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LCQ10: Assessment methods for HKCEE


Following is a question by the Hon Raymond Ho and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (May 19):

Question :

It has been reported that the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority ("HKEAA") is going to revamp the assessment methods for the Chinese Language and English Language subjects in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination ("HKCEE"). The reforms include replacing the "norm-referencing" (commonly known as "drawing curves") approach with the "standards-referencing" approach, which can only reflect the changes in individual candidates' own level of academic performance in the subject concerned but not their performance in comparison with other candidates; adding an oral test and a listening test to the Chinese Language examination while abolishing the test in prescribed text; as well as increasing the weighting of candidates' school-based assessment in their HKCEE grades of the relevant subjects. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the countries that have adopted the "standards-referencing" approach and how the candidates assessed in that way can find out the academic standard they have attained compared to other candidates;

(b) of the measures in place to ensure students' knowledge of modern and traditional classics following the abolition of the test in prescribed text; and

(c) given the differences between the standards of students' performance in different schools, how HKEAA will ensure that, in implementing the above measure of increasing the weighting of candidates' school-based assessment, such assessment results can reflect the academic performance of school candidates, and whether this measure will also be applicable to private candidates; if so, of the details of such application?

Reply :

Madam President,

(a) A number of jurisdictions have adopted a standards-referenced approach to assessment of the kind proposed for Hong Kong. Some examples of standards-based approaches include the Higher School Certificate Examination for grade 12 students as used since 2001 in New South Wales, Australia; the International Baccalaureate Programme; the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in the USA, and the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Under the approach being considered for Hong Kong, there will be no less information than is currently made available on how well a student has performed relative to other students. The current approach to scoring student responses to examination questions and to assessing school-based work will continue. The key additional information that will be available under a standards-referenced approach is that when student grades/levels are reported, they will be accompanied by descriptions of what a particular grade/level implies about the performance of students awarded this grade/level. Such description will provide students and parents, teachers and schools, educational institutions and employers with more explicit information on what the students have learnt and can do.

(b) The newly revised Secondary Chinese Language Curriculum has been implemented in secondary one since 2002. The newly revised curriculum no longer specifies prescribed texts, giving much room to open learning materials. As a result, the part on examining prescribed texts in the Chinese Language examination will be abolished from the 2007 HKCEE onwards.

The newly revised curriculum has already specified the following -

*"to nurture students' aesthetic sense and mould their temperament" as one of its aims;

*"to nurture students' aesthetic sense, attitude and abilities" as learning target of "literature", one of the nine strands of learning; and

*"to recognize renowned literary authors and works" and "to comprehend simple pieces of classical Chinese" as requirements among the Suggested Learning Objectives.

To achieve the above, students have to learn from masterpieces of literary works, which are primarily traditional and modern classics. In other words, the students will acquire knowledge of the traditional and modern classics regardless of whether there are prescribed texts. Furthermore, allowing teachers the flexibility to select learning materials in line with the above would benefit the students more. What is important is how to ensure such flexibility is exercised in line with the said direction during implementation. We therefore have worked on the following -

* emphasising that the learning materials shall be exemplar models and mainly literary works, such being the selection principles;

* requesting textbook publishers to follow the above principles in selecting learning materials for textbooks, during textbook review.

* providing schools with 600 reference learning passages, including quite a number of traditional and modern classics, and most of the prescribed texts in the previous curricula which are masterpieces.

* working closely with HKEAA, which is responsible for developing the public examination papers, to ensure the alignment between curriculum and assessment.

(c) The HKEAA has taken special measures to maintain the consistency of awarding school-based assessment (SBA) scores on the same standard across schools, namely the issue of SBA guidelines to schools, and the adoption of different moderation modes to adjust SBA scores across schools (e.g. statistical moderation, inspection of samples and school visits); and has accumulated experience in including SBA in some existing HKCEE and Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE) subjects, which have different weighting for the SBA component.

The HKEAA is considering making special arrangement for private candidates in the Chinese Language and English Language examinations of the 2007 HKCEE, as they will have no SBA scores. The initial proposal under consideration is to adjust the scores of the other examination papers proportionally to come up with a total subject score. This is the same approach as finalized for Integrated Humanities, starting from 2005 HKCEE and History, Chinese History with effect from 2006.

Ends/Wednesday, May 19, 2004


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