Chapter 3 Examples of Schools Making Effective Use of the Self-Evaluation Cycle of “Planning–Implementation–

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Contents

Page Chapter 1 Introduction 1 Chapter 2 Summary of External School Review (ESR) Findings in the First Cycle

(2003 – 2008)

3 2.1 Achievements in the Promotion of School Self-Evaluation (SSE)

through the Implementation of the School Development and Accountability (SDA) Framework in the First Cycle

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2.1.1 Shared Meaning of the Concept of Self-Evaluation and Establishment of Self-Evaluation Mechanisms

3 2.1.2 Enhanced Transparency in School Management and a

Greater Sense of Accountability

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2.2 Good Performance of Schools in Improving Students’ Learning Effectiveness and Promoting Students’ Whole-Person Development

6 2.2.1 Implementing Curriculum Reform and Changing the

Mode of Learning and Teaching

6 2.2.2 Planning Appropriate Student Support Services and

Establishing a Harmonious and Caring School Environment

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2.2.3 Enhancing Home-School Cooperation and Optimising Use of External Resources to Support School Development

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2.3 Directions for Sustainable School Development 12 2.3.1 Proper Use of Data for Self-Evaluation to Inform School

Planning and Development of a Self-Evaluation Culture 13 2.3.2 Strengthening Curriculum Planning to Address Learner

Diversity

14 2.3.3 Improving Learning and Teaching Effectiveness and

Strengthening Assessment for Learning

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Chapter 3 Examples of Schools Making Effective Use of the Self-Evaluation Cycle of

“Planning–Implementation–Evaluation” to Achieve Self-Improvement

18 3.1 School 1: Strengthening Self-Evaluation and Focusing School

Planning on Reform Measures

18 3.2 School 2: Integrating Self-Evaluation into Daily Work and Strategic

Planning for School-based Development Priorities

20 3.3 School 3: Implementing Pedagogical Change – Using Self-

Evaluation to Improve Learning and Teaching

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Chapter 4 The Next Phase of the SDA Framework and ESR 26

4.1 Sustaining Development by Building on Experience 26 4.2 Revising Tools and Streamlining Procedures 26 4.3 Embedding Self-Evaluation to Foster Improvement 27

4.4 School-Specific and Focused Review 27

4.5 Providing Support and Enhancing Communication 28

Appendices 29

Appendix 1 Number of Schools Undergoing ESR and Various Inspections in 2003 – 2008 30 Appendix 2 Themes of Focus Inspections and Number of Schools Undergoing Inspections

in 2003 – 2008

31 Appendix 3 Schools Undergoing ESR in the 2007/08 School Year 33 Appendix 4 Post-ESR School Survey Findings in the 2007/08 School Year 36

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Chapter 1 Introduction

1.1 Building on the experience in promoting quality assurance and school-based management, the Education Bureau (EDB) developed and implemented the School Development and Accountability (SDA) framework in 2003. The prime objective has since been to enhance schools’ accountability as well as their capacity for improvement and development. A key concern in school development planning has been the integration and implementation of education reform. Central to the framework is the improvement of student learning.

Effective implementation of the framework manifests itself in systematic and evidence-based school self-evaluation (SSE), which, complemented by external school review (ESR), serves to drive schools’ continuous improvement. During the past five years, EDB has been reviewing and revising the implementation strategies and details, including the procedures of ESR, in the light of feedback collected from schools and the actual state of implementation. At the same time, various types of support have been provided to give impetus to SSE and school development planning.

1.2 Under the SDA framework, SSE and ESR serve to complement each other. With reference to the key ESR findings in the first cycle, it can be concluded that there is a heightened awareness among schools of the need for self-improvement and accountability. Further, with the implementation of SSE, professional exchange and collaboration among teachers have been stepped up, leading to a better understanding of the direction for school development and enhanced team spirit. On the whole, the SDA framework has achieved pleasing results in promoting schools’ self-improvement through SSE, such that schools in Hong Kong are seen by acclaimed scholars to be “in the forefront of the move (of promoting school development and accountability through SSE and ESR) in the international arena” Note1. 1.3 During the 2007/08 school year, which was the last year of the first cycle of ESR, EDB

further reviewed the implementation of the SDA framework with reference to the aims and focuses of the education reform introduced since 2000 and made preparations for the next phase. This sees the embedding of self-evaluation in the daily work of teachers and schools as the main challenge. Major considerations in the planning process continue to be the improvement of students’ learning effectiveness and the promotion of schools’

self-improvement in facilitating student learning. Various tasks have since been performed to facilitate implementation in the next phase. These include the collection of views from the education sector, implementation of pilot ESR, reviewing and revising relevant tools and procedures, and providing training for schools.

1.4 EDB will inform the public of the general situation of schools through an inspection annual report which gives an account of the general performance of the primary and secondary

Note1

Please see The Final Report on the Impact Study on the Effectiveness of External School Review in Enhancing School Improvement through School Self-evaluation in Hong Kong (EDB, July 2008)

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schools that have undergone ESR in the school year. Recommendations for improvement are also included for schools’ reference. Apart from the major ESR findings of the year, the 2006/07 Inspection Annual Report presents a summary of the key findings on school performance in the first four years of ESR. This report mainly serves to present a concluding picture of how schools have performed since the implementation of the SDA framework by making reference to the summary findings in the previous four years and those in the 2007/08 school year. In addition, specific examples of how schools make use of the self-evaluation cycle of “Planning–Implementation–Evaluation” to achieve self-improvement are given. We hope that these examples will help schools understand better the purposes and functions of self-evaluation and that more schools will share their experience in achieving improvement through self-evaluation.

