LCQ20: Oral examination for the Chinese Language subject of the HKCEE
************************************************************

     Following is a question by the Hon Audrey Eu Yuet-mee and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (June 30):

Question:

     It has been reported that while oral examination has been included as a component of the Chinese Language subject in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) since 2007, there have been disputes over the standard answers to some questions on proper Cantonese pronunciations, e.g. the pronunciation of the character "ŵ" in the expression "ŵ", "l" in "@ll", and "|" in "|d", etc.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the standard based on which the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) set the standard answers for the oral examination papers of the Chinese Language subject in HKCEE; whether it had consulted the stakeholders, e.g. the Cantonese Culture Promotion Society and the Association for the Promotion of Proper Cantonese Pronunciation, before setting the model answers; and

(b) the list and details of general reference books recognised by HKEAA, and whether it has any plan to publish the list of reference books for the oral examinations of the Chinese Language subject in next year's HKCEE and the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination in the future; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

President,

(a) Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) is run by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA).  The oral examination for the Chinese Language subject of the HKCEE comprises two parts, namely, "reading aloud" and "oral communication". The part on "reading aloud" mainly assesses candidates' overall performance in the aspects of pronunciation, pace of speech, expression and intonation.  The part on "oral communication" mainly assesses candidates' ability in expression, interaction and communication during discussion.  The examination questions are developed by the moderation committee set up by the HKEAA.  Members of the moderation committee include subject experts, tertiary teachers and experienced secondary teachers who are familiar with the teaching curriculum and the requirements of the examination.  In assessing the pronunciations in the "reading aloud" part, instead of just accepting one pronunciation as the standard answer, all pronunciations listed in general reference books are acceptable.  The moderation committee makes reference to the pronunciations listed in different general reference books in setting the suggested answers.  Therefore, the suggested answers include all pronunciations of that character listed in general reference books.  As general reference books have largely reflected the different views of stakeholders, the whole process of developing the examination questions has to be kept confidential, and the moderation committee has already included subject experts etc., no direct consultation will be conducted with stakeholders outside the moderation committee.

(b) As set out above, the moderation committee makes reference to the pronunciations listed in different general reference books in setting the suggested answers.  Since there are a large number of reference books in the market, it is impossible to list out all of them. The HKEAA does not have a list of "recognised" reference books and it is also not appropriate for the HKEAA to "recognise" any general reference books.

Ends/Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Issued at HKT 14:31

NNNN