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[Archive] Chapter 3 Major Findings: Subjects


In the course of QA inspection, assessment of the quality of the learning and teaching of individual subjects was made. Figure 33 shows the number of schools covered for the subjects inspected at both primary and secondary levels in the 2000/2001 academic year:

Figure 33:

Subjects
Number of schools covered
Primary
Secondary
Total
Chinese Language
30
17
47
Putonghua
20
13
33
English
30
17
47
Mathematics
>-
12
12
Physics
-
14
14
Chemistry
-
13
13
Biology
-
14
14
Science
-
17
17
General Studies
30
-
30
Computer
-
15
15
Chinese History
>-
7
7
History
-
12
12
Economic and Public Affairs
-
7
7
Economics
-
10
10
Geography
-
8
8
Art and Craft / Art and Design
30
13
43
Home Economics
-
6
6
Music
29
17
46
Physical Education
30
17
47
Business-related Subjects
-
12
12
Technology-related Subjects
-
13
13

 

Findings pertaining to the effectiveness of the learning and teaching of individual subjects at the primary and secondary levels of the schools inspected in 2000/01 are presented in the following sections.2

The subjects inspected in the primary schools are reported first, followed by those in the secondary schools. 3
--------------------------------
As only three special schools were inspected in 2000/2001 and in view of the very different nature of the three special schools, no attempt has been made to present the findings with respect to the performance of individual subjects in these special schools.
3Since the number of schools covered was two or less for the subjects of Engineering Science, Social Studies and Travel & Tourism, it would be misleading to infer the general quality of learning and teaching of these subjects from the inspection findings. Hence, no attempt has been made to present the findings pertaining to the effectiveness of learning and teaching of these subjects.

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Primary Schools


3.1 Chinese Language

General Comments
  • In the schools inspected, pupils' performance in the Hong Kong Attainment Test over the past three years was generally up to the territory average.
  • Pupils actively took part in extra-curricular activities and various types of external competitions, including recitation contests, extensive reading competitions, Chinese calligraphy competitions, essay-writing contests, etc.
  • Pupils' performance in reading, listening and speaking were considered good, with obvious differences observed in their writing skills which were comparatively weak.

 

Key Strengths
  • In most of the schools inspected, co-ordination of work within the subject department was systematically maintained. Most schools provided specific guidelines such as Guidance Notes on Chinese language teaching or handbook for teachers' reference, which were conducive to the development of the subject. Some schools promoted peer lesson observation and collaborative lesson preparation for enhancing the quality of learning and teaching.
  • Schools had drawn up detailed teaching programmes with key teaching points clearly spelt out. Some schools actively promoted the Chinese Extensive Reading Scheme and various language teaching programmes, such as "Effective Teaching of Chinese Characters" and "Whole Language Writing Project".;
  • Various kinds of extra-curricular activities, e.g. recitation contests, extensive reading competitions, Chinese calligraphy contests, etc., were organised by most of the schools, to complement their formal curriculum and to promote pupils' interest in the subject.
  • Most of the teachers were conscientious in teaching. Lessons were well-prepared and delivered clearly and systematically. They were also good at maintaining class order. Some teachers could make use of multi-media teaching materials or teaching aids to enhance teaching effectiveness. Some teachers provided pupils with adequate interactive learning opportunities through organisation of a wide variety of learning activities. The learning atmosphere was good and teacher-pupil relationship was harmonious.
  • Pupils were attentive and class order was good. They were interested in learning, and willing to participate in class learning activities. They were conscientious in completing assignments. On the whole, their reading, listening and speaking skills were considered good.
  • Most of the schools had put in place clear assessment policies for the effective assessment of pupils' language abilities. There was variety in the homework designed so as to help pupils consolidate what they had learned.
  • Most of the teachers were conscientious in marking pupils' assignments and were able to follow up on their corrections. Some teachers gave appropriate awards and feedback to pupils to reinforce their good performance.
Areas for Improvement
  • The items discussed at panel meetings were often limited to routine matters and there was no in-depth review on subject teaching and learning performance of pupils.
  • Most of the curriculum and teaching materials were primarily textbook-oriented. Schools seldom adapted the materials to suit pupils' abilities and needs.
  • The questions raised by teachers were rather straightforward and could not effectively help develop pupils' abilities in comprehension, generalisation and analysis.
  • Pupils' writing skills were found to be weak. Teachers needed to devise writing tasks to help pupils improve their abilities to write precisely in accordance with the given topics and to organise the paragraphs coherently.
  • Most of the schools failed to utilise the assessment information to provide a basis for revising the curriculum and teaching programme, as well as improving their teaching strategies.
  • On remedial teaching, most teachers could not adapt teaching materials and strategies so as to provide appropriate guidance to address pupils' weaknesses in the learning of the subject.

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3.2 Putonghua

General Comments
  • Schools attached importance to the professional development of teachers and the majority of teachers were trained in both Putonghua teaching methodology and Putonghua proficiency. Most teachers spoke fluent Putonghua but only 20% of them could speak accurately with a natural tone.
  • Pupils' performance in learning was good. They had good listening skills. As regards oral skills, most pupils were good at recitation.
Key Strengths
  • Schools had worked out programme plans for the subject. The agenda of subject panel meetings covered not only the routine matters, but also pupils' learning.
  • Most schools had organised a variety of extra-curricular activities and interest groups in Putonghua to promote pupils' interest in learning. More than half of the schools inspected had encouraged pupils to take part in the Schools Speech Festival.
  • Teachers were amiable and conscientious in teaching. Teaching objectives were explicit and lessons were well organised and presented systematically. Teachers could aptly make use of teaching aids to facilitate teaching. Simple, clear and appropriate classroom language was used to ask questions, give presentations and instructions. Individual teachers attempted to use computer software to facilitate pupils in their pronunciation practices.
  • Pupils were attentive in learning and responsive to teachers' questions. They were willing to follow teachers' instructions and were able to complete various assignments conscientiously. Junior primary pupils were rather good at imitative reading and were able to give simple responses in Putonghua in class. Their learning attitude was positive.
  • The frequency and coverage of assessment in most schools were appropriate. The marks in written and oral tests were duly weighted. In marking assignments, most teachers were able to point out pupils' mistakes and asked them to make corrections. Individual schools even required pupils to hand in recording practices in recitation for evaluation of pupils' speaking skills.
  • Schools made good use of the subject grant for Putonghua to purchase teaching references and educational software. Catalogues of these materials were compiled in most schools for teachers' easy reference and access.
Areas for Improvement
  • Although schools had attempted to tailor teaching materials, no specific requirements of Putonghua proficiency had been set out with consideration to pupils' learning needs, interests and abilities.

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3.3 English Language

General Comments
  • In about half of the schools inspected, pupils' performance in the Hong Kong Attainment Test in the past three years was of average standard.
  • Pupils were encouraged to participate actively in the Hong Kong Schools Speech Festival and some of them were awarded prizes or certificates of merit and proficiency for their commendable efforts.
  • Pupils' speaking and writing skills were weak in comparison with their other language skills.
Key Strengths
  • In most of the schools inspected, the subject panel was properly organised and co-ordination within the panel systematically maintained. Comprehensive guidelines by the panels on various aspects of the teaching of the subject were provided for teachers' easy reference.
  • In about half of the schools inspected, peer lesson observation and collaborative lesson preparation served as the means to promote professional exchanges and co-operation among teachers so as to upgrade the quality of learning and teaching.
  • There was a growing awareness among schools to integrate the teaching of phonics into the curriculum to help solve pupils' difficulty in reading and pronunciation.
  • English extensive reading schemes were widely implemented to develop pupils' reading habits. Reading activities such as shared reading, storytelling competitions, etc., were carried out to promote pupils' interest in reading and to help them acquire the reading skills.
  • In most of the schools inspected, a wide range of subject-related extra-curricular activities was organised to complement the formal curriculum and to arouse pupils' interest in learning the language.
  • Teachers showed a positive attitude towards teaching. Most of the lessons observed were well prepared with systematic teaching steps. Teachers' explanations and instructions were clear. Teaching aids were utilised to facilitate pupil learning. Classroom management was good. Most of the teachers had designed various learning activities such as role-play, games, discussion, etc., to stimulate pupils to learn. Teacher-pupil relationship was good and the learning atmosphere was generally harmonious.
  • Most pupils were attentive and disciplined in class. They were willing to take part in the learning activities. The overall performance of pupils in assignments was satisfactory. Some of them produced work of good quality and their handwriting was neat and tidy.
  • Schools had formulated a clear homework policy. The frequency and quantity of assignments were appropriate. Pupils' assignments were conscientiously marked and corrections of pupils' work well monitored. Some teachers gave encouraging feedback to reinforce their pupils' good performance.
  • Formative and summative assessments were appropriately used to assess pupils' performance in learning. Assessment papers were properly set with adequate coverage of the four macro skills and most of the usage items were contextualised.
  • Most schools were able to utilise the available resources to implement various learning support programmes to cater for the different needs of learners. A few schools also took part actively in some pilot projects such as the Primary English Language Project, the Primary Schools English Development Pilot Project etc., to promote the teaching of the subject.
  • Resources for the teaching of the subject were quite adequate. They were clearly filed and easily accessible to teachers.
Areas for Improvement
  • In the majority of schools inspected, there was a lack of effective mechanism to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the curriculum. Areas including the methodology of English language teaching, reviews on the effectiveness of learning and teaching, and the current trend of the development of the subject, etc., were not given in-depth treatment at panel meetings.
  • The success criteria of the programme plan were not clearly defined in most schools. Evaluation was not well administered and follow-up was inadequate. There was considerable room for improvement in the use of evaluation findings for future planning.
  • In many of the schools inspected, attention could be more focused on curriculum adaptation to cater for the varied needs of pupils.
  • The design of the remedial teaching programmes in most schools did not quite suit the interests, needs and abilities of the pupils. Some teachers were not conversant with the teaching strategies and skills, which also affected the effectiveness of remedial teaching.
  • In most of the schools inspected, little attempt was made for the use of IT in English language teaching. More effort could be made for further enhancement.
  • Some of the lessons observed were quite teacher-centred. Little provision was made for pupil participation and interaction. The design of learning activities in some lessons needed refinement to provide pupils with more opportunities to use English for meaningful communication.
  • Pupils' speaking and writing abilities needed to be strengthened, and more training for their thinking and self-learning skills was required. The design of writing tasks could be refined to develop pupils' creativity.
  • In some schools, language use was not given due emphasis in the design of assignments and assessment papers. The weighting and level of difficulty of some of the papers needed adjustment. Most schools did not make full use of the assessment information to improve their learning and teaching.

