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Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco Issue 68
International Study Shows Hong Kong Students’ Outstanding Performance in Reading Literacy, Mathematics and Science

The Education Bureau (EDB) said that it was glad to learn that Hong Kong students had maintained their outstanding performance in both the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2011 and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2011.

“The performance of Hong Kong students was remarkable. In reading literacy, our Primary Four (P4) students ranked first. In mathematics, P4 students ranked third and Secondary Two (S2) students ranked fourth. As for science, P4 students ranked ninth and S2 students ranked eighth. It was indeed not an easy task for their achievement to be consistently well above the international average and with rankings always amongst the top ten,” an EDB spokesman said.

Both PIRLS 2011 and TIMSS 2011 were organized by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). There were 45 countries/regions participating in PIRLS 2011, which aims to assess the mother tongue reading literacy of students aged 9 to 10 in the fourth grade (P4 in Hong Kong). As for TIMSS, there were 53 and 45 countries/regions participating in the assessments at Grade 4 (P4 in Hong Kong) and Grade 8 (S2 in Hong Kong) respectively. TIMSS 2011 aims to study achievements in mathematics and science at these two levels.

“The outstanding performance of Hong Kong students in PIRLS 2011 should be attributed to the continuous efforts made by schools and teachers. They have taken up the new Chinese Language curriculum and engaged in targeted professional development. All education professionals know the importance of reading for better learning. As for TIMSS, Hong Kong students on the whole had an outstanding performance in TIMSS 2011. It is indeed a great challenge to maintain a high ranking in various international studies. It is normal for the ranking to have minor fluctuations over time, but Hong Kong students have sustained an excellent performance continuously. The achievement is indeed encouraging,” he emphasized.

For reading literacy, a greater percentage of Hong Kong students have reached the high and advanced levels of the international benchmark. In particular, the number of those reaching the advanced level increased from 15 per cent in PIRLS 2006 to 18 per cent in PIRLS 2011. Hong Kong students did the best among all 45 participating countries/regions in reading for informational purposes (a score of 578), as well as in the higher order reading skills (integrating and evaluating) (a score of 578).

In mathematics, Hong Kong P4 students demonstrated a consistent remarkable performance. Though the ranking dropped slightly from the first in TIMSS 2007 to third in TIMSS 2011, Hong Kong’s score of 602 was, statistically, not significantly different from the first and second jurisdictions (Singapore (606) and the Republic of Korea (605)). At S2, the performance was comparable to that in TIMSS 2007, with the ranking maintained at fourth.

In science, Hong Kong P4 students’ ranking dropped from third in TIMSS 2007 to ninth in TIMSS 2011. As for the S2 students, their ranking rose from ninth to eighth and Hong Kong's score of 535 was, statistically, not significantly different from the sixth and seventh jurisdictions (Slovenia (543) and the Russian Federation (542)).

“The continuous remarkable performance of Hong Kong students once again shows that Hong Kong education is heading in the right direction. It was also the result of the concerted efforts of schools, teachers and stakeholders in providing quality education for our students,” he said.

The EDB spokesman added that the EDB would analyze the findings of the studies in detail and would continue to collaborate with the education sector, parents and members of the community to maintain the balanced development and high performance of students.

 

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