Students in two minds on old-school exam

Local | Sophie Hui 3 Apr 2019

Some students taking the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Chinese listening exam chose to play it safe by listening to two radios at the same time in order to minimize the risk of disruption.

The students criticized the arrangement of using radios as "old school."

Their criticism comes after a youth group - Youth New World - proposed that centralized broadcasting should replace radios in listening exams.

The group interviewed 939 students about to sit for the DSE exam in December and found 61 percent of them had no experience of using traditional radios.

The Chinese exam continued yesterday, with candidates having to take the listening and integrated skills test, which makes up 18 percent of the marks in the whole Chinese language subject.

A Pui Ching Middle School student, surnamed Lau, said she brought two radios to the exam, using earphones to listen to both.

"I turned on both radios. If there is interference on one of them, I can take out the earphone from one ear, and listen to the other side," she said.

Another DSE student, surnamed Keung, said she had to go to the special exam room to do the test since there was a weak signal at her seat.

"I think it is old school that the exam authority still asks us to use radios in the exam, and we only do the exam once," she said.

She hopes the government can provide schools with more money to install infrared transmission systems in exam venues, so that students' exam results won't be affected by the quality of the broadcast.

In yesterday's exam, the recording was about a discussion between a teacher and two students on what an ideal world is.

Classics were cited in the recording, including Utopia by Thomas More.

Another part asked candidates to write an essay on building a community, in which they had to talk about two features of a livable city.

They then needed to choose a theme for their plan, and explain their choice.

Wong Mei-kei, who teaches Chinese language at Ning Po College, said the topic in the listening exam was similar to the previous one, but students had to understand the meaning behind the metaphors and Chinese idioms.

The liberal studies exam is on today.

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