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Secondary Schools 
3.4 Mathematics

General Comments
  • In about half of the schools inspected, pupils' performance in the Hong Kong Attainment Test was comparable to or better than the territory averages in the past three years. Furthermore, the majority of the schools encouraged their pupils to participate in inter-school mathematics contests, and pupils of some schools had won prizes in these contests
  • A majority of the pupils showed good mastery of the basic computational skills. However, their abilities in problem-solving, collaboration and applying IT needed to be further developed.
Key Strengths
  • The subject department in the majority of the schools inspected had a clear management structure and functioned smoothly. They had established the mechanism of inspecting pupils' exercise books. They had also compiled a "Memorandum for the Teaching of Mathematics", giving teachers working guidelines on teaching, marking of assignments and scrutiny of examination papers. Such practices were helpful in the development of the subject department.
  • Most teachers were conscientious in preparing their lessons. Lessons were delivered with well-defined objectives, clear exposition and systematic teaching steps. Some teachers could use teaching aids to facilitate pupils' understanding. Teachers were on the whole friendly, managed class discipline effectively and maintained good relationship with pupils.
  • Pupils were on the whole attentive, interested in learning and willing to respond to teachers' questions. They could follow teachers' instructions to complete class activities or class work.
  • Most schools had clear homework policies. The frequency and quantity of homework assignments given to pupils were appropriate. Teachers marked assignments conscientiously and followed up on pupils' corrections.
  • The frequency of tests and examinations was appropriate. Test and examination papers covered the teaching contents. Schools had issued guidelines on setting test/examination papers and established suitable mechanism to monitor the quality and marking of test/examination papers.
Areas for Improvement
  • In the schools inspected, subject departmental meetings were often used to handle the general routine work of the department and disseminate information. Teachers seldom conducted evaluations of their teaching as well as professional exchanges during departmental meetings in order to enhance the quality of learning and teaching.
  • Schools used the teaching plans provided by the textbook publishers. They seldom made curriculum adaptation to cater for the abilities and needs of their pupils. There was room for improvement in curriculum planning and organisation.
  • Though schools in general had regularly organised subject-related extra-curricular activities to enhance pupils' interest in learning mathematics, these activities were mostly related to competitions on speedy calculations or testing pupils' computational skills. For pupils with weaker ability, schools had not provided them with appropriate activities that suited their needs.
  • Class teaching was often teacher-centred with insufficient opportunities for interaction among pupils. The questioning skills of some teachers need improvement. They seldom used open questions to guide pupils' thinking. For most teachers, the skills of applying IT in teaching needed to be developed.
  • Pupils were passive in learning, they seldom initiated questions or expressed ideas during lessons.
  • The homework assignments given by some schools were mainly used to consolidate pupils' knowledge in the subject and tended to be biased towards computational problems. These schools seldom used other types of homework assignments, like projects and mathematical enquiry activities. Assignments lacked variety. Teachers often emphasised the correct answers during marking and ignored the importance of presenting the process of calculation.
  • Assessment methods employed by the schools inspected lacked variety. They mostly used tests/examinations as the only means of assessment and seldom used other methods, like observations in class or projects, to assess pupils' learning outcomes. Schools seldom made use of assessment information to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching so as to improve the quality of learning and teaching.
  • The curriculum planning for remedial classes in some schools needed improvement. Teachers also had not mastered the relevant teaching strategies. Needs of the academically weaker pupils were not adequately catered for.
3.5 General Studies

General Comments
  • The quality of pupils' learning was acceptable or above in most of the schools inspected. Most of the pupils were attentive and produced work of good quality. Many of them were able to explore the topics being learnt with basic enquiry skills such as observation and classification.
Key Strengths
  • Most of the successful subject panels were able to write up clear work plans and provide effective guidelines on the teaching of the subject for teachers' reference. Experienced panel chairpersons collaborated with the level co-ordinators to ensure timely implementation of the action plans.
  • Most of the schools organised a variety of outdoor activities to supplement the formal curriculum.
  • Most teachers were conscientious and many of them had a good command of subject knowledge. They chose appropriate teaching materials for their lessons and presented their lessons systematically. Their classroom management was effective and teacher-pupil relationship was harmonious. Moreover, a small number of teachers were able to organise challenging group activities for their pupils.
  • Most pupils were attentive, interested and motivated to learn during their lessons. They participated actively in class activities and were willing to respond to teachers' questions.
  • Assignments were carefully marked by teachers with constructive feedback.
  • Most of the schools inspected kept a rich stock of resources for the learning and teaching of the subject. A growing number of schools had adopted IT to motivate learning and to facilitate better understanding.
Areas for Improvement
  • Nearly all schools inspected adopted the schemes of work provided by the publishers without making any adaptation to meet pupils' needs and abilities. Cross-curricular themes were scarcely incorporated into the school-based General Studies curriculum. Moreover, the implementation of the school-based subject curriculum was not adequately monitored in many schools as reviews of the learning and teaching of the subject were scarcely conducted.
  • In most lessons observed, teaching strategies were lacking in variety. There were insufficient opportunities for pupils to take part in discussion and to raise questions. As such, pupils learnt in a passive style.
  • In some lessons, instructional activities overemphasised the acquisition of knowledge at the expense of the development of skills and attitudes. Teachers' questions mainly focused on the checking of understanding rather than on the development of higher-order thinking skills.
  • Assessment of pupils' progress mainly focused on areas of knowledge while assessment of pupils' skills and attitudes was uncommon. Due to the lack of clearly-defined assessment objectives, the quality of questions on current events was generally unsatisfactory in those schools which administered assessment of this type.
  • Many teachers did not make good use of findings gathered from pupils' assessment to reflect on their teaching.
3.6 Art and Craft

General Comments
  • Pupils' performance in learning was acceptable. In most of the schools inspected, improvement was needed in areas of teaching and performance assessment.
Key Strengths
  • Some of the schools inspected made efforts to enhance art teaching with the aid of IT while some integrated cross-curricular elements in their curricula to meet pupils' needs.
  • A variety of extra-curricular activities provided by the schools enriched pupils' learning experiences.
  • Teachers in general were good at classroom management. Most of them were able to make proper use of visual aids to assist their teaching. Some even used IT to facilitate their presentation in order to enhance the effectiveness of learning and teaching.
  • Pupils showed a positive attitude towards learning and their discipline was good. Most of them were engaged in art making and showed interest in the activities. They were also capable of mastering the basic techniques for making art.
  • Most schools were able to fully utilise the school premises to display pupils' artworks to enhance the learning atmosphere.
Areas for Improvement
  • In the course of formulating the annual work plan, most schools were unable to draw up concrete assessment criteria for corresponding targets set under the plan. Schools were also unable to make use of the assessment results for the development of objectives and strategies of the subject. Evaluation work needed to be improved.
  • providing financial assistance to parents and kindergartens;
  • Schools failed to conduct in-depth reviews on the curriculum. There was a lack of continuity in the teaching programmes across different levels. A monitoring mechanism was needed for the school to monitor the implementation of the curriculum and for future reviews and improvements of the curriculum.
  • Most teachers adopted a unilateral teaching approach. Pupils were not given sufficient opportunities for exploration. In addition, some teachers lacked skills and knowledge of conducting in-depth art appreciation activities.<
  • Most of the Art and Craft teachers were non-subject-trained. Their subject knowledge and teaching skills were considered inadequate. Though there were discussions on teaching problems in panel meetings, the issues were only briefly addressed. Professional exchange among teachers was inadequate. More training should be provided for teachers, and effort be made to promote peer lesson observation and exchange of views on teaching, so as to enhance teachers' professional development.
  • Pupils were weak in conceiving ideas; their abilities to apply visual elements and design principles were yet to be strengthened. In addition, their abilities in art appreciation also needed to be further developed.
  • Nearly half of the schools inspected were not able to make proper use of continuous assessment for evaluating pupils' overall performance in learning. Most of the schools inspected did not have proper assessment criteria for objective and valid assessments of pupils' performance.
3.7 Music

General Comments
  • Schools paid more attention to the teaching of traditional Chinese music: in five of the schools inspected, Chinese instrumental classes and orchestras were organised as part of the extra-curricular activities.
  • Most schools performed well in the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival. Some achieved excellent results while others showed marked improvement.
  • Pupils tended to memorise musical rudiments such as letter names, sol-fa names, handsigns, speech rhythm and expression marks but they failed to make practical application of such knowledge acquired. Some pupils had a natural singing voice; however, they had a weak sense of pitch. In recorder playing, some pupils could master the fingering techniques, but their sight-reading skills needed to be strengthened.
Key Strengths
  • A good variety of extra-curricular activities including choirs, recorder ensembles, percussion groups, melodica ensembles and instrumental classes were organised in nearly all the schools inspected. Some schools continued to arrange instrumental classes during the summer holidays so as to provide additional learning opportunities for their pupils.
  • The majority of teachers were conscientious. Lessons were well-prepared. teachers were able to give clear instructions and appropriate feedback to pupils. They also praised pupils to reinforce their good performance.
  • Most of the pupils were attentive and eager to learn. Some were keen to raise questions and express their views showing a positive attitude in learning.
  • Some schools enabled pupils to enrich their knowledge of music, experience music and make music through project learning.
  • A number of schools conducted continuous assessment for pupils. They evaluated pupils' progress of learning in music by means of class observation, project work and listening worksheets.
  • Resource materials were adequate in most of the schools. Musical instruments and equipment were kept in order and were easily accessible to teachers and pupils.
Areas for Improvement
  • Before planning the work or development of the subject department, most schools did not review the performance in such areas as curriculum, teaching, pupils' learning and assessment in the previous year. As a result, the work planned failed to meet the actual needs.
  • Curriculum planning was unsatisfactory in more than half of the schools inspected. Well-defined teaching objectives were not included in the teaching plans. Teaching materials and activities planned were not in accord with the teaching objectives. Moreover, teachers hardly adapted the curriculum according to practical teaching experiences and the latest development in teaching so as to cater for the needs of the pupils.
  • Opportunity for practical music making was inadequate in some lessons. Teachers failed to organise a wide range of music activities to enable pupils to apply the music elements they learned. Teachers needed to improve their skills in organising listening and creative activities.
  • Some teachers were non-subject-trained or knew little about the latest development in music teaching. They could neither provide good demonstration nor develop pupils' musical sense through activities.
  • Assessment criteria were lacking for practical tests in most of the schools. Teachers should set assessment focuses for each learning stage so as to better relate assessment to learning and to maintain fairness and consistency in teachers' marking.
  • In some of the schools inspected, music rooms were not fully utilised. Music lessons were sometimes conducted in ordinary classrooms, which affected the effectiveness of learning and teaching.
  • Computers and music software were available in the music rooms of some schools, but teachers had not put them to use yet. Schools should encourage teachers to study the application of IT in teaching music, and to devise and carry out teaching plans progressively.
3.8 Physical Education