1.5 During the 2007/08 school year, ESR was conducted in 92 schools. From 2003 to 2008, 714 schools underwent ESR, 1,098 focus inspections on different themes were conducted, 7 Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS) schools underwent comprehensive review by EDB, and 20 schools underwent quality assurance full inspection. For detailed information about the above inspections, please refer to Appendix 1; themes of focus inspections and the number of schools inspected are at Appendix 2; and the list of schools undergoing ESR in the 2007/08 school year is at Appendix 3. Previous inspection annual reports have presented the key findings of major types of focus inspection. This report will not cover findings from comprehensive review reports or quality assurance full inspection reports, as they can be accessed on the EDB website.

1.6 During the first implementation cycle of the SDA framework, schools and inspectors used the published “Performance Indicators for Hong Kong Schools (2002)” as a common tool for school evaluation. Depending on the mode of inspection, various methods were used by inspectors for collecting evidence from multiple sources and evaluating school development, including scrutinising documents and information provided by schools, observing lessons and activities, and interviewing representatives of the School Management Committee, principals, staff members, parents and students.

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Chapter 2 Summary of External School Review (ESR) Findings in the First Cycle (2003 – 2008)

A detailed account of the performance of secondary and primary schools undergoing ESR from 2003 to 2007 in the four domains of “Management and Organisation”, “Learning and Teaching”,

“School Ethos and Student Support” and “Student Performance” has been given in the 2006/07 Inspection Annual Report. This report briefly summarises the above findings and those on school performance in the 2007/08 school year. It also gives a succinct account of the achievements made through the implementation of the SDA framework in the first cycle and the good performance of schools in enhancing student learning. Based on the established strengths in schools, this report proposes the way forward for sustainable development in the hope that all different stakeholders will work together to promote quality education in Hong Kong. Promotion of self-improvement through SSE will continue to be a key implementation target in the next phase of the SDA framework. For schools’ reference, examples of good practice are provided in Chapter 3 of this report to show how the SSE cycle of “Planning–Implementation–Evaluation” has been effectively used to facilitate schools’ self-improvement.

2.1 Achievements in the Promotion of SSE through the Implementation of the SDA Framework in the First Cycle

The prime objective of implementing the SDA framework is to promote SSE and enhance students’ learning effectiveness. As can be seen from the first ESR cycle, through implementing SSE, schools have been able to make continuous improvement and developed a growing sense of accountability, which helps lay a solid foundation for sustainable development.

2.1.1 Shared Meaning of the Concept of Self-Evaluation and Establishment of Self-Evaluation Mechanisms

• With the practical experiences accumulated and the increase in relevant training and inter-school experience sharing, schools have gained better insights of self-evaluation, and teachers are becoming more and more receptive to the concept of self-evaluation and its objectives. Schools have now generally established self-evaluation mechanisms for formulation of development targets and plans and regular review of the effectiveness of their work.

• Most schools adopt a whole-school approach in the process of formulating and reviewing development plans, annual objectives, and implementation strategies.

Teachers are encouraged to participate in discussion and experience sharing, which helps strengthen collaboration and consensus building. In preparation for ESR in the first cycle, schools have organised a series of self-assessment activities to review their own performance holistically in the four domains set out in the framework of Performance

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Indicators for Hong Kong Schools and to promote collegial dialogue and self-reflection among teachers. These self-assessment activities have strengthened teachers’

communication and collaboration, their understanding of school development needs and also their team spirit. As indicated in the responses collected from post-ESR school surveys in recent years, over 80% of teachers agree that their participation in school self-assessment has enabled them to have a better understanding of their school’s overall performance.

• To promote evidence-based SSE, EDB has developed a range of evaluation tools, including Key Stakeholder Surveys (SHS), Key Performance Measures (KPM) and the Assessment Program for Affective and Social Outcomes (APASO), to facilitate schools’

collection of data for evaluation. Apart from the common use of these evaluation tools, schools have developed school-based evaluation tools in recent years, such as questionnaires, and used different evaluation methods, such as observation of student activities, collaborative lesson planning and lesson observation, to review their work from different perspectives. Moreover, schools have gradually grasped how to analyse and use relevant performance assessment data to inform curriculum planning and teaching. According to the findings of the Impact Study Note 2, the SSE tools provided by EDB, as well as those developed by schools, have progressively helped schools make the transition from an “impressionistic” to “evidence-based” approach to evaluate school performance.

• During the first ESR cycle, almost all schools have undergone two school development planning cycles and they have made marked progress in formulating major concerns and implementation strategies. In the first couple of years of ESR, it was commonly found that schools’ major concerns were too broad and that there was a lack of alignment between expected outcomes and the set targets and between school-level and subject/committee-level planning. In recent years, most schools have been able to formulate focused major concerns and appropriate implementation strategies in alignment with the school context and the latest trend in educational development.

School resources have been flexibly allocated and subject panels/committees have worked closely to implement school development priorities.

2.1.2 Enhanced Transparency in School Management and a Greater Sense of Accountability

• Effective SSE entails collaboration with stakeholders in jointly reviewing school work in all domains and formulating directions for school development. It also requires appropriate support and monitoring in the process of implementation, as well as timely reporting on work progress and performance to stakeholders, to promote continuous improvement. This process of self-improvement through SSE not only enhances the

Note 2

Please see the Final Report on the Impact Study on the Effectiveness of External School Review in Enhancing School Improvement through School Self-evaluation in Hong Kong (EDB, July 2008)

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transparency of school management, but it also inculcates a greater sense of accountability among the staff. With the enhancement of transparency and accountability, it also contributes to the development of professional leadership in schools.

