The New Senior Secondary Curriculum English Language Essay


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Recently, the education system of Hong Kong has been transformed to meet the demand of the society. In particular, the assessment process is a part and partial element affecting the efficiency of learning. Under the New Senior Secondary (NSS) Curriculum, the format of assessment is transformed as well. School-based Assessment (SBA) and Independent Enquiry Study (IES) have been introduced and students' performance in these assessments will be parts of the public examination. This has triggered discussion of students, teachers, parents, schools and the society. In this essay, I will introduce the summative (assessment of learning) and formative (assessment for learning) assessment and illustrate their effects on teachers and students, as well as the teaching and learning. Also, the efficiency of Hong Kong's change in the education system will be examined through investigating the new SBA in language education and IES in Liberal Studies (LS) under the 334 NSS Academic Structure. The question whether this transformation is successful will be answered in the end of the essay.

Formats of assessment(557>> 700)

Assessment has a significant role in the process of teaching and learning with the aim to promote students' learning and improve the teaching efficiency. Apart from the critical distinctions between the two, both benefits and drawbacks of undertaking summative and formative assessments will be illustrated. Additionally, this part will demonstrate the relationship between these assessments and teachers' roles in the process of teaching and learning.


Defined by Black and Wiliam (1998), summative assessments, which are also named as assessments of learning, summarize the knowledge students has got and indicate whether they succeed or fail in a certain learning process. Handouts, quizzes and papers, as examples of summative assessments, are given to students to test for their understandings of certain topic(s) retrospectively. The marks or grades are set as lines to discriminate students who are success from those who fail to meet the standard. Moreover, solid feedbacks from teachers are usually not expected. Take English composition as an example, grammatical mistakes and wrong spellings are pointed out and students are needed to correct the writing and copy the sentences. Questions like why it is wrong and how to make improvement are left behind until students take the initiative in asking the teachers. However, students in Hong Kong are unlikely to have this initiative. And this kind of assessment leads to the result that teachers become controllers who just give commands to students to finish everything by themselves within a specific period of time and grade the assessments later. Throughout the process of doing the assessment, students can hardly engage in learning by receiving comments. To most cases, students can develop better memory of certain areas of knowledge, for instance, spellings and meanings of words, theories through repeated memorizing. Also, merits should be given as the assessments are fair to students with clear standards. However, critical thinking may not be developed as further thinking beyond the topics and evaluation of the learning process are not required in summative assessments. Besides, individuality is not considered in such assessments; as a result, learning efficiency of some individuals may be limited due to variations of abilities of students.


Formative assessment, which is also called assessment for learning, is defined as "all those activities undertaken by teachers and/or by their students, which provide information to be used as feedback to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged" (Black and Wiliam, 1998). That is, the formative assessment involved recognising and responding to student learning during the assessment process. According to the project named… formative assessment can be classified into two kinds: planned and interactive assessment. Both cyclical processes put focus on 'how the (assessment) information was collected, interpreted and acted upon.' In different stages of the process of formative assessment, teachers are more likely in the role of promoters rather than controllers. Frequent feedbacks, like advice and directions are provided to the students for assistance and guide them to finish the tasks. Teachers are involved in the course of doing the assessment and provide other and specialised help to students according to their levels. Students in this learning process can apply the knowledge learnt in ways other than copying or memorising, and as a result, they can really 'use' what they learnt. From the fieldtrip in October, …(who) carried out formative assessment. …However, (drawbacks)

In stages, feeling of progress, satisfactory

Not only the end product will be graded but also the attitude and other stuff

Unfair, no standard/ affected by other factors/ not convincing

A survey needed

Change(s) in Hong Kong education system(>>1000)

After the introduction of Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) Examination in 2012, the assessments - SBA and IES have become significant and controversial features of the change. According to the …(proposal), the Education Bureau aimed to change the assessments from summative to a mixture of summative and formative. In the following part, both SBA and IES will be examined by the definition of formative assessment and can the aim be achieved at the same time meeting the society needs.


School-based Assessment (SBA) in forms of…

Introduction,(what is it, is included inside, what way, match the aim?...)is it really a mixture of two assessments?

Personal exp., study


Independent Enquiry Study (IES) is an assessment consisting numbers of stages…

Introduction,(what is it, is included inside, what way, match the aim?...)is it really a mixture of two assessments?

Personal exp., study

Any misunderstanding of 'formaative assessment'?

Is it successful?


To conclude, the summative and formative assessments lead to the roles of controller and promoter of teachers respectively. And both of them bring positive and negative effects on teaching efficiency so balance should be strived between the two. Additionally, the SBA and IES aiming at being more formative assessments under the change in Hong Kong education system has been… modifications should be made for improvement.

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