Chapter 5 Assessment

5.5 Public Assessment


(e) Informativeness

The HKDSE qualification and the associated assessment and examinations system provide useful information to all parties. Firstly, it provides feedback to students on their performance and to teachers and schools on the quality of the teaching provided. Secondly, it communicates to parents, tertiary institutions, employers and the public at large what it is that students know and are able to do, in terms of how their performance matches the standards. Thirdly, it facilitates selection decisions that are fair and defensible.

5.5.2 Assessment design

The table below shows the assessment design of the subject with effect from the 2016 HKDSE Examination. The assessment design is subject to continual refinement in the light of feedback from live examinations. Full details are provided in the Regulations and Assessment Frameworks for the year of the examination and other supplementary documents, which are

available on the HKEAA website


Component Part Weighting Duration

Public Examination Paper 1 Compulsory Part 30% 2 hours

Paper 2 Elective Part – Each candidate is required to choose any two of the following five modules:

2A: Automation

2B: Creative Digital Media

2C: Design Implementation and Material Processing

2D: Electronics

2E: Visualisation and CAD Modelling

30% 2 hours

School-based Assessment (SBA)

Design Project 40%

5.5.3 Public examinations

The overall aim of the public examination is to assess candidates’ abilities to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding in different areas of technology and to apply this to their daily lives.

Different types of items are used to assess students’ performance in a broad range of skills and abilities. The types of items include short questions, structured data-response questions and essays. Schools may refer to the live examinations papers regarding the format of the examination and the standards at which the questions are pitched.

5.5.4 School-based assessment (SBA)


the validity of the assessment by extending it to include the assessment of students’ skills in the following areas:

• Identification and analysis of design problems

• Collection of data

• Conducting research and investigations

• Generation and development of design ideas

• Making proposed final solutions

• Presentation of solutions with suitable media

• Evaluation of final solutions.

More generally, SBA reduces dependence on the results of one-off examinations, which may not always provide the most reliable indication of the actual abilities of candidates.

Assessments based on student performance over an extended period of time and developed by those who know the students best – their subject teachers – provides a more reliable assessment of each student.

Another reason for SBA is to promote a positive “backwash effect” on students, teachers and school staff. Within DAT, SBA can serve to motivate students by requiring them to engage in meaningful activities; and for teachers, it can reinforce curriculum aims and good teaching practice, and provide structure and significance to an activity they are in any case involved in on a daily basis, namely assessing their own students.

It should be noted that SBA is not an “add-on” element in the curriculum. The modes of SBA above are normal in-class and out-of-class activities suggested in the curriculum. The requirement to implement SBA has taken into consideration the wide range of student ability, and efforts have been made to avoid unduly increasing the workload of both teachers and students. Detailed information on the requirements and implementation of SBA and samples of assessment tasks are provided to teachers by the HKEAA.

5.5.5 Standards and reporting of results

Standards-referenced reporting is adopted for the HKDSE. What this means is that candidates’ levels of performance are reported with reference to a set of standards as defined by cut scores on the mark scale for a given subject. Standards referencing relates to the way in which results are reported and does not involve any changes in how teachers or examiners mark student work. The set of standards for a given subject can be represented diagrammatically as shown in Figure 5.1.

Figure 5.1 Defining levels of performance via cut scores on the mark scale for a given subject

Within the context of the HKDSE there are five cut scores, which are used to distinguish five levels of performance (1–5), with 5 being the highest. A performance below the cut score for Level 1 is labelled as ‘Unclassified’ (U).

For each of the five levels, a set of written descriptors has been developed to describe what the typical candidate performing at this level is able to do. The principle behind these descriptors is that they describe what typical candidates can do, not what they cannot do. In other words, they describe performance in positive rather than negative terms. These descriptors represent ‘on-average’ statements and may not apply precisely to individuals, whose performance within a subject may be variable and span two or more levels. Samples of students’ work at various levels of attainment are provided to illustrate the standards expected of them. These samples, when used together with the grade descriptors, will clarify the standards expected at the various levels of attainment.

In setting standards for the HKDSE, Levels 4 and 5 are set with reference to the standards achieved by students awarded grades A–D in the HKALE. It needs to be stressed, however, that the intention is that the standards will remain constant over time – not the percentages awarded different levels, as these are free to vary in line with variations in overall student performance. Referencing Levels 4 and 5 to the standards associated with the old grades A–D is important for ensuring a degree of continuity with past practice, for facilitating tertiary selection and for maintaining international recognition.

The overall level awarded to each candidate is made up of results in both the public examination and the SBA. SBA results for DAT are moderated based on the judgment of panels of external moderators, through the inspection of samples of students’ work.

To provide finer discrimination for selection purposes, the Level 5 candidates with the best performance have their results annotated with the symbols ** and the next top group with the

5 3

2 1

U 4

Cut scores

Mark scale


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In document Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4 - 6) Design and Applied Technology (Page 74-79)

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