General Comments
  • Extra-curricular activities were well organised to supplement the Physical Education (PE) curriculum. Schools were active in participating in inter-school sports competitions.
  • The lower form students performed well in movement skills. The physical fitness of upper form students was satisfactory. Further improvement in ball skills was needed.
Key Strengths
  • The working relationship between subject co-ordinators and teachers was good. Their job descriptions were clearly defined. Subject management was satisfactory.
  • Some schools made good use of external resources such as the Quality Education Fund and the Capacity Enhancement Grant. Instructors were employed to develop dance, swimming and various ball games in schools. As a result, pupils were given more exposure to different learning experiences.
  • Schools recognised the importance of PE-related activities to develop the potential and physical fitness of pupils. The pupils were encouraged to participate in various kinds of physical activities and sport events inside and outside schools.
  • All PE teachers observed were subject-trained. They were enthusiastic and devoted to their work. Pupils' discipline was given prime concern during class. Teachers' classroom management skills were good which facilitated a safe and effective learning environment.
  • Pupils were attentive and active in class activities. Good communication and rapport was cultivated among teachers and pupils. Teacher-pupil interactions were adequate.
Areas for Improvement
  • Most schools did not organise and plan the PE curriculum in a systematic manner. More work was needed on the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the school PE curriculum.
  • Teachers had low expectation of pupils' psychomotor learning outcomes and this impeded the effectiveness of their learning.
  • The application of IT in PE was still at the preliminary stage in most schools. Teachers could make better utilisation of websites to enrich their teaching resources.
  • Professional enrichment programmes for teachers such as seminars and refresher courses on ball games and dance should be strengthened. Peer lesson observation should be introduced in order to improve teaching skills.
  • The assessment policies of most schools were not clear. Assessment of pupils' learning was mainly focused on the mastery of sports skills. Physical fitness, attitude and PE knowledge were given least concern. The assessment system in most schools needed to be improved.
  • Most schools failed to make reference to the assessment information to identify the strengths and weaknesses of pupils as well as to adjust their teaching strategies. Also, most teachers seldom give feedback to pupils to improve their learning effectiveness.
  • Teaching resources such as video tapes, laser discs and PE journals were insufficient.
  • Promotional information on subject-related activities inside and outside schools was found inadequate in most schools.
3.9 Chinese Language

General Comments
  • Students' performance in public examinations was above the territory average in more than half of the schools inspected. Nevertheless, the passing rates in the HKCEE of a small number of schools were far below the territory average.
  • Students' abilities in writing, verbal communication, comprehension and analytical abilities needed to be enhanced. Students enthusiastically participated in extra-curricular activities and competitions and their performance in inter-school choral speaking competition was good.
Key Strengths
  • Teaching duties were allocated properly and departmental affairs ran smoothly. Some of the schools had started peer lesson observation, which had facilitated professional exchanges among teachers.
  • To prepare for the use of IT in the teaching of Chinese Language, some schools had acquired IT resources and designed their own educational software. These schools had used IT effectively in classroom teaching.
  • Most of the schools were enthusiastic in promoting extensive reading in Chinese and a variety of activities were designed to arouse the interest of the students and to promote reading.
  • Most of the schools organised a variety of subject-related extra-curricular activities. In particular, many schools participated in essay writing contests and inter-school choral speaking competitions.
  • Most of the teachers were able to meet the objectives set in their lessons. The lessons were systematically conducted and teachers were capable of giving lucid explanations in class. Learning activities were flexibly arranged for students' participation and IT was appropriately used. There was a harmonious relationship between the teachers and students in most of the lessons observed.
  • The assignments were designed in accordance with the objectives set in the teaching plans. The quantity of assignments was considered appropriate and was able to strengthen students' language abilities. Most students were able to complete the assigned tasks in a conscientious manner. As regards composition, some students were able to write clearly and precisely, while some with a better capability, demonstrated higher levels of descriptive and analytical abilities as well as creativity.
  • The guidelines on assessment were clear. The frequency of tests and examinations was appropriate. Teaching contents were appropriately covered in the examination papers and there was a clear marking scheme.
  • Some schools were active in seeking external funding to promote the teaching of the subject through the publication of students' work and organisation of activities.
  • Apart from handling routine matters during departmental meetings, teachers should include evaluation plans to review students' language proficiency and learning performance. Concrete improvement measures and assessment plans should be formulated with appropriate follow-up and monitoring. There should be more frequent sharing of teaching experiences and professional dialogue so as to gain a better understanding of students' learning performance and to keep abreast of the development of the subject matter.
  • Schools needed to strengthen the co-ordination and planning of junior form curriculum across all levels and to devise plans to consolidate and systematically improve the language standard of students.
  • Most schools did not address students' language problems and specific needs when formulating their teaching plans and teaching strategies for remedial classes. Improvement in this area was required.
  • Most of the lessons observed were teacher-centered. Questions asked by teachers mainly drilled and tested students' ability to recall specific knowledge. Questions and activities that inspire analytical and comprehensive abilities were inadequate. More activities relevant to students' daily experiences and encouragement should be given to students to enhance interaction between students and teachers and stimulate students' interest in learning.
  • Students were passive and lacked confidence. They also lacked the opportunity to take part in free discussions. As revealed from the assignments scrutinised, students' writing ability was weak. Colloquial Cantonese expressions were found in students' written texts with frequent occurrence of errors in the choice of Chinese characters. Teachers should devise writing tasks to help students improve their writing ability.
  • It was observed that teachers did not mark students' composition assignments in accordance with the teaching objectives. They were relatively sloppy in their marking and did not point out the students' errors nor help them to make appropriate corrections.
  • The examination questions set in junior forms were not designed in accordance with students' language ability and level studied. Questions were mainly focused on examining students' ability to recall and recognition skills. There were inadequate questions on evaluating their analytical and commentary abilities as well as their ability to use the language. In addition, the examination results could be used to improve the quality of learning and teaching.
3.10 Chinese Literature

General Comments
  • In about half of the schools inspected, students' passing percentages in HKCEE and HKALE were higher than the territory average.
  • Students' mastery of subject knowledge was good but their literature appreciation and analysis skills had yet to be developed. Their writing performance was considered acceptable. Students seldom participated in subject related extra-curricular activities or competitions.
Key Strengths
  • Co-ordination duties were taken up by the head of the Chinese Language Department in the majority of the schools inspected. Communication among subject teachers was good, the delineation of duties was clear and the overall co-ordination work was smoothly delivered.
  • Individual schools' sixth form teaching plan was complemented by a reading scheme, which provided more opportunities for students to become familiar with a wide variety of literary works. A few schools adopted a positive attitude in preparing the application of IT in learning and teaching, for example, to collect the relevant web sites and software, and produce teaching materials. Individual schools even set up a discussion forum in the school's intranet. Teachers encouraged students to hand in their assignments and discuss among themselves via the intranet with a view to enhance communication after lesson.
  • Teachers were conscientious and well prepared for lessons. The lessons were systematically organised and teachers' explanations were clear. The teacher-student relationship was harmonious. A few teachers made good use of IT and visual aids to enhance their teaching effectiveness
  • Students behaved well and the classroom discipline was good. They were attentive during lesson. Students' handwriting was neat and they could complete their assignments according to teachers' instructions and their presentations were clear. S6-7 students' were fluent in composition writing. They were able to elaborate on the topics under discussion. Some students demonstrated creativity in their writing.
  • Assignments were of a variety, including prescribed-text exercises, literature history exercises, composition, and literature appreciation and analysis exercises. A few teachers even arranged group project work. Teachers were conscientious in their marking. Useful and concrete feedback was given to students. Teachers also could follow up on students' corrections.
  • The format of examinations closely followed those of public examinations and the frequency was appropriate. Teaching contents covered in examination papers and the levels of difficulty were appropriate. Clear marking schemes were available for teachers' easy reference.
Areas for Improvement
  • Discussion and sharing on students' performance and abilities, means to enhance students' learning interest as well as teaching strategies were not thorough and concrete enough. Furthermore, the coverage of teaching review was not comprehensive enough and teachers seldom made good use of the results of teaching review to refine learning and teaching strategies.
  • The monitoring role of the panel chairman should be enhanced for better development of the subject.
  • Teachers' professional development should be strengthened. Besides attending seminars and training courses organised by outside bodies, teachers could conduct peer lesson observation and sharing on assignments marking to enrich their professional dialogue.;
  • In most of the schools inspected, teaching plans were not concrete enough to facilitate teaching. Teaching objectives were not clearly listed out. No information on teaching of literature appreciation and analysis as well as learning activities was available.
  • Teachers' questioning techniques should be improved. Teachers could pose higher-order questions depending on students' abilities, or appropriately follow up students' responses to stimulate their thinking skills. Besides, most lessons were teacher-centred, and discussion among teachers and students was inadequate. Teachers should strengthen their roles as learning facilitators with a view to enhance students' active learning and confidence.
  • Students were passive while some of them lacked confidence. Their performance in literature appreciation and analysis exercises were unsatisfactory. They were weak in the organisation of their compositions and the use of different writing skills. Teachers should devise strategies to help students apply what they had learnt and elaborate their ideas in detail.
  • Some schools had not properly arranged literature appreciation and analysis exercises while some schools had not provided sufficient guidance to students.
3.11 Putonghua
General Comments
  • The majority of teachers were trained in both Putonghua teaching methodology and proficiency. Most teachers spoke fluent Putonghua and 40% of the teachers could speak Putonghua fluently and accurately with a natural tone.
  • Students' performance was acceptable. They could understand teachers' instructions, simple questions for every day use and simple passages. They were good at imitative reading and recitation, and most of them could give simple responses in Putonghua. However, most students lacked confidence in speaking Putonghua. Their oral skills and proficiency in sight-reading Hanyu Pinyin had yet to be strengthened.
Key Strengths
  • Schools performed well in the co-ordination of matters concerning the subject. Most schools had worked out annual programme plans for the subject. The agenda of departmental meetings covered a wide range of issues such as teaching progress, students' learning and year-end evaluation. Most department heads conscientiously carried out their duties in curriculum management and co-ordination.
  • Most schools had organised a variety of extra-curricular activities to promote students' interest in learning Putonghua. Half of the schools had sent students to take part in external competitions. The majority of the schools had organised Putonghua interest groups or clubs, while some occasionally organised extra-curricular activities. Individual schools had organised Putonghua summer camps in Beijing for students, or provided Putonghua learning websites for students to encourage self-study after school.
  • Teachers were amiable and conscientious. Lessons were well organised with systematic presentation. Teachers could aptly make use of teaching aids to facilitate teaching. Simple, clear and appropriate classroom language was used to give instructions and ask questions. Most of the teachers provided opportunities for students to participate in class activities and encouraged them in their learning. Teachers were also able to draw on students' acquired knowledge and life experiences to arouse students' interest.
  • Most students were attentive and were conscientious in completing assignments.
  • The type and frequency of exercises were appropriate. In marking assignments, most teachers were able to point out students' mistakes and asked them to make corrections. A small number of schools even required students to hand in tapes in recitation or speaking for evaluation of students' oral skills.
  • Schools also supported the development of the subject and made good use of the subject grant for Putonghua to purchase teaching references and educational computer software.
Areas for Improvement
  • Most schools had started to tailor their teaching materials. However, there was a lack of comprehensive tailoring principles. No specific requirements of Putonghua proficiency had been set out with consideration to students' learning needs, interests and abilities.
  • Most schools failed to carry out comprehensive and systematic reviews in such areas as teaching content, teaching methodology, as well as items and methods of assessment, etc. Specific follow-up plans were seldom devised to enhance the quality of teaching.
  • A small number of teachers were in urgent need to improve their pronunciation. There was inadequate development of students' verbal social skills in class teaching. Most teachers were unable to use teaching materials flexibly to devise conversation activities relevant to students' daily experiences abilities, interests and needs. Most teachers failed to merge the learning of Pinyin with listening and speaking practices. Although language laboratories or multimedia rooms were provided for teaching Putonghua in a small number of schools, teachers were still unable to make optimum use of these facilities to help students take up listening or oral practices more effectively.
  • Though most students could follow teachers' instructions in class, they were rather passive in learning. Their proficiency and confidence in speaking Putonghua, as well as their ability in sight-reading Hanyu Pinyin had yet to be improved.
  • Most schools inspected did not draw up any specific standard on listening and speaking skills for students of various levels. Most schools did not have concrete assessment criteria for oral tests. Undue emphasis had been placed on textual memory, while assessment in other areas like connotative distinction, textual summary, generalisation and reasoning, etc., was inadequate.
3.12 English

