In the past, people tended to set educational goals with much emphasis on cognitive outcomes other than social and affective ones (Shavelson et al, 1976). Even though some educators had made great effort in calling attention to the importance of the educational goals in the other aspects, the major concern of educational outcomes shifted from time to time. In the 1960's educators and counseling psychologists evoked a great interest of research in the study on "humanistic" basis (Lew, 1967; Shavelson et al, 1976). The study of the self concept, then, became more and more popular. Educators and psychologists also became enthusiastic in looking for the ways to enhance the development of the self concept after the relationship between this non-cognitive factor and achievement was confirmed.
In Hong Kong there were few researches in this area. The study by Lau Sing (1980) was one of the rare examples. The writer observed the situation of education in Hong Kong, and found that there were two major problems severely disturbing the education system. One of them was the instruction media, another, the prestige of the schools. As the number of schools labelled as "Anglo-Chinese Secondary School" was increasing, the call for the use of mother tongue grew stonger and stronger. This indicated a major conflict in the education sector. Perhaps it reflected the conflict in the point of view between the Hong Kong Government and the public. But, if we did not know what would result in the students, nobody could evaluate the effect. Siu (1982) stated the detailed relationship between the instruction media and the cognitive development. But the relationship between the instruction media and the self concept was still unknown.
The problem about the prestige of the schools seemed simple, but the deterioration in the education system was very important also. We could find that hundreds of people queued for the application forms for the places of much prestigious schools. The much prestigious schools would sort out the kinds of children they preferred by various means, such as examination, family religions, and family history et catera. This indicated that most people preferred the much prestigious schools, but the much prestigious schools did not accept all kinds of students. Now, we just knew that over-emphasis on examinations would hinder the development of children. The effect of the school prestige on students' self concept was still unknown. If the education system in Hong Kong was student-centered, the knowledge of the effects of these conflicts on students would be helpful for the improvement of the education services. Therefore, the writer became more and more interested in studying the effect of the instruction media and the schools' prestige on the students' self concept.