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China to Take International Student Assessment Ranking
Students aged 15 from China's mainland, Macao and Hong Kong will have their basic skill assessed and ranked with their peers from 40 countries and regions through the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Yu Wei, an official with the Education and Youth Affairs Service in the Macao Special Administrative Region government, told Xinhua Friday that China's mainland, Macao and Hong Kong have respectively entered this year's PISA program for the first time, which is run by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The result of the ranking will be turned out by 2005.

He said that 1,333 students of the right age will be randomly selected from Macao's 39 high schools to take the assessment in June, which will account for 18 percent of the total children aged15 in the Macao SAR.

PISA, is held every two years, as one of the most authoritative international student assessment research programs. The first PISA research started in 2000, which showed that students from northern European and East Asian countries ranked ahead in reading skills.

The second PISA assessment will give more focus on mathematics and basic skills to solve problems that are commonly seen in social life, said Yu, an organizer of the program in Macao.

Since assessment questions are not directly related to textbook knowledge, students do not need to make any preparations for the test, he said.

Students of the age are mostly in Grade Three in junior high schools, which represents the final year of the nine-year long compulsory education in the Macao SAR.

The assessment ranking will indicate the standard of Macao's compulsory education, as compared with that in other countries and regions, Yu said.

The result is also expected to provide reference data for making educational policies and reform in Macao, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency April 25, 2003)

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