• As observed through ESR, most schools have stepped up efforts to enhance the transparency of the school management and establish different channels, such as regular meetings, individual interviews and questionnaire surveys, to foster better staff communication. To build consensus and enhance ownership and impact of school policies, some schools have strategically involved representatives of basic-rank teachers as members in key executive or task groups, and consulted subject panels, committees and teachers widely in the process of policy making. As regards school administration and duty allocation, most schools have established clear and transparent mechanisms to facilitate planning, monitoring and review. Importance is attached to communication with staff. For example, to inform staff deployment planning, teachers will first be consulted about their preferences and consideration given to their expertise. Besides, before funding is allocated to support implementation of priority tasks, subject panels and committees will be consulted about their needs. On the whole, the enhanced transparency, as well as openness, in school management has contributed to a growing sense of accountability among teachers. It has also brought about more opportunities for teachers to participate in school policy development, thereby developing their professional leadership.

• In line with education policy, an increasing number of schools have set up the Incorporated Management Committee (IMC). To enhance transparency and accountability, apart from representatives from the sponsoring body and the principal, teachers, parents and alumni are invited to be members of the IMC and jointly play a part in school management. Schools which have not yet set up IMC usually invite different stakeholders to attend meetings of the School Management Committee (SMC) or solicit their views at the consultative meetings of the SMC or through the School Executive Committee (SEC) to inform decision-making for school development.

• Since the implementation of school-based management and the SDA framework, it has been an established practice for schools to publicise their development plan and report their work progress and performance to stakeholders on a regular basis. There is also clear delineation of staff duties and responsibilities, as well as well-defined staff appraisal systems, all of which help accentuate the spirit of accountability in schools.

While enhancing the spirit of accountability, most schools also put emphasis on the support for teachers’ professional development. Such kind of support is given in different and multiple ways. These include guiding teachers through evaluation of their own strengths and areas of improvement during appraisal interviews, and creating space for teachers by reducing their workload through deploying funding, such as the Capacity

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Enhancement Grant and other time-limited grants, to recruit new employees or external tutors, and tapping resources like the Quality Education Fund, subsidies from the school sponsoring body and donations from parents and alumni to provide the needed support.

In general, the management of most schools has shown a good grasp of the latest trend in educational development. In the course of steering school development, they generally can give due consideration to the school context and development needs and deploy human and financial resources appropriately. Apart from fostering self-improvement through self-evaluation, highly effective schools have established an open school culture that encourages staff participation in school development planning and promotes team spirit. All these have helped the staff develop a better and shared understanding of the directions for school development and enhanced their commitment to the development goals.

2.2 Good Performance of Schools in Improving Students’ Learning Effectiveness and Promoting Students’ Whole-Person Development

With the implementation of the SDA framework and curriculum reform, enhancement of students’ learning effectiveness has become a key development goal for schools. With joint efforts of different stakeholders, schools have adopted a range of measures to enhance their overall effectiveness and make continuous improvement. To cater for students’ diverse needs, school-based curriculum development has been actively promoted. The process has been guided by the central curriculum framework and consideration given to schools’ own contextual factors. Alongside this development is the implementation of the key tasks of the reform to nurture students’ learning to learn capabilities. Positive change has been observed in the use of classroom teaching strategies, performance assessment modes and practices, and provision of student support services, leading to improvement of students’ learning and whole-person development.

2.2.1 Implementing Curriculum Reform and Changing the Mode of Learning and Teaching

As seen in the first ESR cycle, when formulating development plans, most schools have given due consideration to their own contextual factors and students’ needs, and they have chosen “enhancing learning and teaching effectiveness”, “fostering students’ whole-person development” and “promotion of SSE” as their major concerns. Aligned with the goal of the SDA framework, these shared focuses of school development planning have incorporated the direction of the curriculum reform. Most schools adopt a student-centred approach and the self-evaluation cycle of “Planning–Implementation–Evaluation” in the course of programme implementation. In general, schools are able to formulate their curriculum framework covering key learning areas (KLA) and development of students’ generic skills, values and attitudes in accordance with the schools’ own vision and mission

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and students’ learning needs. They have also appropriately adapted the central curriculum as provided in the various KLA Curriculum Guides to ensure that students are provided with adequate opportunities to acquire basic knowledge.

Besides, due emphasis has been given to co-curricular activities and life-wide learning as a means to enrich students’ learning experiences and develop their generic skills. In addition, through integrating learning experiences within and beyond the classroom, schools promote values education across the curriculum, which further helps develop students’ positive values and good learning attitudes.

At the initial stage of ESR, schools’ major concern in relation to enhancement of learning and teaching effectiveness mostly focused on developing students’ project learning skills, generic skills, reading habits, or the promotion of bi-literacy and tri-lingualism. In recent years, schools have mostly directed more attention to addressing learner diversity, school-based curriculum development and promotion of students’ self-learning, reflecting that schools are keeping pace with the curriculum reform.

Schools have been actively implementing the four key tasks. Their efforts to promote

“Reading to Learn”, “Project Learning”, and “Moral and Civic Education” (MCE) have brought about relatively good progress and impact on student learning. To improve students’ capability to learn, schools have put more emphasis on the teaching of reading skills and the development of a more favourable reading environment. The latter involves the enhancement of library collections, renovation of the school library and the setting up of reading corners on the school campus.

