1989.第4卷(Vol. 4).pp. 21–27


The Effects of Change in the Medium of Instruction from English to Chinese on the Academic Achievement of Students

蕭炳基、麥思源(Ping-Kee SIU & Se-Yuen MAK)




This study investigated the effect of switching the medium of instruction from English to Chinese on the academic achievement of students. The experimental group consisted of 238 Form One Students from an aided co-educational secondary school in Kowloon urban area in 87/88. The school pioneered the change in language of instruction from English to Chinese in all Social Science subjects in Form 1 from September 1987 onwards.

The academic achievement of the experimental group was compared against that of a group of students in the same school before the announced change and also with two groups of students in two control schools. One control school with students of similar ability and the other is an Anglo-Chinese school with students of slightly lower ability.

Graded multiple-choice test, designed by the Educational Research Establishment, on 5 subjects: English, Chinese, Science, Mathematics and History were given to 86/87 Form 1, 87/88 Form 2 and 87/88 Form 1 students at the end of the school year in all 3 schools. T-scores of these subjects, adjusted with the AAT results of the students, were used to compare achievement and progress of the students across subjects and across Form-levels. The following results were observed.

(1) Students taught in Chinese learned much more History in one year than their counterparts taught in English. No significant difference in progress was observed in two language subjects and in Science and Mathematics between the experimental group and their controls.

(2) The progress in English for students of below average ability, after being taught in English for two years, was found no better than their counterparts in a Chinese middle school. Their achievements in other subjects, in particular History, were also unsatisfactory.