General Comments
  • The overall quality of learning and teaching of the subject was found to be acceptable in most of the schools and good in three of them.
  • In slightly more than half of the schools, the passing percentages were higher than the territory averages in both the Hong Kong Certificate of Education English Language Examination and the Advanced Supplementary Level Use of English Examination.
  • In nearly all of the schools inspected, students were encouraged to take part in the Hong Kong Schools Speech Festival and some were able to obtain awards for their quality performance. A small number of the schools entered their students for inter-school debate and drama contests, which provided good opportunities for further development of communication skills and confidence in using the target language.
Key Strengths
  • About half of the schools adopted an incremental approach to introducing new curriculum initiatives such as task-based learning, self-access learning, and incorporation of IT in the learning and teaching of the subject.
  • In most of the schools, the informal curriculum complemented the formal one. A wide range of English-related extra-curricular activities was appropriately organised to provide students with additional opportunities to learn and use the target language.
  • Teachers could present the lesson content lucidly and systematically. They were adept at classroom management and effective in monitoring class work. They were caring and had good rapport with their students.
  • Students showed a positive attitude towards learning. They were attentive and willing to respond to teachers' questions. They could follow instructions properly in completing class work. Some of them demonstrated good presentation and IT skills in doing project work.
  • In most of the schools, the assignments given were adequate in terms of quantity, variety and coverage. Teachers' marking was conscientious and constructive feedback was given to help students improve. In some of the schools, good attempt was made to phase in the use of a process approach to writing to develop students' writing skills.
  • In most of the schools, continuous and summative assessments were aptly used to evaluate and monitor students' learning progress.
  • Resources in support of English language learning and teaching were adequate. In most of the schools, there was a good collection of graded readers, teachers' reference books and IT-based resources. In some of the schools, a web page had been developed to provide online resources to support learning.
Areas for Improvement
  • Overall curriculum planning and management needed improvement. Apart from taking charge of the administrative aspect of panel work, department heads needed to assume the role of curriculum leader to spearhead curriculum innovations and oversee the vertical co-ordination of curriculum work.
  • Systematic planning needed to be done for staff's professional development and more channels established for professional sharing to equip teachers for effective implementation of new curriculum initiatives.
  • Greater importance needed to be attached to the setting of clear learning targets, the use of themes and integrative language use in the design of the teaching programme.
  • While a majority of the schools provided remedial teaching in junior forms, curriculum adaptation needed strengthening so that the varied needs, interests and abilities of the students in remedial classes could be better catered for.
  • A considerable number of the lessons observed were teacher-centred and lacking in opportunities for interaction among students and purposeful use of the language. Teachers' expectations were low, resulting in inadequate room for student contribution and participation. More challenging tasks could be assigned to engage students in active and purposeful use of the language and to develop their communication, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
  • Most students lacked confidence in speaking English and seldom took the initiative to raise questions or seek help from the teacher.
  • To help students improve their writing, there was a need for more pre-writing guidance and training in proofreading.
  • The range of text types used in the Reading Comprehension section of the General English examination papers for S1 - S3 was rather narrow.
  • There was a lack of planning for and evaluation of use of resources. In some of the schools, library resources were under-used.
3.13 Mathematics

General Comments
  • In the schools inspected, there were great variations in students' public examination results. About half of the schools inspected achieved results in public examinations that were better than the territory average.;
  • About one third of the schools inspected actively took part in inter-school mathematics contests and activities. Students got good results in these contests and activities.
  • Students had mastered the basic computational skills. However, further improvement was needed in areas like abstract conceptualisation, application, analysis and problem-solving.
Key Strengths
  • Most schools had good co-ordination in the work of the Mathematics subject department. There was wide and adequate scope of discussion in subject departmental meetings.
  • Extra-curricular activities were of sufficient quantity as well as variety. Some schools also participated in inter-school activities, like the Hong Kong Mathematics Olympiad and the Mathematics Trail.
  • A majority of the teachers were devoted and conscientious in their teaching, friendly to students and maintained good relationship with them. Teachers prepared their lessons well. They delivered lessons systematically with well-defined teaching steps, clear exposition and instructions. Some teachers could pay attention to the needs of individual students and provided adequate guidance.
  • Most students observed class discipline and were attentive. They followed teachers' instructions during the learning process.
  • Most schools had clear homework policies. The frequency and quantity of homework assignments given to students were adequate. Most teachers marked students' work conscientiously. They could point out students' mistakes and required them to do corrections.
  • Most schools had clear assessment policies. Examination papers were of adequate length and there was sufficient coverage of teaching contents. There were also detailed marking schemes.
Areas for Improvement
  • Most schools needed to strengthen professional exchanges among teachers. Teachers should be encouraged to discuss more frequently on teaching strategies and new trends in teaching as well as in curriculum development so as to enhance the quality of learning and teaching.
  • Some schools should adapt the curriculum and teaching strategies according to the abilities of their students so as to better cater for the needs of the academically less able students.
  • The majority of the lessons observed were teacher-centred and could not arouse students' interest in learning. Teachers should employ a repertoire of teaching activities to enhance class interactions and promote students' interest in learning. Besides, questions raised by teachers were of low order and could not develop students' thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Most students were rather passive in learning. They seldom took the initiative to ask questions and clear their doubts.
  • The assignments in some schools were biased towards mechanical drilling. Assignments geared to developing students' thinking and problem-solving abilities needed to be strengthened.
  • When evaluating students' assessment results, most schools could not make use of the information from analysis to formulate concrete measures to improve learning and teaching.
  • The library books in most schools lacked variety and most students seldom borrowed subject-related library books for reference. Schools needed to acquire more interesting mathematics library books and to encourage students to do more reading.
3.14 Physics

General Comments
  • The overall quality of learning and teaching was acceptable. Schools inspected gave due attention to laboratory safety.
  • Students' performance in the subject in both the HKCEE and the HKALE was above the territory averages in most of the schools inspected.
  • Students in some schools performed well in subject-related external contests and activities. Most schools failed to organise adequate subject-related extra-curricular activities for the students.
  • Some of the students had a good command of basic laboratory skills, while some were capable of collecting data through the Internet for analysis and collation.;
Key Strengths
  • The Physics departments in most of the schools inspected functioned smoothly. Communication within the department was also good.
  • The subject curricula offered by schools catered for continuity and clear teaching objectives were laid down.
  • Teachers were kind and amiable. Their explanations were well organised and classroom management was effective. Some teachers had made good use of IT to facilitate their teaching.
  • Most teachers marked students' assignments conscientiously, and gave appropriate feedback.
  • Teachers were interested in participating in subject-related teacher development programmes and seminars so as to enhance their knowledge of the subject matter and professional knowledge.
  • Most students were willing to take part in class activities and were capable of completing the tasks according to the instructions given by teachers. They were attentive and responsive. Class discipline was good.
  • Test and examination papers were properly set with an appropriate level of difficulty and coverage.
  • The provision of equipment in the Physics laboratories was adequate. Teaching resources and facilities were sufficient to support learning and teaching of the subject. Physics laboratories were properly managed and maintained. Schools generally adopted appropriate safety measures to ensure a safe learning environment for students. Most of the Physics laboratories had been networked. Some were provided with multi-media facilities. These facilities would help teachers apply IT in teaching.
Areas for Improvement
  • Teachers attached importance to imparting subject knowledge to students, without paying due emphasis to developing students' inquiring capability and cultivating their self-learning ability.
  • Most teachers failed to adjust the curriculum organisation and their teaching plans so as to cater for students' learning differences.
  • Most teachers failed to make proper use of library resources and organise subject-related extra-curricular activities to increase students' learning experiences and to arouse their interest in learning the subject.
  • The teachers mainly adopted the expository approach. Questions raised by teachers were relatively simple. Teacher-student interaction in class was insufficient to stimulate students' thinking. More recognition should be given to students to reinforce their good performance.
  • Students were mostly dependent on teachers and seldom raised questions or expressed their own views in class. Their practical skills had yet to be enhanced.
  • The assignments arranged were primarily confined to computation and application of formula. The variety of assignments did not suffice to develop students' skills in communication, organisation and use of IT in learning.
  • Most teachers arranged project work for students, but they failed to inform students of the specific requirements of the projects. Neither did they provide proper guidance to students when the projects were carried out.
  • Most schools failed to make use of assessment results to develop relevant and appropriate teaching plans to cater for students' needs. Experience sharing and exchange of views among teachers for enhancing the effectiveness of learning and teaching were limited.
3.15 Chemistry