Morning reading sessions are arranged to nurture students’ reading habits, and school facilities, such as campus TV, are used to promote reading. In a majority of schools, the school library has played an important role in a variety of tasks on promotion of reading, including organising different reading activities and schemes, collaborating with subject panels/committees in promoting theme-based library books and supporting them in the collection of information and reading materials. In recent years, some schools have started to promote sharing of reading experiences among students to further enhance their motivation to read and to add value to their reading experiences.

With regard to project learning, a subject-based approach is usually adopted in secondary schools and a cross-curricular mode applied at junior secondary levels. In primary schools, project learning is usually promoted through General Studies, which is supplemented with cross-curricular or theme-based learning activities.

Schools generally have developed a framework that delineates the target project learning skills and learning focuses to be covered at each level. Some schools have deliberately integrated project learning with MCE and national education and

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organised outdoor visits or even cross-border field trips to help students construct knowledge, develop generic skills and positive attitudes through the rich and authentic learning experiences acquired.

MCE is generally promoted through school-based programmes, including personal growth education, moral education and life education programmes, morning or weekly assemblies, class-teacher periods and service learning. In recent years, there has been an increased use of life events including current issues, national events and history to raise students’ awareness and concern about current and national affairs.

These learning experiences are vital to the development of students’ critical thinking and communication skills, as well as positive values and attitudes. Some schools organise visits to the Mainland and conduct experience sharing activities to enable students to learn about the development of China and to enhance their sense of national identity.

At the initial phase of ESR, the key tasks were mostly promoted separately. In recent years, there have been more attempts made to integrate the key tasks. One example is the incorporation of use of “Information Technology (IT) for Interactive Learning’

with “Project Learning” and “Reading to Learn”, which encourages students to use IT to search for information and access relevant reading materials for project learning. Moreover, in a majority of schools, an online learning platform has been set up to promote students’ use of IT for self-learning.

With the implementation of the new Chinese and English Language Education KLA curricula, language teachers in many schools are engaged in school-based curriculum development and, in some schools, external professional support has been duly tapped. With the efforts made, different school-based programmes have been designed. These include programmes on literacy, drama education, shared and guided reading, phonics and integrated reading and writing. In some schools, Putonghua is adopted for the teaching of Chinese as a means to promote bi-literacy and tri-lingualism. As features of the school-based curriculum, inquiry-based learning and service learning are promoted in some schools through subjects like General Studies, and theme-based learning activities are organised for students through cross-curricular collaboration. On the whole, schools have responded appropriately to the targets of each phase of the curriculum reform and given due consideration to students’ learning needs when developing their school-based curriculum.

The modes of performance assessment adopted in schools are becoming increasingly diversified. A shift has been made from the previous emphasis on pen-and-paper assessment to the use of diversified assessment modes that cover a good range of student work, such as their daily assignments, project work, classroom presentations

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and reading reports. This can provide a more comprehensive picture of students’

learning performance in their acquisition of knowledge and development of skills and attitudes. Some schools implement assessments that involve different parties, including self and peer assessment, as well as parents’ assessment. This meets well the curriculum reform goal in that it encourages students to review and reflect on their learning and contributes to the development of a self-reflective culture in schools. In most schools different types of assignment are designed to consolidate learning and develop students’ generic skills. Due consideration is given to the learning objectives and students’ abilities. In some schools, commendable efforts have been made to set criteria for evaluation of assignment design to facilitate self-review and professional exchange of teachers.

The classroom is the centre stage where curriculum reform goals are to be achieved.

As observed in the first ESR cycle, the teaching strategies adopted have become more varied. There has been less use of a teacher-centred approach. Instead, increasingly more teacher-student and student-student interactions are taking place in the classroom, and they help enhance students’ engagement and their motivation to learn. Learning activities are mostly appropriately designed in accordance with the learning objectives. They are also of a good variety, including group discussion, oral presentation, role play and debates. These serve to provide opportunities for peer interaction whereby students develop their critical thinking and communication skills.

In highly effective lessons, teachers play well their role as a facilitator, engaging students in active participation, thinking, exploring and interacting with their peers, as well as helping students examine different perspectives, clarify concepts and resolve problems.

It is a development process for teachers to fully grasp the reform goals, realise the genuine need for, embrace and implement instructional change. A key driving force of instructional change comes from the promotion of teachers’ professional development and self-evaluation in schools. In a majority of schools, teachers’

professionalism and capacity are enhanced through promotion of collaborative lesson planning, peer lesson observation, inter-school professional exchange and teachers’ participation in seminars and workshops. In recent years, many schools have strengthened the link between collaborative lesson planning and peer lesson observation by setting specific focuses for lesson planning and observation and strengthening post-observation evaluation and discussions. This encourages teachers to explore different pedagogical practices and develop more effective teaching strategies. It has also been observed that post-lesson self-reflection is highly valued by some teachers as a means to improve classroom teaching.

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2.2.2 Planning Appropriate Student Support Services and Establishing a Harmonious and Caring School Environment

Addressing the curriculum reform goal to foster whole-person development, schools have generally accorded priority to developing students’ positive values and good conduct as their major concern on the basis of their own mission and vision, students’ growth needs and social expectations. In recent years, more and more schools have set the establishment of a caring atmosphere and culture as their development target, which is in close alignment with the focus of the newly introduced priority values in the medium term of the reformNote 3. The development of a caring and open culture is seen to be instrumental in developing good interpersonal relationships among students, peers and teachers and in fostering students’ personal growth and positive attitudes.

