%, and required secondary schools to formulate admission procedures, criteria and weightings which are fair, just, open and educationally sound. These procedures, criteria and weightings must have the prior endorsement of the School Management Committees. For the purpose of selecting students, secondary schools may arrange interviews. However, written tests are not allowed, in order to forestall high-stake examination which would result in students being drilled for S1 admission and which would in turn hamper their learning experience. The use of any assessments which are similar in nature to written tests for selecting students for S1 admission may give rise to similar adverse effects, and is thus also against the spirit of the education reform.
The Education Department (ED) has provided schools with a set of "Points to Note for Schools in Handling Applications for Discretionary Places" for reference in late 2000. The document stressed that in assessing applicants, secondary schools should not require students to sit for any public examinations. Instead, they should as far as possible require students to provide readily available information which can reflect students' performance at schools and their abilities in different aspects.
In case a school is found to have violated the above principles in the admission process, the ED will provide appropriate advice or directive to the school. The ED has been given to understand that information on applicants' English proficiency required by member-schools of the Association of English Medium Secondary Schools includes internal assessments and school-work. Results of international English tests are not obligatory information that applicants must submit. If students take international English tests on a voluntary basis, and schools have not specified the results of such tests as a prerequisite for admission, the Education Department cannot take any action to forbid this.