General Comments
  • Most students had a good command of the subject matter. However, there was still room for improvement in the development of communication skills, analytical skills, critical-thinking and creativity.
  • Students showed great interest in schools' extra-curricular activities. However, there was limited participation in external activities related to the subject.
  • Students' performance in public examinations in most of the schools inspected was better than the territory average.
Key Strengths
  • Heads of departments could effectively co-ordinate and monitor the implementation of the curriculum through panel meetings, lesson observations and exercise book inspections. There was also adequate communication among teachers in the subject panels. Most teachers could make good use of the school intranet to facilitate the sharing of teaching resources.
  • Some schools managed to provide a comprehensive and balanced curriculum for students. In addition to developing students' knowledge in Chemistry, they could also make good use of the appropriate contexts to implement civic education, health education and environmental education. Teachers organised a good variety of extra-curricular activities to arouse students' interest in the subject and help broaden their learning experiences.
  • Lessons observed were mostly well prepared with clear teaching objectives. Teachers' explanations were clear and well organised. Some teachers could make good use of IT to enhance the understanding of abstract concepts. Sufficient attention was also given to safety measures during laboratory lessons.
  • Students were generally well behaved and attentive. They were able to follow instructions and complete the learning tasks. Most students were eager to participate in laboratory practical work and they demonstrated good attitude in science learning. Some students managed to apply IT to gather, manage and consolidate information in project work.
  • Some schools were able to enhance students' learning outcomes by adopting a variety of assessment methods like information searching, practical examination, project work and quizzes.
  • Teachers were able to point out students' strengths and weaknesses when marking assignments. Sufficient feedback was also provided to help students improve.
  • There was adequate provision of laboratory equipment and facilities for the teaching of the subject. Most laboratories had already been installed with computer facilities and LCD projectors to support the use of IT in teaching. Most laboratory technicians were well experienced and paid adequate attention to laboratory safety. They worked closely with teachers and provided effective support.
Areas for Improvement
  • Most schools placed undue emphasis on theory in the S3 teaching plans, which could not cater for the diverse abilities and interests of students. Only a few schools managed to adapt the teaching curriculum according to students' different needs and abilities.
  • There was insufficient provision of practical work for the S4-5 students in some of the schools inspected. It reduced the opportunities for students to develop the various skills like observation, analytical and laboratory skills through experiments.
  • Most schools were weak in reviewing the quality of learning and teaching. They were inclined to place too much importance on students' performance in assignments and public examination results, rather than reviewing curriculum implementation and proposing follow-up actions to enhance the quality of learning and teaching.
  • In the lessons where teaching performance was less than satisfactory, class teaching was rather teacher-centered and questions were too simple to be able to stimulate students' thinking. Moreover, an examination-oriented approach was usually adopted in these lessons.
  • In some of the classes adopting English as the medium of instruction, teachers could neither conduct the lesson fully in English nor incorporate sufficient measures to encourage students to communicate in English.
  • Students could not learn in an interactive manner. They seldom took the initiative to ask questions or share their views with others. Furthermore, some students could not effectively employ different resources, like the library, to enrich their learning and extend their learning experience beyond the classroom. Teachers should arrange a greater variety of learning activities so as to strengthen students' enquiring abilities/skills, and to enhance their creativity.
  • Students' assignments consisted mainly of drilling exercises. They could neither effectively stimulate active thinking nor address the skills required in learning the subject.
  • There was insufficient provision of reference books in some of the schools inspected. Moreover, limited measures were also taken to encourage the use of library books for self-learning.
3.16 Biology

General Comments
  • In about half of the schools, students achieved results higher than the territory average in the HKCEE. In HKALE, less than half of the schools obtained results higher than the territory average.
  • Students at senior levels were able to master drawing and report-writing skills well. However, students at junior levels needed more training in biological drawing. Students were able to produce projects of good quality.
Key Strengths
  • Panel co-ordination was good and peer lesson observation was carried out for professional enrichment.
  • Teachers possessed sound subject knowledge, and were experienced in teaching. They were enthusiastic and developed good relationship with their students. Lessons were well-prepared with the use of appropriate teaching aids. IT was also successfully incorporated.
  • Students were attentive and well-disciplined. They were able to follow teachers' instructions and complete the learning tasks assigned to them.
  • Suitable variety of assignments was designed to arouse students' interest in the subject as well as to consolidate their learning. Some students were able to make good use of information from the Internet and produced output of high quality.
  • The Biology laboratories were well equipped to support the subject. They were maintained properly.
Areas for Improvement
  • The aims in the programme plans were too broad and lacked success criteria for evaluation. Students' weaknesses were spelled out but there were no concrete measures suggested for improvement.
  • In a number of schools inspected, the S3 curriculum was not suitably planned or adapted to cater for the needs and interests of the students, especially for those students who might not be able to continue studying the subject after S3.
  • Classroom teaching was mostly teacher-centred. There was also a lack of stimulating and inspiring learning activities to promote active learning in students.
  • In most of the lessons observed, teachers' questions were not challenging enough to improve the development of students' higher-order thinking skills.
  • Most teachers in the marking of assignments could not provide constructive comments or feedback to help students improve.
  • Many internal examination questions at senior levels were extracted directly from past public examination papers without appropriate modification.
  • Some of the schools had not given adequate attention to laboratory safety, such as the storage of dangerous chemicals.
  • Library resources were not well-utilised to promote self-learning in students.
3.17 Science

General Comments
  • More than half of the schools inspected offered Science only up to S2.
  • Standing Laboratory Safety Committees (SLSC) comprising all science teachers and laboratory technicians were established in most schools to oversee laboratory safety. Performance of most SLSCs was satisfactory.
  • Most students displayed interest, curiosity and enthusiasm in learning science, showing active participation in practical and group work. The practical skills of students were acceptable.
  • Students performed satisfactorily in internal examinations. However, insufficient achievement was made by students in external science activities.
Key Strengths
  • The investigatory approach was adopted by most teachers in teaching with sufficient provision of hands-on learning activities for students. IT resources have been acquired and incorporated in the teaching plans of some schools. Good attempts had been made by some teachers to produce IT materials to facilitate learning and teaching of the subject.
  • Most teachers had a good grasp of the subject content. Adequate preparation for lessons was made. With appropriate use of teaching aids and demonstrations, scientific concepts were elaborated systematically and in detail. Some teachers could motivate and arouse students' interest in science by frequently referring to relevant practical applications and daily examples.
  • Students were attentive and well-behaved. In the classes using Chinese as the medium of instruction, students were often more responsive to teachers' questions, showing greater incentive to express their views, and more proactive in raising questions.
  • A variety of assignments was given to students to enhance and consolidate their learning. Most teachers were conscientious in marking and grading students' assignments, providing written feedback and follow-up to students' corrections.
  • Group projects were usually assigned to students and the quantity was adequate. Most students were capable of searching for necessary information from the Internet. The more able students could acquire and organise the data/information from various sources for presentation in reports, with the aid of IT. Some students demonstrated creativity and superb workmanship in building models and constructions.
  • Teaching resources including science equipment, laboratory facilities, teaching aids and library books were adequate to facilitate learning and teaching of the subject. Access to LAN/Internet was readily available to teachers in nearly every science laboratory inspected.
Areas for Improvement
  • While division of duties was clear among teachers in most schools, teachers tended to focus on individual work with insufficient sharing and collaboration in the panel. Some panel chairpersons did not fulfill their roles on curriculum planning, monitoring and providing support to panel members, and evaluating the panel's performance regularly.
  • The curriculum was not adapted to cater for students' learning differences when teachers set their annual programme plans or drafted the teaching plans. Cross-curricular issues were not adequately addressed in curriculum planning and implementation.
  • Sufficient science-related extra-curricular activities were planned and organised in most schools to complement the formal curriculum. The quality of activities was acceptable. However, it was uncommon for teachers to extend students' learning experience beyond the classroom by arranging visits or enrolling students in open competitions.
  • The teacher-centred approach was prevalent in class teaching. Insufficient measures were undertaken by teachers to develop students' skills in communication, critical thinking, problem solving and self-learning. Positive reinforcement by teachers on students' effort was insufficient in many lessons observed.
  • Assessment of students' performance was mainly based on examinations, tests and homework assignments. Students' practical skills and learning attitudes were seldom assessed and reported.
  • Many examination questions set by teachers placed heavy emphasis on recalling facts and textbook materials. Fill-in-the-blanks, true/false and questions requiring very short answers still dominated some examination papers. There were insufficient questions to assess students' communication skills as well as their ability to apply scientific knowledge to practical situations.
  • Library books and references were not fully utilised in some schools. More learning activities should be planned by teachers to promote students' use of resources in the school library.
3.18 Computer