Most schools have been able to make effective use of human and financial resources, tap external resources and enlist professional support to provide appropriate support services to foster students’ whole-person development. In most schools, the five priority values are developed through school-based programmes, such as personal growth education, life education or civic education programmes, and through related activities in and outside the classroom. Theme-based activities, current issues and life events are well used by some schools to help students reflect on their own values.

To enhance the effectiveness of moral education within and outside the school, “Tips for Parents” are specially designed by a small number of schools and in some cases parents are invited to help evaluate students’ performance with respect to their attitude and behaviour. In recent years, promotion of service learning has become a key task in some schools. Opportunities are provided for students to serve others in and outside their school to develop their leadership and instil in them the core values of caring for others, responsibility and commitment. Promotion of national identity is another focus of MCE that schools attach importance to and a good array of activities is organised. The hoisting of the national flag has been held in some schools as a routine of the morning assembly. Educational visits to the Mainland are becoming more frequent and common, and increasingly more attention is given to post-visit experience sharing to encourage students to reflect on the experience acquired.

An integrated and whole-school approach to discipline and guidance is commonly adopted in schools. Students’ problems are handled in a positive manner with use of such measures as school-based award schemes and improvement plans to reinforce good conduct. Guidance services provided by schools are mostly comprehensive,

Note 3

To cater for students’ growth needs, two other priority values, ‘care for others’ and ‘integrity’, have been added by the Curriculum Development Council to the MCE curriculum framework since 2008. Other priority values include

‘perseverance’, ‘respect for others’, ‘responsibility’, ‘national identity’ and ‘commitment’.

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covering developmental, preventive and remedial programmes that cater for students’ needs at different stages of their development. Appropriate arrangements are also made for students with special educational needs and children having newly arrived from the Mainland. With regard to support for students who are either newly enrolled or leaving school, peer support programmes, such as the Big Brother/Sister Scheme and experience sharing with alumni, are effectively organised. Some secondary schools have also duly enhanced their guidance to prepare students for the challenge of their further study and future career. Moreover, a well-defined mechanism has been established in most schools with use of information provided by EDB, former schools and parents for early identification of students with special educational needs. In the process of identification, reference is also made to teachers’

observations and data from internal school assessment. External support such as that from social welfare agencies and special schools is well sought to better cater for the learning and growth needs of these students.

To enrich students’ learning experiences and realise their potential, a variety of extra-curricular activities are organised in most schools and, where appropriate, professional instructors are hired to provide special training for students. Students are encouraged to participate and financial support is provided for those in need to ensure equal opportunity for participation. The policy of fostering students’ lifelong development of at least one interest in sports or arts is widely adopted in schools.

Students are encouraged to take part in relevant activities to enhance their physical and aesthetic development. Some schools organise overseas exchange visits and military-style adventure training to broaden students’ horizons and build up their confidence. Furthermore, in about half of the secondary schools, systematic leadership training is provided for students in different modes, such as regular training for prefect teams and student committees, as well as training for students participating in community service and serving as peer counsellors. Students are also given autonomy to organise activities as a means to cultivate their leadership and foster whole-person development.

2.2.3 Enhancing Home-School Cooperation and Optimising Use of External Resources to Support School Development

Schools are directing more efforts to establish a strong partnership with parents to enhance their support for students’ learning and growth. Most schools are able to keep close contact with parents through existing channels, such as school circulars, student handbooks and the school website. In about half of the schools, direct contact with parents is made through phone calls, email or interviews. There is a growing awareness among schools of the need to increase transparency. Measures such as inviting parents to observe lessons and conducting surveys to learn more about

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parents’ expectations and collect their opinions are adopted to enhance mutual understanding. With the implementation of school-based management, collaboration with key stakeholders in decision making and school management is emphasised. In a majority of schools, parent representatives are included in the SMC, IMC or SEC.

Besides, most schools have established their Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and organised a variety of activities, including engaging parent helpers in supporting school work, to strengthen their partnership with parents. With their valuable advice and quality support, some well-established PTA have become an important asset to the school.

Apart from parents, support from alumni is well tapped by some schools. For example, alumni are invited to be school managers, share experience with students on further education and career development, and serve as activity instructors or remedial programme tutors. With a strong sense of belonging, some alumni keep in close contact and provide financial and resource support as a token of contribution to the development of their alma mater.

Resources in the community and those from external organisations are tapped to support school development in different areas. As observed in the first cycle of ESR, there has been an increase in inter-school professional exchange activities organised by school sponsoring bodies and those on a district or individual school basis. Many schools also take part in collaborative projects organised by EDB or tertiary institutions in support of curriculum development. This has in turn enhanced teachers’ professionalism and strengthened the collaborative culture in school.

Moreover, most schools have been able to make good use of community resources and some can collaborate with schools outside Hong Kong to extend students’

learning, broaden their learning experiences and promote their whole-person development.

2.3 Directions for Sustainable School Development

The implementation of the next phase of the SDA framework will commence in the 2008/09 school year. On the basis of the achievements made, EDB expects the SDA framework to further promote schools’ embedding of SSE, so that the concept of self-evaluation can take root in schools’ daily operations, especially in classroom teaching. In line with the medium-term targets of the curriculum reform, schools should continue to improve the quality of learning and teaching and enhance students’ learning ability by building on existing strengths.

