Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
 
1 What is the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA)?
 

The Territory-wide System Assessment is an assessment administered at the territory level by the Government. The TSA is designed to gauge students' attainment of basic competencies (BC) in the three subjects of Chinese Language, English Language and Mathematics at the end of Key Stages 1-3 for the purpose of improving learning and teaching.

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2 What is the rationale for implementing the TSA?
 

The TSA results provide information about students' strengths and weaknesses against specific Basic Competencies. They help schools and teachers to enhance their plans on learning and teaching. The territory-wide data also help the Government to provide focused support to schools.

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3 What are the advantages of the TSA?
 
  • Participating schools are provided with the overall assessment results at the territory-wide level and at the school level so as to improve learning and teaching in their schools.
  • In the process of participating in the TSA, teachers can thoroughly understand the requirements of the current curriculum and enhance their professional knowledge with reference to this standard-referenced assessment.
  • The Government is provided with objective data so as to assess the effectiveness of the education policies.
  • The public is provided with the overall territory-wide data so as to understand the general performances of Hong Kong students in the three major subjects: Chinese Language, English Language and Mathematics.
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4 What is the assessment scope of the TSA? How is the TSA designed?
 
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5 How is the TSA conducted?
 
  • The TSA is conducted at the end of Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 (i.e. Primary 3, Primary 6 and Secondary 3 respectively).
  • This standard-referenced assessment is mainly focused on the Basic Competencies.
  • The design of the TSA is based on the Basic Competency (BC) Descriptors at the end of each Key Stage and the Curriculum Development Council (CDC) curriculum documents.
  • The TSA is conducted on designated dates every year. However, to relieve P.6 students from the pressure of facing frequent examinations, starting from 2012, an opt-in alternate-year arrangement has been adopted in the P.6 Assessment (i.e. the P.6 TSA has been suspended in even years).
  • Schools can participate in the P6 Assessment during gap years through voluntary participation according to their needs. Other schools can also request question papers for P.6 Chinese, English and Mathematics from the HKEAA for reference and for use by teachers and students so as to facilitate teaching.
  • Schools receiving government subsidies participate in the TSA. Each student is required to take only one sub-paper of each subject.
  • The TSA is mainly conducted in the pencil and paper mode, except for the oral assessments of Chinese Language and English Language.
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6 What kind of information is provided by the TSA reports?
 
  • Schools can download their school reports and various 'Item Analysis Reports' (including items sorted by BCs and by sub-papers) via the BCA website. Schools can make use of the data from the TSA reports and school assessments to identify the strengths and weaknesses of students, adjust learning and teaching strategies and draw up follow-up measures. They can download the Item Analysis Reports in the PDF and EXCEL formats. In addition to this, interactive online item analysis reports (sorted by BCs) are available for school use starting from 2014. These further facilitate schools' analysis of TSA data.
  • The TSA reports provide an overview of how students in each school perform against the territory-wide basic competency standard in Chinese Language, English Language and Mathematics. (The number and percentage of students achieving BC of the three subjects are only disclosed to individual secondary schools starting from 2014.)
  • The territory-wide assessment reports with territory-wide data are made available to the general public and the Government.
  • The participating schools are provided with their own school data.
  • No assessment results for individual students are made available.
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7 What are the principles when using the TSA data?
 
  • Comparison on the performances among schools should not be made.
  • Comparison on the performances among students should not be made.
  • Access of school data is restricted to each individual school.
  • Schools have to follow the protocol strictly to avoid any misuse of information.
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8 Will the results of the TSA affect students' achievement? Are the TSA results related to the allocation of Secondary School places?
 

No. Individual students' results are not listed in the TSA school report. Hence, TSA results do not affect the advancement of students and are not related to the Secondary School Places Allocation mechanism.

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9 How do schools help in implementing the TSA effectively?
 
  • Schools should fully understand and acknowledge the purposes for the implementation of the TSA.
  • Schools and teachers should participate and help in the implementation of the TSA.
  • Schools are welcome to provide valuable feedback on ways to improve the implementation of the TSA.
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10 Is it necessary for schools to arrange extra practice for students in preparing the TSA?
 

No. The basic competencies represent just part of the curriculum requirements. Schools are only required to draw up their curriculum according to the curriculum documents and their own needs. Schools should not change their teaching and assessment methods solely because of the TSA. Over-drilling not only weakens students' interest in learning but also affects the rest time of teachers and students, resulting in unnecessary pressure. In the long term, this will make students lose the motivation to learn and affect their progress in the next key stage.

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11 How do schools cooperate with parents in order to promote positive messages of TSA?
 

Schools can make use of notices, parents' day, parent-teacher association, school activities and seminars to disseminate the significance of TSA and to alleviate parents' misunderstanding of TSA. The messages include:

  • TSA is not for mark submission; students' individual results are not disclosed and so TSA will definitely not affect the advancement of students or secondary school place allocation;
  • The coverage of TSA is confined to the basic competencies which are only part of the curriculum requirements;
  • TSA can help teachers identify the overall students' learning difficulties so as to improve teaching to deal with them; and
  • Excessive and mechanical drilling only reduces students' learning interest and does not help them learn in a healthy way.
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12 What are the support measures provided for Non-Chinese Speaking (NCS) Students to participate in the Chinese Language assessment of TSA?
 

Measures to support NCS students in taking Chinese Language assessments in the TSA include:

  1. A bilingual version of "instructions to students" (a sample of P.3, P.6 and S.3) is provided in the form of a supplementary sheet in Writing, Reading, CAV, Listening and Speaking assessments to enable NCS students to have a better understanding of the requirements for answering questions;
  2. Schools may read aloud the writing topic to the NCS students at the start of the Writing assessment;
  3. An instruction sheet (a sample of P.3, P.6 and S.3) with further information specifying the answering requirements for the Chinese Reading assessment is distributed to the invigilator who may read out the answering requirements to NCS students as needed before the assessment starts. This ensures the NCS students understand the answering requirements;
  4. For the Listening assessment, two copies of a special version of CD (with all the questions and answer options read aloud) for NCS students at P.6 and S.3 levels are provided; and
  5. For the CAV assessment, two copies of a special version of VCD (with all the questions and answer options read aloud) for NCS students are provided.
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13 What are the support measures provided for students requiring special educational needs (SEN) to participate in the TSA?
 

Given that the TSA is a low-stakes assessment which serves as an assessment tool for schools to enhance learning and teaching, students with special educational needs are strongly encouraged to take part in it. Therefore, support measures according to the usual practice in schools have been provided to accommodate the needs of students with special educational needs in attempting the TSA.

Upon requests from schools, the measures for SEN students include the following:

  1. Extension of assessment time;
  2. Use of coloured paper (i.e. green) ;
  3. single-paged printing of question papers;
  4. double spacing answer areas; and
  5. Students with visual disabilities can choose Braille scripts or use screen readers to answer: for use in screen readers, encrypted 'WORD' files with assessment content are delivered to schools by the HKEAA on the days of assessment.
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14 What is the format of user password?
 
School Administrator and Teacher
Length 8 – 12
Characters Alpha-numeric (no space)
Combination of number & letter

Password should not include user name
Unsuccessful attempt 10
Password history 1
Password age 180 days
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15 For any enquiries, please contact:
 
Subject and assessment related matters 3628 8188
Technical support related to online services3628 8177
Assessment administration (Primary schools)3628 8181
Assessment administration (Secondary schools)3628 8191
Education Bureau: Assistant Secretary (Assessment and Support)2921 8943
Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority: General Manager (Education Assessment Services) Dr. LAM Ling Chi, Tenny3628 8100
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