General Comments
  • S1-S5 Computer Studies was offered in almost all the schools inspected. AS-Level Computer Applications was offered in seven of the schools inspected and two of them offered AL-Computer Studies as well.
  • The overall performance in learning and teaching was found to be acceptable.
  • In most of the schools inspected, students' passing percentages in HKCEE were better than the territory average. In the HKALE, only half of the schools inspected had better passing percentages than the territory average.
Key Strengths
  • Most schools had made use of the flexibility provided in the computer education curriculum for the junior secondary level to design and implement a curriculum to suit students' needs and to meet the advances in IT. A few schools were able to allocate two periods per cycle for Computer Literacy to enhance students' learning.
  • To supplement the formal curriculum and to promote students' interest, most schools had organised extra-curricular activities related to computer education. Some schools also encouraged their students to participate in inter-school competitions.
  • Most of the teachers prepared their lessons well and explained relevant concepts clearly. They could also use the teaching aids and equipment available in the computer room appropriately. Some schools had set up a database of teaching resources in the school intranet for the use of teachers and students.
  • Most students were interested in learning the subject. They were well behaved and attentive in class.
  • Schools had formulated clear guidelines for the assessment of students' performance. Many of them used continuous assessment methods to assess the learning progress of students at the junior secondary level. The frequency and quantity of student assignments were appropriate. A few schools encouraged students to submit homework using e-mail.
  • With the provision of more sophisticated IT facilities, some schools were equipped with two computer rooms for class teaching. Each student was provided with a computer for individual practice during practical lessons.
Areas for Improvement
  • Mixed code teaching was observed in some schools which had adopted English as its medium of instruction, thus affecting students' learning of computer in English.
  • Sharing of teaching experiences among teachers was inadequate. Information collected from assessment of students' performance and its analysis had not been fully utilised to enhance or to improve the effectiveness of learning and teaching.
  • Teaching was teacher-centred and there was not enough interaction between teachers and students. Teaching was textbook-bound and teachers were not able to adapt their teaching methods flexibly to meet the abilities and needs of their students.
  • Some students were passive in learning and had not made proper use of library resources to enhance their learning outcomes.
3.19 Chinese History
General Comments
  • The overall quality of learning and teaching was considered acceptable in most of the schools inspected and good in two schools.
  • Among the schools inspected, students' performance in HKCEE varied greatly. However, students' passing rates in HKALE were higher than those in HKCEE.
  • Some students demonstrated good comprehension ability. Students with better capability could make use of their subject knowledge to analyse historical events. However, students lacked self-learning ability. Their abilities in inquiry and critical thinking also needed to be enhanced.
Key Strengths
  • Some schools endeavoured to promote and implement IT in teaching. They developed their own web-based banks so as to strengthen the support of learning and teaching. Some teachers even designed their own software which helped provide more teaching resources for the subject.
  • Teachers could present their lessons clearly and systematically. Classroom management was effective. Some teachers made use of analogies, worksheets and PowerPoint slides in their teaching to promote students' interests in the learning of the subject. Most S6-S7 teachers arranged discussions or used data-based materials during lessons to help students grasp learning focuses.
  • Students were co-operative in class and they followed teachers' instructions. S6-S7 students' attitude towards learning was more positive. The project work of some students was good and they were able to make use of IT in their projects as well.
  • Most of the schools inspected adopted continuous assessment which helped enhance students' enthusiasm in learning the subject. Data-response questions set in the senior secondary examination papers were in line with teaching objectives and the new HKCEE requirements that emphasised analytical thinking.
Areas for Improvement
  • Panel meetings paid little attention to reviewing teaching methods and the use of teaching resources. The evaluation of the subject was not comprehensive as emphasis was often put on the assessment results only.
  • Most of the schools did not fully cater for students' varied abilities when planning the junior secondary curriculum. There was also a lack of flexibility in the curriculum planning of Syllabus B. Collaboration among subjects, such as cross-curricular activities and project work, needed to be strengthened.
  • Though some schools could broaden the scope of students' learning through organising visits to historical trails, extra-curricular activities of the subject in most of the schools inspected were not comprehensively planned. They failed to complement effectively the formal curriculum.
  • Unidirectional teaching was generally adopted and there was insufficient interaction in classroom. Teachers placed much emphasis on imparting factual knowledge and paid little attention to the development of learning skills. The use of blackboards and teaching aids of some teachers also needed improvement. Chinese History teachers of junior secondary forms were mostly non-subject-trained. Some of them did not fully grasp the teaching skills of the subject. Professional training and teaching support needed to be strengthened.
  • Students seldom asked questions and expressed their ideas during lessons. They were weak in inquiry and making comments. Most junior secondary students were unable to master the skills in answering the data-response questions. Guidance and training in relevant areas needed to be strengthened.
  • Insufficient questions were set to test students' thinking skills in the junior secondary examination papers. Thus, effective assessment on students' thinking and presentation skills could not be carried out. Some questions set in the test and examination papers for S4-S5 were beyond the scope of the examination syllabus.
  • Some schools did not make good use of assessment results to identify students' strengths and weaknesses so as to facilitate planning and improvement of teaching strategies.
3.20 History

General Comments
  • The quality of learning and teaching of the subject was good in two-thirds of the schools inspected and acceptable in the remaining ones.
  • In most of the schools, performance of students in public examinations was higher than the territory average.
  • Students displayed adequate mastery of writing skills. Their work was well organised and logically presented. However, many senior form students found it hard to grasp the thrust of questions and differentiate concepts. Many of them were less competent in doing source-interpreting tasks. As regards project-based learning, many students were able to master skills of research and IT in their project assignments.
Key Strengths
  • Most of the subject departments were well co-ordinated, with sufficient guidelines provided as support and regular meetings to ensure adequate communication. Amongst those subject departments that sustained better overall performance, leadership of the panel chair and collaborative relationship among members were usually more explicit.
  • Though they differed in pace, many schools had positively engaged in curriculum planning in response to the recent developments in the subject discipline and education reform.
  • Curriculum objectives were clear with due regard paid to the development of thinking skills and current curriculum development. Curriculum adaptation was adopted at junior levels to bring forth greater flexibility in teaching strategies.
  • Teachers were well abreast of the latest curriculum development. Also, most of them were willing to adopt a variety of teaching strategies to promote the learning of the subject. More teachers exhibited good mastery of IT skills and had effectively used IT to enhance the quality of learning and teaching.
  • Praiseworthy efforts were made to arrange a good range of co-curricular activities to complement the formal curriculum and extend students' learning experiences in most schools.
  • Project assignments had been adopted to promote self-learning and acquisition of a variety of historical skills. Procedural guidelines were also designed to help students conduct project work with clear objectives and appropriate strategies.
  • Students were attentive and willing to answer teachers' questions and participate in classroom activities. Some senior form students showed adequate grasp of self-learning and oral presentation skills.
  • In most of the schools inspected, assignments were usually marked conscientiously with helpful comments provided for making improvements. There was variety in the questioning formats and sources and data were well made use of to test students' thinking skills.
  • Teaching resources were adequate in terms of quantity and variety. In a bid to enhance the use of IT in teaching, complimentary efforts were made in many schools to procure more IT-related resources and construct websites.
Areas for Improvement
  • The role of panel chair could become more explicit as a monitor and manager so as to ensure consistency of practice and delivery of the planned curriculum.
  • There was room for improvement with regard to the evaluation process. Evaluation should be integral to formulating concrete strategies to improve the departmental portfolios of work.
  • Cross-curricular elements could be incorporated in the curriculum to enrich students' knowledge and help foster proper values and attitudes.
  • Students were encouraged to be more proactive in their approach to learning. They could be more reflective and encouraged to do more reading to foster the acquisition of knowledge and generic skills. Also, students' exposure could be enriched with more opportunities to participate in inter-school projects or competitions.
  • Subject departments should work in collaboration to broaden students' learning experiences with regard to project-based learning so that their personal, social and humanities education may be enhanced.
  • In some of the schools inspected, examination papers were not compatible with students' abilities and questions were found to be mainly transcription work. Effective use of assessment data should also be made to monitor the progress of students and evaluate the quality of teaching.
3.21 Economic and Public Affairs

General Comments
  • The quality of learning and teaching of Economic and Public Affairs was found to be acceptable in most of the schools inspected.
  • The adoption of Chinese as the medium of instruction had positive impact on students' motivation, their participation in class activities and learning progress.;
  • Students had interest in the subject. However, their performance varied significantly. While the comprehension ability of the students was good, their ability to analyse data and communication skills had to be improved. Social awareness of most students also needed to be enhanced.
Key Strengths
  • Some of the schools had attempted curriculum integration in humanities subjects involving EPA. This helped foster better whole-school curriculum planning and co-operation among the relevant subject departments.
  • Some schools had adapted the EPA curriculum to cater for the diversity of student abilities.
  • Most of the schools had organised adequate subject-related activities including visits, board displays, news quizzes, etc.
  • In some schools, students were able to apply their IT skills in their project work with pleasing results.
  • The frequency of assessment was appropriate in most of the schools observed. Nearly half of the schools inspected had been aware of the need to adopt assessment modes other than written examinations so as to keep in line with other curriculum goals.
Areas for Improvement
  • Collaboration and professional exchanges among panel members in resource development, formulation of teaching strategies and organising activities had not become commonplace. Curriculum leadership and the monitoring role of the panel head needed to be strengthened.
  • Teaching plans mainly focused on teaching contents, and teaching strategies and resources were not seriously considered. The issue-based teaching approach so advocated in the syllabus had not been effectively implemented in most of the schools inspected.
  • There was great variation in the quality of teaching especially in terms of the extent of teacher-student interaction in class. A wider range of learning and teaching strategies could have been adopted to facilitate not only students' learning knowledge in a more interactive learning environment, but also the cultivation of different skills and proper attitudes.
  • Though students were attentive and co-operative in class, they were passive in their studies. They had not mastered a wide range of learning strategies. Teachers needed to provide suitable learning activities to help students develop their study skills and ability to pursue self-learning.
  • There was also room for improvement in the variety and quality of pupil assignments. In general, assignments designed for the development of skills, social awareness and proper attitudes in students were inadequate. In assigning projects, there were also inadequate guidelines on the learning and research process.
  • The quality of examination papers varied among schools. In about half of the schools inspected, examination questions were mainly set on factual knowledge.
  • Post-examination reviews conducted in most of the schools were too general to give thorough evaluation of students' performance. Besides, the use of the evaluation information for improving the curriculum planning and learning and teaching was not common.
  • The quantity and variety of library books were not rich and students had not made good use of the library resources to pursue self-learning.
3.22 Economics

