Hong Kong students have shown a steady performance in mathematical, scientific, and reading literacy in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2022, continuously surpassing the international average, according to the Educational Bureau (EDB). The study, organized by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, assesses 15-year-olds’ literacy in these areas. Since 2000, PISA has been conducted in three-year cycles. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the eighth cycle of PISA was postponed to 2022, with participation of a total of 81 countries or economies. Conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), it included 5,907 students from 163 secondary schools in Hong Kong.

Steady Rise in Math & Science, Challenge in Reading Literacy for HK Students Amidst Pandemic

steam education hong kong
STEAM education is a focus of the Science curriculu in Hong Kong. (© Memedozaslan via Canva)

Despite pandemic-related challenges, including intermittent suspension of face-to-face classes, Hong Kong students excelled, particularly in mathematical and scientific literacy. The city’s ranking in mathematical literacy remained fourth with a score of 540, well above the international average of 472. In scientific literacy, Hong Kong advanced to seventh place from ninth, scoring 520 compared to the international average of 485. The Education Bureau (EDB) attributes this to the effectiveness of the teaching and the continuous enhancement of the Science curriculum, along with a focus on STEAM education.

However, in mother tongue reading literacy, Hong Kong’s ranking dropped to 11th from fourth, with a score decreasing from 524 to 500. The CUHK Project Team suggests that the suspension of face-to-face classes and reduced school life could have affected the reading atmosphere. The EDB plans to address this by promoting “Reading to Learn” strategies and providing resources to schools.

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The PISA 2022 results also highlighted education equity in Hong Kong, with socio-economic status having minimal impact on students’ performance. This emphasizes the Hong Kong education system’s ability to provide high-quality and equal educational opportunities, facilitating social mobility.

The EDB commends students, schools, teachers, and stakeholders for their adaptability during the pandemic and vows to review and enhance learning and teaching strategies, particularly in reading, to further boost student performance.

Header image credit: Ababsolutum via Canva

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Growing up between Hong Kong and various other countries, Renee is a hospitality graduate, an adventure enthusiast, with a newfound passion for writing. When she’s not discovering hidden gems and new eats on Instagram, you'll most likely find her sweating at the gym, sipping on fine wine with friends, solving mysteries in crime movies, or jet-setting to new countries.

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