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May 2009           中文版
  Examination Paper Quality Audit


The quality of the examinations conducted by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority is assured by a variety of measures which includes the control of operation of examinations and the monitoring and review of the quality of examination questions.  All examination processes, including examination paper development, examination administration, data processing and grading, conform to ISO requirements.  The Quality Assurance Unit (QAU) is responsible for monitoring compliance with guidelines and procedures.  An annual post-mortem review is also conducted by relevant Subject Committees to ensure the validity and reliability of the question papers and to suggest ways for further improvement.

With effect from the 2008 examination, the quality assurance measure of examination papers has been further enhanced by the introduction of the Examination Paper Quality Audit (EPQA).  Examination papers are audited with respect to their psychometric properties by the Authority’s Assessment Technology and Research Division (ATRD). According to the preliminary examination quality assurance framework introduced in early 2009, Divisions concerned will review and analyze the examination questions of all subjects meticulously and scrutinize the examination papers from a psychometric perspective.  Thus the quality of the examination paper, the merits of the items used and the appropriateness of the marking schemes of the examination are evaluated.  The results of the evaluation will be used for improvement of future examination papers so that the standard of the qualifications the Authority confers is guaranteed.

The EPQA consists of two parts.  The first part is the annual self-audit of the examination papers by respective subject managers based on the annual post-mortem review from an academic perspective.  The major areas of self-auditing will include a) the design of the examination papers and its consistency to the assessment framework and also the content validity of the test; b) scrutiny of marking, grading and appeal procedures; and c) reliability and quality analysis of the examination and item analysis based on the response data.

The second part of the EPQA is conducted by the ATRD, which audits the questions of all papers developed by the HKEAA in a five-year cycle.  By analyzing live examination data, the psychometric properties of the examination paper, including the reliability, test of fit and connection of different parts of the examination questions, as well as individual items' features and properties (difficulty, discrimination, differential item functioning and mis-fit response etc.) can be determined.  This component of the EPQA focuses on the analysis of the data using the Item Response Theory (IRT) models.  The appropriateness of the computation steps for scoring, scaling and determination of cut-scores are also studied and reviewed from a statistical point of view.  The EPQA will initially be conducted to major HKCEE and HKALE subjects, and will be extended to all subjects in the HKDSE examination, the Territory-wide System Assessment and the Language Proficiency Assessment for Teachers.

With the enhanced quality assurance system, we are confident that the quality services we provide to candidates and the public will be further improved.

  Liberal Studies in the New Senior Secondary Curriculum

Liberal Studies (LS) aims at enhancing students’ social awareness, broadening their horizon, and nurturing their independent thinking skills and their ability to consider issues from multiple perspectives. The curriculum is composed of six modules where social issues are the core element that serves as the basis for students to discuss, argue, put forth their views and construct their own knowledge.

The public assessment of LS is developed upon the learning objectives of the subject. Data-response questions and extended-response questions based on issues in real-life scenarios are used to assess how well students understand the issues, apply relevant concepts, make cogent arguments and provide examples for illustration.

As an authentic assessment, LS emphasizes assessing candidates' actual performance in face of real world tasks. Open-ended questions focusing on some specific skills are effective in assessing students’ performance. Questions in the examination papers are able to cater for a range of abilities so that students' performance can be reliably assessed.

In order to achieve a fair assessment, several measures will be taken to ensure the validity and reliability of the examination. In the first place, question specific marking guidelines will be provided where general requirements, suggested approaches and sample answers are included. These will help markers to understand the requirements of the questions. Secondly, markers are provided with ample opportunities to exchange views through studying students' sample answer scripts in a standardization meeting where professional consensus on the marking criteria and standards are arrived at. Markers have to go through the training and qualifying stages and must pass the qualifying test before marking the live scripts. A rigorous and well-established monitoring mechanism on the onscreen marking system helps to check whether markers follow the agreed marking criteria in addition to checkmarking by the Chief and Assistant Examiners.

The beauty of LS is that it provides room for students to demonstrate their thinking skills and construct their own knowledge. Local and international experiences have proved that professional dialogue and consensus on evaluating various aspects of the answers and accepting different approaches adopted by students are necessary and sufficient to ensure a fair assessment.


  HKDSE Updates

The Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) marks a new qualification that accompanies the implementation of a three-year senior secondary academic structure, which will commence at Secondary 4 in September 2009. To facilitate the development of NSS, a series of publications supporting teaching and corresponding assessment have been available from April 2009, which includes the information packages on standards-referenced reporting for HKDSE subjects providing sample papers, level descriptors and exemplars on individual subjects.

Information packages for the following subjects were published in April and May:
Business, Accounting and Financial Studies, Economics, Ethics and Religious Studies, Integrated Science, Liberal Studies, Mathematics (Compulsory Part), Biology, Chemistry, Chinese Literature, Combined Science, Geography, History, Mathematics (Extended Part), Physics, Tourism and Hospitality Studies.

Information packages for another 11 subjects, namely Chinese Language, English Language, Chinese History, Design and Applied Technology, Health Management and Social Care, Technology and Living, Information and Communication Technology, Literature in English, Music, Visual Arts and Physical Education will be available for sale in early June. In addition, the School-based Assessment (SBA) Handbook for each of the 24 HKDSE subjects and the HKDSE Examination Regulations and Assessment Frameworks will be available by the end of June 2009.

The HKDSE series is available for sale at the HKEAA on-line bookshop:
http://www.hkeaa.edu.hk/en/resources/publications/


  Oxford and HKEAA joint efforts to promote professional exchange

A two-day "Executive Seminar for Education System Officials" was organized by the Authority on 27 and 28 April 2009 in which education system officials responsible for curriculum and assessment in the Asian region were able to reflect on and discuss the influence of universal education on the provision of diversified examination services.

Attended by officials and representatives of educational institutions from Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Thailand, the seminar examined various aspects of the problem associated with recognizing a wider range of achievement of candidates and explored the alternative assessment procedures addressing the issue. Seminar presenters included Prof Gordon Stanley, Pearson Professor of Educational Assessment of Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment; Prof Jim Tognolini, Senior Research Fellow of Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment; Dr Francis Cheung, Secretary General of HKEAA and Dr Thomas Cheung, Director – Development and Educational Assessment of HKEAA.

Positive feedback was received from the participants that the seminar allowed them to discuss the issues and approaches of establishing standards of measuring performance.

"It is useful for me to learn about the interpretation of results in a standards-referenced format. I shall discuss with the management and consider adopting the reporting system in Thailand," said Prof Utumporn Jamornmann, Director of National Institute of Education Testing Service of Thailand.

"Much information and knowledge has been gathered on conducting examinations and assessment which serves as a basis for our further development, since we do not have public examination in Macau," said Mr Wong Kin Mou, Chief of Department of Education and Youth Affairs Bureau of Macau.

The seminar has brought about knowledge exchange for reflection and interaction with officials from different countries. Enhancing and recognizing student achievement is one of the important issues of contemporary education system management. Having a common concern and interest in this issue, the participants were able to benefit from exchange of ideas in the seminar.



  First Participation in Hong Kong Book Fair

The HKEAA is going to participate in the Hong Kong Book Fair 2009 which will be held during the period 22-28 July 2009 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). Organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the fair is one of the popular events for students and families in the summer. The new series of publications related to the HKDSE and Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) will be offered at a discount. Please visit our booth at no. 1A01-08 at Hall 1 which is located on Level 1 of the HKCEC.




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