General Comments
  • The overall quality of learning and teaching was considered acceptable.
  • As for students' performance in public examinations, six of the ten schools inspected were able to attain passing percentages higher than territory wide averages in the HKCEE and the HKALE.
  • The ability of students to apply economic concepts in analysis and their ability to pursue self-learning had to be further developed.
  • Over half of the schools had organised suitable subject-related activities such as visits, talks, board displays, etc., to help promote students' interest in the subject. Two of them had planned a good variety of activities, hence, broadening students' learning experiences.
  • Most of the teachers were subject and professionally trained. Lessons were systematically organised with clear objectives and good preparation. A good rapport between the teacher and the students was established in most of the lessons observed. They were able to make use of daily examples for illustration of economic concepts.
  • The frequency of internal examinations was appropriate. Formats and level of difficulty of examination papers largely followed those of public examinations. Some teachers had made good use of current economic affairs in setting questions.
  • Some of the teachers observed were able to master IT skills to aid teaching in class. Students were encouraged to search for materials on the Internet when doing projects.
  • Members of the Economics panel basically worked on their own. They lacked sharing on the latest developments in the subject curriculum and pedagogy. Collaboration among panel members in resource development and organising activities should also be encouraged.
  • A few schools inspected offered Economics at S3. While the genuine need of introducing Economics in S3 was in doubt, students' abilities had not been taken into account in the selection of topics.
  • The diversity of student abilities had not been fully addressed in curriculum planning, formulation of teaching strategies and design of assignments.
  • In most of the schools inspected, teaching approaches, assignments and assessments were examination oriented. Teachers' expectations of students were low. Though teachers' exposition of concepts was clear, economic reasoning was not given due attention. There was inadequate interaction between the teacher and the students and among the students.
  • As regards teaching skills, some of the teachers also needed to improve their questioning techniques and skills in conducting discussion with students. They needed to enhance the effectiveness of teaching by building new concepts on students' prior knowledge.
  • Students were rather passive in their studies and their learning strategies were of a limited variety. Teachers needed to encourage students to take greater initiative to pursue self-learning by making full use of library and Internet resources.
  • Assignments provided were often past examination questions or exercises extracted from commercially produced workbook. A greater variety of assignments for the benefit of developing students' different skills would be required.
  • Marking by some teachers also needed improvement. More specific and positive feedback on students' work would help students improve and reinforce learning.
  • The importance of evaluation to provide an informed basis for improving the subject curriculum and teaching strategies had not been given proper attention. In examination reviews, specific measures were seldom devised to address students' weaknesses diagnosed in the assessment process.
3.23 Geography

General Comments
  • In the majority of the schools inspected, the performance of students in public examinations was lower than the territory average. However, it was encouraging to see that half of the schools displayed remarkable improvement.
  • The quality of learning and teaching of the subject was good in one-third of the schools inspected and acceptable in the remaining ones.
  • Students displayed adequate mastery of geographical knowledge and had a good level of comprehension. There was good use of IT in their coursework. However, most of the students were less competent in the development of different geographical skills, such as issue enquiry, problem investigation and application of concepts.
Key Strengths
  • Most of the Geography Panels were well co-ordinated. Schools displayed good performance in curriculum planning. There was evidence of subject integration and curriculum tailoring to bring about greater flexibility in teaching strategies as well as to meet the needs and ability of students. In most of the schools, map reading and issue-based teaching were given due emphasis.
  • Geography teaching was supplemented with a good range of co-curricular activities such as board displays, study groups, library tours and library research, etc. Project work and website projects were extended to all levels.
  • Most of the teachers displayed good mastery of subject and were familiar with the curriculum development. They exhibited good mastery of IT skills and had effectively used IT to promote students' interests and reinforce learning. Most of the lessons were well prepared and systematically organised. There was strong evidence that lessons conducted in Chinese were more effective with greater interaction and reinforcement.
  • In most of the schools, appropriate assessment methods including both formative and summative ones were used. Marks were allocated to students' performance in assignments, projects, class performance and presentations. A variety of data and resources such as maps, diagrams, statistical data and graphs were incorporated in most of the examination papers scrutinised. Some teachers had put great effort in setting up a data bank for examination questions and developing software for students to conduct self-assessment.
  • A homework policy was in place to regulate the amount and frequency of the homework. In most of the schools inspected, assignments were usually marked conscientiously with helpful comments provided for making improvements.
  • Teaching resources were adequate in terms of quantity and variety. Most of the Geography Rooms were well equipped and managed. Funding for upgrading of teaching resources and relevant equipment were adequate.
Areas for Improvement
  • Opportunities for students to develop practical and investigative skills and to broaden their learning experiences through field trips and fieldwork were inadequate.
  • Project work had been widely adopted to promote self-learning and acquisition of a variety of geographical skills. However, procedural guidelines were not clearly designed to help students conduct project work with clear objectives and appropriate strategies.
  • Team effort in raising the quality of learning and teaching of the subject was inadequate. There was little evidence of collaboration among teachers in preparing the schemes of work, teaching resources and student assignments.
  • The variety of teaching methods used was barely adequate. There were inadequate learning activities and challenging tasks for students to develop their presentation skills, power of analysis and spirit of enquiry. Students were not given adequate chances to discuss issues, nor be involved in thought-provoking and stimulating tasks. Students' formation of concepts, data-interpretation skills, and critical thinking skills were not appropriately developed. Students' personal experience was not appropriately used to stimulate their interest and involvement in the lesson.
  • Though students were well-behaved and attentive in class, most of them were passive in their approach to learning. They seldom took the initiative to ask questions or express their views. Students lacked the confidence to present their ideas systematically and convincingly.
  • There was insufficient variety of assignments to develop students' concepts and skills. Assignments were restricted to workbook exercises. Well-focused and thought-provoking exercises designed to meet the needs, interests and ability levels of the students were inadequate.
  • In some of the schools inspected, the Geography Room had been converted for other Uses. The teaching of Geography was adversely affected by the conversion plan and there was inadequate storage space for the equipment formerly stored in the Geography Room.
3.24 Art and Design

General Comments
  • Most schools regularly organised various art activities and interest groups. Some even conducted cross-curricular activities to promote students' interest in learning. Students were also encouraged to visit exhibitions and participate in both internal and external art competitions, and some had achieved good results.
  • Some schools actively sought external funding such as the Quality Education Fund, funds provided by Hong Kong Arts Development Council, etc., to support their art activities and to improve their art facilities.
  • Students' performance in public examinations was above the territory average in more than half of the schools inspected.
Key Strengths
  • The management of the subject was systematic and effective in most schools. Teachers' duties were clearly delineated. Co-ordination between teachers was very good. Annual targets and strategies for improving learning and teaching were clearly defined. Work plans and students' performance were regularly evaluated.
  • In most schools, the junior secondary curriculum was comprehensive and well balanced. Due attention was paid to continuity in learning. A wide range of teaching topics and media were covered.
  • In some schools, the use of IT was aptly incorporated in the Art curriculum. Students could make use of computer graphics software for making art.
  • All teachers inspected were professionally trained. Most of them had a positive attitude and were well prepared for the lessons. Teacher-student relationships were good. Individual guidance to students was effective. Some teachers were keen on improving their own IT skills. Students were motivated to search for materials on the Internet when doing projects.
  • Students were serious about learning and were attentive in class. They were able to follow teachers' instructions in carrying out class activities and completing their assignments.
  • Most teachers were conscientious in marking assignments. Comments which reflected students' strengths and weaknesses were given to assist students in their self-evaluation and improvement.
  • There were sufficient facilities and resources in most art rooms and they were properly maintained.
  • Some schools made good use of space available for displaying students' work or mural paintings in order to create an artistic atmosphere in the school.
Areas for Improvement
  • Curriculum tailoring to meet students' interests, needs and ability was not done in some of the schools inspected.
  • In most of the schools inspected, the curriculum of senior forms put too much emphasis on public examination preparation and lacked exposure to other media of art making.
  • Class teaching was teacher-centred and emphasis was placed on delivery of the subject matter. Learning activities for developing students' confidence, communication skills and self-learning abilities were limited in variety. Some teachers needed to improve their questioning techniques in order to stimulate students' higher-order thinking skills.
  • Expectations of some teachers were relatively low. More challenging tasks could be assigned to stretch students' abilities.
  • In most of the schools inspected, there were insufficient teaching evaluation and professional sharing among teachers.
  • Most of the students were inactive in learning and raising questions.
  • Students' creativity, techniques of drawing and abilities of applying art elements needed to be improved.
  • In a number of the schools inspected, there was inadequate utilisation of library resources to support learning and teaching.
3.25 Home Economics

General Comments
  • The quality of the learning and teaching of the subject was acceptable in the schools inspected with clear objectives and well structured learning activities. Many students performed well in learning the subject.
  • Some students showed a good grasp of manipulative skills. They were enthusiastic in extra-curricular activities. Students' performance in public examination was acceptable.
Key Strengths
  • Some teachers managed the panel administration effectively with appropriate action plans and resource allocation.
  • The program plans reflected a good and balanced coverage of the subject content and a well organised curriculum. Most teachers worked very hard to promote the subject in school. It was commendable that an increasing number of schools offered the subject to both boys and girls.
  • Most of the lessons were well organised and suitable learning activities were planned to motivate students' learning. Teachers were able to maintain harmonious relationships with students.
  • Many schools provided an appropriate learning environment for both theory and practical work to stimulate students' thinking and learning. Many teachers gave proper guidance to encourage students' learning.
  • Students co-operated well with classmates and collaborative learning was adopted.
  • Students showed good responses when Chinese was used as the medium of instruction where a warm learning atmosphere was created.
  • Some schools effectively displayed students' project work, design folio, dress and needle articles to recognise students' performance and learning in the subject.
Areas for Improvement
  • An evaluation system could be established to review the effectiveness of the subject and its related development in schools.
  • Students' learning needs were not fully addressed. There should be more school-based curriculum adaptation to cater for students' needs and differences.
  • Extra-curricular activities were not fully utilised to complement learning in actual lesson time.
  • A variety of learning activities could be planned to widen students' learning experiences and to develop students' abilities in critical thinking, problem solving and creativity.
  • Some students lacked confidence in using English for communication during lessons. Some of them were also passive in learning and they required close supervision and guidance.
 