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2.3.1 Proper Use of Data for Self-Evaluation to Inform School Planning and Development of a Self-Evaluation Culture

Over the past few years, EDB has been providing schools with a range of data, such as KPM reference data, academic value-added information, Territory-wide System Assessment data and analysis, etc., to support SSE. Gradual enhancement in school personnel’s awareness and skills of using data is observed. On top of the aforesaid data, most schools have been stepping up efforts to collect school-based data.

Nevertheless, schools should properly integrate various data and undertake evaluation from multiple perspectives against the targets set for their development priorities. They should then formulate concrete and appropriate follow-up plans based on the findings on the effectiveness of their work. Besides, schools should avoid doing evaluation in a piecemeal or haphazard manner, such as undertaking project-by-project evaluation while losing sight of the overall improvement targets of the development focus concerned. Other undesirable practices include relying on school-based questionnaire survey data and devising different school-based questionnaires to collect students’ and teachers’ views on individual activities, resulting in increase of teachers’ workload. To enhance the effectiveness of evaluation, schools should prioritise their evaluation work and set evaluation focuses;

they should also review their evaluation tools and data quality, so that resources are effectively use to support focused SSE.

The key to sustainable development is for schools to build on strengths and seek continuous improvement. In this regard, proper use of evaluation results to inform school planning is instrumental. While formulating development plans for a new cycle, schools need to review the effectiveness of the key development tasks in the last cycle, as well as reflecting on the experiences acquired. They should then draw up new development plans, together with specific implementation strategies and details, so as to extend and reinforce work on current development tasks or to initiate new development projects.

While most have their self-evaluation mechanisms in place, schools in general have yet to embed self-evaluation in their daily operations. To cultivate a self-evaluation culture, the school management should recognise that embedding SSE is the key to promoting and sustaining school development. They should establish open dialogue with teachers, review the school’s strengths and weaknesses objectively, decide on the development priorities, and clearly specify the expected outcomes. They should then evaluate work effectiveness and adjust strategies based on the data collected to seek continuous improvement. Schools can step up self-evaluation in the light of their experiences in SSE and ESR, and integrate the SSE cycle of “Planning–

Implementation–Evaluation” into the daily work at school, subject panel/committee

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and individual levels.

Most schools have set up monitoring and support mechanisms, such as lesson observation, assignment inspection and the vetting of assessment papers. The middle managers in most schools are able to fulfil their duties, and some well-performing managers can effectively direct and promote the development of the subject panel/committee under their purview in line with the direction set for school development. In general, middle managers need to further exercise their leadership role in directing the planning of development of subject panels/committees to address curriculum development trends and students’ learning needs. To lead their panel/committee to achieve self-improvement, they need to strengthen collaboration among panel/committee members, perform their monitoring role fully and conduct evaluation with use of relevant data including student performance data. At the same time, middle managers need to further support teachers in integrating self-evaluation into their daily work, especially classroom teaching. Schools need to step up training of middle managers so as to improve their professional leadership and broaden their vision. Principals should also give more support to middle managers and strike a balance between empowerment and accountability.

2.3.2 Strengthening Curriculum Planning to Address Learner Diversity

As reflected in the first cycle of ESR, schools have actively taken forward the curriculum reform and in the process of implementing the key tasks, they have accumulated considerable successful experiences. Students have come to adopt diversified learning approaches; the learning atmosphere in class is livelier than before; students have more chances to express themselves and their communication skills have improved. However, the critical thinking skills and creativity of a majority of students need to be further enhanced. Schools need to strengthen their curriculum planning holistically and integrate the cultivation of these two generic skills into the learning and teaching of each KLA. In implementing the key tasks, schools should build on past experiences and strengthen the development of the key tasks in line with the stage of the curriculum reform, through such measures as stepping up the teaching of reading strategies, promoting reading across the curriculum, and properly adjusting project learning at junior secondary levels to support implementation of the New Senior Secondary (NSS) curriculum. As regards

“IT for Interactive Learning”, schools mainly foster students’ self-learning through promoting use of online teaching resources. To facilitate the implementation of the Third Strategy on IT in Education, schools should formulate clear policies to integrate IT into the learning and teaching of all KLA.

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Improving students’ self-learning ability and habits is one of the medium-term targets of the curriculum reform. The findings of ESR in the first cycle indicate that students still need to improve their self-learning strategies and foster the spirit and habit of active learning and self-improvement. Teachers need to raise their expectations of students, require them to do pre-lesson preparation, and guide them to use suitable learning strategies and resources, so as to develop their independent learning ability. In respect of English learning, there is a need for some schools to enhance their English learning environment to provide students with greater exposure and more opportunities to use English.

To better cater for students’ learning and growth needs at different stages, schools need to pay more attention to vertical curriculum development. In respect of the transition at Primary One and Secondary One, primary and secondary schools generally place more emphasis on student orientation and special measures are devised to provide support. For example, “Orientation Day” is specially organised for newly enrolled students before the start of the new school year and attempts are made to adjust the teaching schedule at the beginning of the school year. To help students make the transition smoothly, teachers need to learn more about students’

needs and modes of learning at different stages and adjust the curriculum and teaching strategies accordingly, so as to cultivate their interest and develop their learning capability. As regards the interface between junior and senior secondary education, some secondary schools offer junior secondary Integrated Humanities or Liberal Studies by integrating the subjects in the Personal, Social and Humanities Education KLA; some schools offer project learning at junior secondary levels to equip students and their teachers with relevant experiences to facilitate their transition to NSS Liberal Studies. When integrating the junior secondary curricula, schools should ensure adequate coverage of basic knowledge; all subject panels should give due attention to the vertical continuity of their junior and senior secondary curricula to help students better adapt to the NSS curriculum.

