English Standard

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General English standard of students

Question 1: How bad is the situation?

1. HKEAA recently completed the first administration of the TSA of Primary 3 students to assess their performance against professionally defined competences in Chinese, English and Mathematics.  Surprisingly, there are 25% of students who fail in English.

2. In the 2009 HKCEE and HKALE English examinations, there are some unacceptable mistakes such as some students spelled banana wrongly to ‘’banna’’ and ‘’bananna’’.
3. In the 2010 HKCEE English examination, there are more than half of the Hong Kong students got grade two or even lower grades.

Question 2: Consequences of the falling/rising English standard

1. Professor Barger said students’ declining command of English might affect the city’s ability to innovate and compete in the global economy. It is difficult for students to communicate with other global businessmen after they find a job.

2. It is not surprising that even the top rank government officials, who are the elite of the elite and supposedly the experts in Standard English, are still making grammatical mistakes in their well-prepared English essays.

3. Employers, especially those in the service industry, complain of difficulties in hiring English-speaking staff. Tourists voice their frustration at not being understood, while expatriates find it increasingly hard to communicate with the locals. This affects the international image of Hong Kong directly.

Question 3: Who are responsible for the fall/rise?

1. School
The falling rate in writing (66.67%) and oral (49.29%) sections of the Language Proficiency Assessment Test for the in service or prospect English teachers of Hong Kong shocked the public. That means teachers in schools cannot be a good model for students. Although English is taught from kindergarten, Cantonese is usually used for extra explanation.

2. Family
The predominant language used by over 98% of...
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