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Education Bureau concludes New Academic Structure Medium-term Review
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     A spokesman for the Education Bureau (EDB) said today (June 29) that the New Academic Structure (NAS) Medium-term Review has been completed and recommendations on the curriculum and systemic level as well as the public assessment have been made.

     The spokesman said that in order to ensure the best possible learning benefits for students, to maintain international benchmarking and recognition, and to stabilise the NAS, the following recommendations on the curriculum and systemic level have been made:        

The Seven Learning Goals were agreed by a consensus of the school community, but in view of a changing world and society, the Goals would be revised to change with the times;

The total lesson time for the three-year senior secondary curriculum (SS) would be adjusted from 2,700 to 2,400200 hours, giving schools flexibility while ensuring international recognition;
 
The total lesson time for "Other Learning Experiences" (OLE) would be adjusted from 15-35 per cent to 10-15 per cent, giving schools greater flexibility in curriculum planning;

While maintaining the existing curriculum framework, i.e. four core subjects plus 2 or 3 elective subjects plus OLE to stabilise the ecology of schools, to facilitate more effective learning and teaching, and a smooth interface between the junior and secondary curricula, the 24 SS subjects would be updated, fine-tuned and/or their breadth and depth be clarified to address schools' concerns; and converting Combined Science to "half subject" is not recommended;
 
40 Applied Learning (ApL) courses, including ApL Chinese (for non-Chinese speaking students), help cater for learner diversity. Twelve courses have been linked to the Qualifications Framework (QF); and the linking of more courses to the QF would be explored. The piloting of early course commencement at S4 commenced in the 2014/15 school year to enhance the choice and flexibility of student learning. Feedback on implementation is being collected from stakeholders.;
 
SS students, especially those of high ability, would be encouraged to take three elective subjects (a maximum of four elective subjects) for further studies and career development; students who have an interest in furthering vocational education might consider taking ApL courses; and
 
To ensure a smooth interface from SS to higher education, communication with the post-secondary sector would be strengthened to encourage them to provide more diverse and clearer specifications for student admissions, e.g. Best 5 or Best 6 results; to seek recognition of Module 1/Module 2 of the Mathematics Extended Part as well as ApL courses; schools are also encouraged to make optimal use of the current "exit and re-entry" mechanism to provide different courses which accommodate students' diverse abilities and interests.

     The spokesman added that taking into consideration the workload of students and teachers, and the need to maintain curriculum objectives and international benchmarking as well as admission requirements of post-secondary courses, the following recommendations on public assessment have been made:  

Among the 24 SS subjects, the public examinations of 17 subjects would be fine-tuned, e.g. by adjusting the weighting or examination time, increasing the question types or combining the examination papers;
    
School-based Assessment (SBA) has been trimmed and would be implemented in 14 of the 24 Category A subjects;
 
The grading of Category A subjects would be maintained, i.e. levels 1B2B3B4B5B5*B5**, to facilitate admissions consideration by local and overseas tertiary institutions; and
 
The reporting of students' performance in ApL subjects would be further refined from the existing two levels of "Attained" and "Attained with Distinction" to "Attained", "Attained with Distinction (I)" and "Attained with Distinction (II)". "Attained with Distinction (I)" would be comparable to level 3 while "Attained with Distinction (II)" would be comparable to level 4 or above of the Category A subjects of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) Examination, effective from the 2018 HKDSE Examination.

     The Chairperson of the Curriculum Development Council (CDC), Professor Kenneth Young said, "Students' enthusiasm and good performance in universities/post-secondary institutions or at work have reflected that the Learning Goals of the SS curriculum have been broadly achieved. Survey results, which showed that personal efforts, interest and teaching methods of teachers are the top three factors of success in the HKDSE Examination, have debunked the myths of excessive extra lessons after school and private tuition.     

     "The completion of the Medium-term Review is by no means the end of our efforts to improve the school curriculum. Rather, under Learning to Learn 2.0, we are entering a new phase of continual renewal. We will continue to fine-tune the curriculum at the primary and secondary levels to help students excel."  

     The Chairperson of the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) Public Examinations Board, Ms Ruth Shek said, "Curriculum and assessment are part and parcel of the complete student's holistic learning experiences. Under Learning to Learn 2.0, we will continue to work closely with the CDC and the EDB in ensuring the alignment between curriculum and assessment in their continual process of renewal. We will also continue to improve our existing examination quality assurance mechanism, as well as explore better use of examination data to benefit student learning."

     The EDB will continue to provide follow-up support measures to help schools cater for learner diversity and build up the professional capacity to improve the implementation of the NAS.
  
     The SS curriculum and assessment are important components of the NAS. The EDB, the CDC and the HKEAA launched the NAS Review in October 2012 to improve the delivery of the SS curriculum and assessment as well as to interface with matters under the NAS by stages and in an ongoing manner. Review recommendations of all stages have been based on benefits of student learning and professional principles. The Short-term Review fine-tuning measures were announced in swift response to the practical concerns of schools, e.g. workload of students and teachers. The Medium-term Review has taken a holistic approach in response to the recent macro changes such as economic, scientific, technological and social developments.
 
     More details on the review recommendations of all stages can be accessed on the EDB website (www.edb.gov.hk/nas/review/en). Related school circular will be issued in early July.

Ends/Monday, June 29, 2015
Issued at HKT 15:45

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