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English standard of primary students


Date of sitting: 13 March 2002

Asked by: Dr Hon HO Chung-tai

Replied by: SEM


It has been reported that, as revealed in a research conducted by the Education Department ("ED") on Cross Level Subject Setting, the English proficiency level of two-thirds of the more than 100 Primary Six students from four participating schools was below that set in Primary Two English textbooks, and many of them are newly arrived children. The findings of the research also show that the contents of textbooks used by local primary schools are too difficult for pupils. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the basis on which the ED sets the English curriculum standards at various primary school levels to ensure that students are able to take in the course content;

  2. apart from examinations conducted in schools, of the mechanism in place to test regularly the English proficiency of primary school students at all levels; and

  3. whether it has assessed the differences in English proficiency between the newly arrived children and their fellow classmates; if so, of the details?


Madam President:

  1. The current English Language curriculum for primary schools is prepared by the Curriculum Development Council after extensive consultation, which has taken into consideration the classroom experience of frontline teachers, the professional views of school heads, language specialists and scholars, as well as evidence of students' abilities collected from schools. This is to ensure that the content and level of the curriculum are suitable for students at each key stage. In addition, the Education Department encourages schools to adapt the curriculum and teaching materials to cater for the abilities, interests and needs of their students, and enhance the effectiveness of their learning.

  2. Apart from schools' internal examinations, the Education Department provides a battery of Hong Kong Attainment Tests for schools to assess students' performance in Chinese, English and Mathematics from Primary 1 to Secondary 3 levels before the end of each school year. The Education Department collects samples for analysis and distributes the analysis results to schools to help teachers monitor their students' performance in Chinese, English and Mathematics.

  3. To assist schools in assessing the standard of newly arrived children (NAC) from the Mainland in the subjects of Chinese, English and Mathematics, the Education Department has developed the Language & Mathematics Test (LMT) for secondary and primary schools. The Test helps schools assess the NAC's standard in these three subjects, so as to place them at the appropriate class levels and provide them with suitable learning support. In addition, the Education Department provides the following support services for the NAC:

    (i) Funding non-governmental organisations to run a 60-hour Induction Programme for NAC. The Programme covers personal development, social integration and basic learning skills, etc.;

    (ii) Funding schools ($2,720 for each primary NAC pupil and $4,035 for each secondary NAC student) to provide school-based support services, such as running English tutorial classes and preparing special teaching materials, etc.; and

    (iii) Organising a half-year integrated full-time Initiation Programme which includes English, traditional Chinese characters, computer application, learning skills and social integration. NAC may opt to complete this programme before being placed by the Education Department to suitable primary and secondary schools.

Last revision date: 13 March 2002
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