3.26 Music

General Comments
  • All the schools inspected offered Music at the junior level. Two of them offered Music at S1 to S5, and one school offered the subject at S1 to S7, thus a complete basic education in music was provided to students during the secondary stage.
  • The quality of learning and teaching of music was generally acceptable.
  • Nearly all schools inspected took part in the annual Hong Kong Schools Music Festival and students had been awarded various certificates. One school participated in the Schools Creative Music Showcase and achieved promising results.
  • Most students at junior level had a good sense of rhythm. They knew their fingering well in recorder playing, but more attention should be given to tone colour and phrasing. Their sight-reading skills needed to be improved. In singing, students needed to pay more attention to intonation, articulation and expression.
Key Strengths
  • Some teachers developed teaching materials that corresponded to the characteristics of their schools and the interest of the students. Due emphasis was put on the development of students' creativity. Inter-class music competitions together with a cross-curricular approach provided opportunities for students to realise their creative potentials in music, dance and dialogue-writing.
  • A good variety of extra-curricular activities including Chinese and Western instrumental classes, instrumental ensembles, choirs, inter-class music contests and lunch time activities were organised in most schools to complement the formal curriculum.
  • A majority of the teachers had professional training in music. Lessons were well prepared and the teachers showed enthusiasm, conscientiousness and patience. They also encouraged students to listen critically to different performances.
  • Schools were supportive of the development of the subject. Music rooms were well-equipped. Teaching resources were sufficient and in good order. Whenever additional or new facilities were required, schools were willing to offer help.
  • External resources were tapped to cultivate students' interest in music. For example, students were encouraged to attend educational concerts and talks presented by various arts organisations. Schools also applied to the Quality Education Fund and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music Fund for grants to organise Chinese and Western instrumental classes for students with musical talent.
Areas for Improvement
  • Teachers should review the overall situation of the subject, before formulating realistic plans in curriculum design and improvement on learning and teaching, so as to achieve the desired effect.
  • Facilities for IT were available in most schools. Teachers should formulate strategies to incorporate IT in the teaching of music in the curriculum so as to arouse students' interest in learning and develop their creativity.
  • Teachers should broaden the scope of learning and introduce more variety in the learning activities in order to promote interaction between students in class and encourage them to learn through active participation.
  • In singing, teachers failed to formulate concrete guidelines and set requirements according to the abilities and standards of the students. Teachers should set goals and expectations at different levels, so as to enhance teaching effectiveness in singing.
  • Students were constantly under the guidance of teachers, especially during sight-reading exercises. They should be allowed to learn from mistakes and be encouraged to explore and take risks so as to build up self-confidence.
  • Types of written examination questions showed sufficient variety; however, too much emphasis was put on the evaluation of students' knowledge on music theory. Some schools did not assess aural skills.
  • Assessment results were made available in reports at various levels. Teachers should make use of such information to evaluate their teaching effectiveness so as to improve their teaching plans and methodology.
  • Some schools encouraged students to collect and organise information through project learning or concert reports. However, clear guidelines should be given to students, and such assignments should match the teaching objectives at various levels and the resources at the library.
  • Library books on music were inadequate and they had not been made full use of. More CDs and CD-ROMs should be purchased to support schools' IT development. Library resources should be optimised to promote self-learning among students.
3.27 Physical Education

General Comments
  • The quality of learning and teaching was good. Teachers placed emphasis on the promotion of subject related activities to complement the formal curriculum. However, the sports culture in some schools was barely satisfactory due to inadequate sports facilities, insufficient human resources and examination-oriented school policies.
  • Students' performance in physical fitness and mastery of skills was acceptable. Most schools actively participated in inter-school sports competitions so as to widen students' exposure. Some schools had achieved outstanding results in some of the events.
  • Schools had taken appropriate measures in safety precautions and formulated proper procedures in handling accidents. Most PE teachers had received first-aid training.
Key Strengths
  • Team co-operation among teachers on the panel was good in most of the schools inspected. Peer lesson observation was adopted in some schools to improve the teaching quality.
  • The curriculum was well planned with a balanced choice of activities for students at various levels to help them develop various basic skills. Health related fitness programme was duly emphasised in the curriculum to bring about students' awareness of their physical fitness condition. Students in the senior levels were also introduced to the less popular sports activities with an aim to broaden students' learning experiences.
  • A rich variety of extra-curricular sport activities was organised to complement the formal curriculum and develop students' potentials. Some schools employed part-time instructors and deployed non-PE teachers to provide activities for students. Some schools encouraged students to take part in training programmes run by national sports associations to advance their potentials.
  • All PE teachers observed were subject trained. Most teachers were able to plan their lessons systematically. Instructions and explanations were precise. Demonstrations given by them were clear and accurate. The relationship between teacher and students was good. The learning atmosphere was also pleasant. Class routine was systematically developed which helped enhance classroom management as well as the effectiveness of class activities.
  • Most students were attentive and showed strong interest in learning. They were eager to take part in learning activities. Students were well disciplined and able to follow teacher's instructions. Collaboration among students was good.
  • Most of the schools had put in place clear policies for the effective assessment of pupils' learning outcome. The frequency of assessment was also appropriate. Some schools had developed a computerized system to record students' achievements in various areas. It helped teachers to retrieve and update information efficiently.
  • Most schools rendered adequate support for the development of the subject and allocated sufficient funds for the purchase of equipment, organisation of sports activities and the participation in inter-school competitions. Some schools made good use of the nearby public facilities to provide diversified learning experiences for students.
Areas for Improvement
  • The design of evaluation was not closely linked with the objectives and the implementation strategies. In-depth evaluation on panel administration, teaching effectiveness and curriculum design was not evident in most schools. Follow-up plans for future development were not properly drawn up.
  • The write up of teaching programme was often prepared by individual teachers. The continuity of learning at various levels was not adequately addressed.
  • The support from non-PE teachers to promote subject related activities was not common. Most PE teachers were overloaded with duties. As a result, the promotion of ECAs was adversely affected.
  • Some schools were too concerned about results of inter-school competitions. The provision of interest groups for the majority of the students was relatively insufficient.
  • Teachers focused too much on verbal explanation in their teaching. The learning activities were not properly organised in accordance with the teaching objectives. Interaction between teachers and students was insufficient. The pace of teaching was too slow. There were insufficient activity opportunities provided for students to sustain their learning. The learning activities were not diversified and unable to arouse students' interest. Most teachers had low expectations of students' performance. Praise and encouragement given to students were insufficient.
  • Students were passive in learning and lacked spirit to strive hard for excellence.
  • Mark distribution of various assessment areas was not clear. In some schools, theoretical elements were not included in their assessment system.
  • Reference materials such as books, magazines, AV materials and CD ROMs etc., were insufficient.
3.28 Business-related Subjects

(Business-related subjects include Business Studies and Principles of Accounts offered at S6-S7 levels; Commerce, Principles of Accounts, Word Processing & Business Communication and Typewriting offered at S4-S5 levels, as well as Bookkeeping and Business Fundamentals offered at S1-S3 levels.)
General Comments
  • In the schools inspected, the passing percentages of the students in the HKCEE and HKALE varied greatly.
  • Students were prepared for the public examinations administered by the Hong Kong Examinations Authority as well as some other external examinations offered by the Pitman Qualifications, LCCI Examination Board and the Hong Kong Association of Accounting Technicians.
Key Strengths
  • The majority of the teachers possessed sound subject knowledge. Lessons were well prepared. Teachers' presentation, instruction and demonstration were found to be clear, systematic and suitable to students' standards.
  • The adoption of Chinese as the medium of instruction in S4-5 Commerce significantly improved the learning atmosphere, class interaction and learning outcomes.
  • Most of the students were well behaved and attentive in class. They showed a positive attitude towards learning.
Areas for Improvement
  • Implementation actions as listed in the subjects' programme plans were found to be general. More concrete suggestions could be made in the programme plans to match the annual learning and teaching objectives of the school and the subjects. Specific follow-up strategies should also be drawn up after the evaluation of the programme plans had been conducted.
  • Students' interest in the subjects would be further promoted if relevant extra-curricular activities could be designed and organised.
  • Some teachers had made use of IT facilities to assist teaching of the business subjects. However, application of IT skills to the learning and teaching of the subjects was still not very common.
  • Teaching was both teacher-led and examination-oriented. Traditional teaching strategies such as "expository" and "question-and-answer" methods were extensively used. Undue emphasis was placed on mechanical drilling of examination techniques. During the teaching process, teachers did not always give encouragement and praise students to boost their self-confidence and sense of achievement. A variety of teaching strategies should be adopted to enhance the effectiveness of teaching.
  • Most students appeared to be quite passive learners and they lacked competence in critical thinking. Teachers should encourage students to take the initiative to ask questions or clarify problems.
  • Some assignments and examination papers set for Commerce were composed of largely factual recall type questions. Examination papers of this type could not help students understand the latest developments of the business world, neither could they be reliable tools to assess adequately students' various abilities.
  • Provision for learning and teaching resources such as library books and audio-visual materials was inadequate.
3.29 Technology-related Subjects

(Design & Technology, Technology Fundamentals, Technological Studies, Metalwork, Electrical Studies, Electronics & Electricity and Information Technology)
General Comments
  • 12 schools inspected offered Design & Technology at the junior secondary level, and one offered Design & Technology at S4 - S5 levels. Besides, one of the schools inspected offered other technology-related subjects.
  • The overall quality of learning and teaching was considered acceptable.
  • In the schools inspected, students' performance in the HKCEE was in general below the territory average of day schools. However, some of the students performed well in such open contests as the "Joint School Robotic Olympiad".
  • Students showed interest in the learning of the technology-related subjects. They developed their various learning abilities through activities such as data collection, analyses, design, model making and evaluation. They were equipped with the basic knowledge of design and technology, and were capable of using hand tools and machines during workshop activities. However, their performance in graphical communication was generally unsatisfactory.
Key Strengths
  • Management of the subject departments of the schools inspected was good. Materials relevant to the curriculum and subject departments were well-maintained and comprehensive for teachers' easy reference.
  • In addition to classroom teaching, most schools organised extra-curricular activities and encouraged students to participate in open contests so as to enhance their interest and broaden their learning experiences.;
  • Most teachers were professionally trained. Their lessons were well prepared with lucid and systematic presentation. Class management was effective and the teacher-student relationship was good.
  • Most students showed interest in learning the technology-related subjects. They were attentive in class and were able to complete the assigned tasks. Students were well behaved and class discipline was good.
  • Schools adopted continuous assessment with explicit marking schemes to evaluate students' knowledge, skills and learning attitude.
  • Some of the schools made full use of external resources and increased the IT facilities in workshops in support of the subject.
Areas for Improvement
  • Some of the schools had clearly spelt out the teaching objectives. However, the curriculum content did not cover focus areas of these subjects, and the teaching programme failed to explicitly elaborate the key teaching points. Most schools did not conduct reviews and follow-ups of the whole years' work for enhancing the effectiveness of learning and teaching.
  • Class teaching was mostly teacher-centred and interactive learning opportunities for students were inadequate. Some of the teachers failed to make full use of questioning techniques to inspire students' thinking, and instructions given to students were not clear enough.
  • Students mostly followed teachers' instructions but seldom took the initiative to ask questions and share experience with their peers. Some of the students were not conscious enough of safety during workshop practices and did not observe workshop safety regulations.
  • In marking students' assignments, most teachers did not provide adequate feedback to students and follow-up on their corrections. Neither did they make known to students their overall academic performance to further foster their learning. The content and format of some of the homework had yet to be improved so as to avoid mechanical transcription.
  • Teachers did not conduct full reviews and analyses of students' academic performance for adjusting teaching strategies and enhancing teaching effectiveness.
  • Most library books on technology were outdated. Utilisation of library books by students was also limited.
  • The management of some workshops was found unsatisfactory with sundry items improperly placed, machines and hand tools not well maintained, and items in the first-aid box not replaced or having exceeded their expiry date.