The Territory-wide System Assessment for schools has been suspended this year due to the pandemic, according to the Education Bureau.
The suspension will include all speaking and pen-and-paper assessments, allowing schools to "make the most out of the remainder of the current school year to conduct face-to-face lessons," the bureau said yesterday.
The TSA is an annual performance assessment for primary three and six, as well as secondary three, students in the three subjects of Chinese language, English language and mathematics.
First initiated in 2004, they were used by the Education Bureau to monitor students' progress and the effectiveness of teaching on the part of schools.
However, it has attracted scrutiny in recent years as schools have turned to drilling students for such assessments, further increasing study pressure.
Although the bureau has called off the assessment this year, testing materials have already been prepared.
For the second year, the bureau will collaborate with the Examinations and Assessment Authority and Education City to offer schools the option of testing students with the prepared materials.
Schools can test their students with materials prepared and consolidated by the HKEAA in the original pen-and-paper mode or in an online assessment on the Student Assessment Repository platform by Education City "so as to understand the learning situation of students due to the pandemic and follow up on their support needs," the bureau said.
The EDB and the HKEAA will organize sessions in late April to brief schools on arrangements and participation details.
Education City will also enhance functions on the STAR platform between March and April to support the online tests, the details of which will be given during the briefing sessions.
Separately, the Education Bureau also slammed the media for making "unfounded accusations" about national security education.
In a statement on its website yesterday, it said it is unreasonable to label such education as "brainwashing children."
The bureau has also made an animated video to help children understand the basic principles of national security.
In the video, a boy asks how children can contribute to society and to the country, to which a girl answers: "We have to obey the law and regulations."