In recent years, schools have shown considerable concern about the issue of learner diversity and some schools have set catering for learner diversity as one of their development priorities. Measures which schools generally adopt in catering for learner diversity include split-class teaching or small-group teaching, before- and after-school remedial classes, provision of homework guidance and peer support.

Clear mechanisms are put in place to support the implementation of these measures.

To cater for learner diversity more effectively, there is a need for schools to strengthen their strategic planning. This includes curriculum adaptation that takes into consideration students’ abilities, designing and using learning resources like graded worksheets and extended modules, and adjusting teaching strategies and modes of assessment. In addition, schools should give encouragement and

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recognition to students for their achievements in different areas to build confidence and enhance their drive for self-improvement. In some schools, focused efforts have been made to promote cooperative learning in recent years, and in some, resources have been allocated to implement small-class teaching. While a range of measures is adopted to cater for learner diversity, timely review of students’ learning effectiveness is needed to inform learning and teaching and to enhance the effectiveness of these measures.

2.3.3 Improving Learning and Teaching Effectiveness and Strengthening Assessment for Learning

The implementation of the curriculum reform has brought about considerable change to classroom teaching. Teacher-student and student-student interactions have increased and students have more opportunities to participate in classroom learning activities. However, a majority of teachers still have to make sustained efforts to improve their design and delivery of classroom activities, which should be geared to students’ abilities and interests, well connected, and with sufficient opportunities for student collaboration and thinking.

Effective use of assessment for learning in class teaching is instrumental in improving students’ learning effectiveness. A basic teaching strategy is to pose a range of questions and provide appropriate feedback to help students achieve the learning objectives. As observed in ESR in recent years, many schools have adopted improving questioning as a focus of teachers’ professional development activities, indicating that questioning is widely seen as a key strategy for improving students’

analytical thinking and power of expression. There is a need for teachers to further explore how to stimulate students’ in-depth thinking through use of a wider range of questions. Teachers also need to help students clarify concepts and consolidate learning through prompting and re-directing questions. At the same time, teachers need to improve the quality of feedback. After questioning or class activities, concrete feedback should be provided on how well students have performed and what needs improvement against the learning objectives, and suggestions should be given to facilitate improvement and to encourage further exploration. While peer assessment is conducted in some lessons, there is a need to improve its quality and effectiveness through provision of feedback and development of students’ skills for analysing and commenting on peer performance.

As to catering for learner differences in the classroom, most teachers usually provide individual support during activities or encourage the more able students to assist the weaker ones through heterogeneous grouping. In some schools, cooperative learning is implemented. With the imminent implementation of small-class teaching and the NSS curriculum, schools should further explore how to address learner diversity in

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the classroom. More attention needs to be given to the setting of appropriate expectations for students with different abilities, and the design of diversified and challenging classroom activities. There is also a need to promote peer learning and make flexible use of lesson time, space and resources to create an enjoyable and effective learning environment for students.

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Chapter 3 Examples of Schools Making Effective Use of the Self-Evaluation Cycle of “Planning–Implementation–

Evaluation” to Achieve Self-Improvement

Since the implementation of the SDA framework, schools have been promoting self-evaluation and improving teachers’ grasp of self-evaluation concepts and skills through practice and reflection.

According to the ESR findings in the first cycle, some schools have been able to implement self-evaluation systematically and effectively. Under quality professional leadership, these schools have made effective use of the self-evaluation cycle of “Planning–Implementation–Evaluation” to assess their own performance and improvement needs, and to set proper directions and strategies for school development. They can appropriately and effectively monitor work progress and use evaluation results to inform school planning. They strive to improve learning and teaching and students’ whole-person development, and they show commitment to self-improvement.

We have selected some examples of good practice and would like to share the success experience of the schools concerned. We hope the reference points in these examples can help give impetus to our joint endeavour to improve the quality of education in Hong Kong.

3.1 School 1: Strengthening Self-Evaluation and Focusing School Planning on Reform Measures

Year of ESR: 2007/08

School Background: The school is a subsidised secondary school with a history of over 50 years. In the past, its students’ academic and non-academic performances were good.

However, due to a number of factors in the last decade, the student enrolment has decreased and most students are from disadvantaged families. As the school had not devised timely or appropriate support measures, students’ academic performance, learning attitudes and behaviour had deteriorated. Teachers also lacked drive or confidence to implement reform.

In response, the recently appointed principal has stepped up efforts to promote SSE and led teachers to reflect and identify areas for improvement. At the same time, he has implemented reform and successfully improved the quality of learning and teaching, as well as students’ attitudes and behaviour.

How self-evaluation is implemented to achieve self-improvement:

Strengthening self-evaluation and enhancing strategic planning

Over the last few years, the school has planned and carried out self-evaluation. This started with the establishment of self-evaluation mechanisms, engaging teachers in the self-evaluation process and soliciting parents’ opinions. The task group concerned has since led teachers to review their work effectiveness and sought support from the sponsoring body

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and other schools. Such practices have helped enhance teachers’ grasp of the concept, tools and functioning of self-evaluation. They have also enabled teachers to develop a clear understanding of the school context and to do self-review and reflection objectively.

Through data-driven and evidence-based self-evaluation, the school analyses its own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, which helps inform strategic planning.

Subsequently, the school formulates its development plan with a sharp focus on improving students’ learning habits and self-discipline, promoting teachers’ professional development, as well as devising concrete reform measures to achieve self-improvement.

