3(d) Marketing Management
Chapter 5 Assessment
5.5 Public Assessment
• Clarifying the areas of interest
• Establishing a framework for enquiry
• Finding out and selecting resource materials
• Organising data
• Presenting findings.
Oral questioning need not be seen as a test suitable only for language subjects. It can be helpful for assessment in other subjects such as BAFS. For example, a student or group of students can present an analysis of a contemporary business issue to the rest of the class, followed by a question-and-answer session. Oral techniques can be advantageous as a method of assessment because they allow teachers to see how students discuss matters in depth, tease out the meaning of obscure statements and reach conclusions. Teachers are encouraged to try using oral assessment as it can be a valuable supplement to conventional assessment methods.
Students come into contact with the actual business world through, for example, reflecting on visits to organisations, meetings with entrepreneurs and professionals, and taking part in job shadowing programmes and/or business ventures. Such fieldwork calls for keen observation and accurate recording by students who have to apply their business knowledge to what they see. It can also contribute significantly to establishing good relations between the school and the community. The results of fieldwork can be very rewarding for students, both in learning the subject-matter and enhancing their social development.
Portfolios are collections of student work during the course of study. Students may be asked to select their own favourite pieces of work from the year for assessment. Teachers may like to see drafts as well as final versions in the portfolios. Students should be encouraged to become aware of the progress they have made in terms of level of understanding and variety of work.
curriculum’s emphasis on application and integration of broad-based knowledge to authentic or novel business scenarios.
(b) Fairness, objectivity and reliability
Students should be assessed in ways that are fair and are not biased against particular groups of students. A characteristic of fair assessment is that it is objective and under the control of an independent examining authority that is impartial and open to public scrutiny. Fairness also implies that assessments provide a reliable measure of each student’s performance in a given subject so that, if they were to be repeated, very similar results would be obtained.
The assessments and examinations in the HKDSE need to accommodate the full spectrum of student aptitude and ability.
The public examination for BAFS is designed in such a way that students are given opportunities to demonstrate both foundation and specialist knowledge. Ultimately, the five levels of performance for BAFS will ensure that the full spectrum of student ability can be covered.
The reporting system is ‘standards-referenced’, i.e. student performance is matched against standards, which indicates what students have to know and be able to do to merit a certain level of performance. The level descriptors provide a specific indication of the expected student performance in the subject.
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 2025 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
Business Management strand
Paper 1A Compulsory part
Compulsory part 25% 1 hour
Paper 2A Elective part
Elective part 75% 2 hours 30 minutes
5.5.3 Public examinations
The overall aim of the public examination is to assess candidates’ ability to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding in different areas of business and to apply this to novel situations in the context of business decisions.
Different types of items are used to assess students’ performance in a broad range of skills and abilities. The item types include multiple-choice questions, short questions, accounting problems, business cases and essays. Multiple-choice questions permit a more comprehensive coverage of the syllabus, while short questions can be used to test basic knowledge and essential concepts. Business cases and accounting problems focus on comprehension and knowledge application, and essay questions allow candidates to discuss open-ended issues in depth. Schools may refer to the live examination papers regarding the format of the examination and the standards at which the questions are pitched.
5.5.4 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 performance are provided to illustrate the standards expected of them. These samples, when used together with the level 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.
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 symbol *. The HKDSE certificate itself records the Level awarded to each candidate. With effect from the 2015 HKDSE Examination, separate grading and reporting of the subject results for candidates taking different elective modules of BAFS is adopted, with no change in the curriculum coverage, mode of assessment or question-setting of the papers.