A total of 93 Hong Kong students attained a perfect score in the International Baccalaureate (IB) exams this year, 37 fewer than in 2021 despite more candidates sitting the tests.
The number of local candidates in the latest round of exams increased from 2,193 last year to 2,213. They were among more than 173,878 students worldwide who received their IB diploma and vocational programme results on Wednesday.
Globally, 640 candidates scored 45 points, down from last year’s 1,155 but up on the 339 recorded in 2020.
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Among the 93 top scorers in Hong Kong, 36 were from the English Schools Foundation (ESF), five from Diocesan Boys’ School in Mong Kok, four from Po Leung Kuk Choi Kai Yau School and one from Victoria Shanghai Academy.
Despite the drop in the number of top scorers this year, some school managers insisted it was not related to the surge in the number of students who withdrew amid the Covid-19 pandemic and a citywide emigration trend, saying the number of candidates was similar to last year.
Of the 12 top scorers at St Paul’s Co-educational College in Mid-Levels, five have decided to pursue their studies at prestigious universities in the United States and the United Kingdom and five others decided to stay in Hong Kong. The remaining two have yet to make up their minds.
Jason Chan Chun-sing, 17, said he would study science at Cambridge University in the UK.
“There’s a lot of Nobel laureates from the school – it’ll be really cool to see those professors and be in the atmosphere,” he said.
Grace Tai Tzu-chun, 18, said that even though she planned to attend the University of Pennsylvania, a US Ivy League institution, she would return to Hong Kong after her studies.
“I grew up in Hong Kong. I am not ready to let go of the city. I really want to bring back my expertise and give back to the community that helped me grow,” she said.
At Victoria Shanghai Academy in Aberdeen, top scorer Jason Huang Junsong, 18, will study law at University College London with the goal of addressing climate change and “contributing to the local community” after his studies.
“I want to contribute to the process of resolving this crisis that all generations face,” he said, adding that he hoped to one day work with the United Nations and help draw up a system of international law to tackle the climate crisis.
Aaron Chin Lap-to, 18, from the Canadian International School of Hong Kong in Aberdeen, shared his secrets for success.
He said perseverance, motivation and good relationships with peers and teachers for exchanges of knowledge were key.
Chin, who is one of the four top scorers from his school, said he would take a degree in business studies at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
At Diocesan Boys’ School in Mong Kok, five students received a full score of 45 points, including Anson Ieung Ho-kwan, 18.
He will study aeronautical engineering at Cambridge University and also said he had no plans to live abroad after graduation.
“I hope to leverage my passion for mathematics and physics to contribute to our world,” he said.
Headmaster Ronnie Cheng Kay-yen said, despite the drop this year, he was satisfied because the school’s average score of 42 points was among the highest in the past decade.
“Actually under the pandemic, the IB results across the world had observed some abnormalities and differences,” he said, explaining the fluctuations.
At PLK Choi Kai Yau School in Sham Shui Po, four students scored 45 points, including Eunice Lee See-heng, who plans to pursue medical studies in Hong Kong and work in the city after graduation.
“I have always wanted to become a doctor since kindergarten. In recent years, we can see how Hong Kong has been through a lot, with frontline medical staff doing a lot,” she said.
“I hope to stay in the city, be a part of the medical system and contribute to society.”
Olli-Pekka Heinonen, IB director general, said students in Hong Kong had shown resilience, adaptability and commitment.
The IB said it understood that students around the world continued to face disruptions to their lives and learning because of the coronavirus pandemic and that it had made changes to minimise the damage, including adjustments to learning, teaching and assessment for the exam.
The organisation explained that the effect of the pandemic on students was taken into account during the grade-awarding process.
“Appropriate grade boundaries were set to account for the disruption to education. A review of results was undertaken to ensure the IB mitigated the disruption students faced,” it said, adding that it had developed a procedure to award grades without written exams as a contingency measure.
The IB told the Post that grade boundaries were adjusted each year and took into consideration the views of expert senior examiners and teachers, as well as students’ performance.
It said that it had returned incrementally to established standards, in line with the practices of other qualifications and international exam boards.
A series of checks was designed to ensure fair grades were awarded and that quality assurance of grades stemmed from scrutiny and human judgment rather than automated processes.
The IB, which offers students an internationally accredited qualification to enter higher education institutions, is a two-year programme for those between the ages of 16 and 19. They are required to take six subjects and complete three components, including an extended essay.
Reporting by: William Yiu, Edith Lin, Yanni Chow, Kelly Fung, Sue Ng, Charmaine Choi, Chester Wong.
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