Enhancing momentum for reform by placing emphasis on teachers’ professional skills and attitude

The school recognises that teachers’ professional attitude and competence are the key to reform success. Accordingly it enhances school-based support for teachers’ professional development, promotes peer lesson observation and research on learning and teaching to encourage teachers to observe and learn from each other. It also solicits views from external agents and school stakeholders through different channels. Efforts have been made to enlist the support of, and promote collaboration with, professional organisations and tertiary institutions. Parents are invited to observe students’ performance inside and outside the classroom. Apart from improving teachers’ professional skills and broadening their vision, the school focuses on helping teachers build a positive attitude towards future challenges, enabling them to better understand, accept and cater for the needs of disadvantaged students, and enhancing their commitment to the school reform. To this end, adjustments have been made to the mechanisms for policy making. These include the adoption of a participatory approach to policy making, broadening the channels of communication and open consultation, and valuing views of teachers as key stakeholders. At the same time, the school has established accountability and appraisal systems to promote teachers’ self-reflection and adopted a people-oriented approach to personnel management. The school also flexibly and properly allocates resources to empower teachers and develop their capacity. All in all, these measures have helped enhance teachers’ sense of belonging and commitment and provide the leverage necessary for the reform and development of the school.

Implementing the improvement plan to address students’ learning and growth needs Taking into consideration students’ family background, growth needs, learning attitudes and capabilities, the school uses a framework which embodies a cycle of “Planning–

Implementation–Monitoring–Evaluation–Self-reflection–Feedback” to identify areas for improvement in curriculum design, measures to address learner diversity, reading schemes and assessment of student learning. As a guiding principle, the school holds that “curriculum should be made relevant to students’ daily life” and “learning and teaching should be made interesting”. Upon review, the school has revised its development strategies, including making adjustment to staff deployment to optimise use of human resources. It has also

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implemented a range of tasks to address the areas for improvement identified. These include incorporating daily-life elements into curriculum design, implementing split-class teaching, promoting diversified reading schemes and adjusting the assessment policy. Concomitantly, upon identification of inadequacies in related programmes and services, the framework for supporting student development has been revised. An approach to discipline and guidance underpinned by the belief that “every student can succeed” has been established with an emphasis on acceptance, care and support. A whole-school approach has been adopted and the resources of relevant committees and class teachers have been pooled to establish a caring school environment. To improve students’ self-discipline and self-governance and to inculcate positive values in them, a range of measures has been devised. These include the launch of different award schemes, prefect training, teachers and students jointly setting mutually agreeable improvement targets, teachers’ mentoring of S1 students, promotion of co-curricular activities and student participation in social services.

Attaching importance to use of data and promoting evaluation and supervision

Recognising that reform cannot be implemented across the board within a short time, the school adopts an incremental approach and gives priority to experience sharing at the outset.

The school also uses different ways to collect and analyse evaluation data and to gather evidence to inform learning and teaching and planning for student support. These include lesson observation by the principal and teachers to identify students’ learning needs, parents’

observation of student performance on campus, and use of self-evaluation tools provided by EDB. Apart from monitoring the implementation of reform measures through existing mechanisms, the school management values daily communication with teachers and promotes mutual support, which helps boost the team morale and facilitates the school’s stable development.

On the whole, the school has made effective use of self-evaluation and duly promoted reform to address its need for self-improvement, development and accountability. With sustained efforts made over the past few years, teachers’ team spirit has been strengthened, the leadership team steadily established, students’ learning attitudes and behaviour improved, and progress made in different domains of school work.

3.2 School 2: Integrating Self-Evaluation into Daily Work and Strategic Planning for School-based Development Priorities

Year of ESR: 2007/08

School Background: The school, originally located on Hong Kong Island, is a subsidised secondary school with a history of over 40 years. After moving to a new location several years ago, the school faced challenges arising from the loss of experienced teachers, the change in the community environment and in the intake of students. Coping with the challenges, the school has promoted self-evaluation at different levels. It has strived hard to

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integrate self-evaluation into its daily work and encouraged teachers to do self-review in order to develop a self-evaluation culture for continuous improvement. With joint efforts, the principal and the teaching staff have overcome various difficulties. And, with a good understanding of the school context, they have been able to set proper goals and priorities, which helps lay a strong foundation for school development.

How self-evaluation is implemented to achieve self-improvement:

Adhering to the principle of self-improvement and promoting sustainable development of the school

The school has long recognised and regarded highly the principle of achieving self-improvement through SSE. Its participation in a local SSE network and exchange of relevant experiences with other schools have lent quality support to the promotion of SSE.

The principal has actively participated as an external school reviewer for EDB, which in turn has brought in rich self-evaluation information and resources. The SSE mechanisms put in place are functioning well. SSE-related training has been integrated into teachers’

professional development activities. Teachers have developed a good grasp of how to implement the self-evaluation cycle of “Planning–Implementation– Evaluation–Feedback”, including how to use information and data for evaluation. Within the cycle, evaluation is well used to inform school development planning. With the principal steering the SSE team, evaluation data has been effectively used to diagnose school performance and improvement needs. In particular, it has been well used to review the impact of staff change, as well as the challenges arising from its new location. With reference to the context analysis,

“consolidating existing strengths and making steady progress” have been set as a principle to guide school development. Further, specific priorities have been set, including improving students’ quality through developing their self-confidence, self-discipline and self-learning, and enhancing middle management and team spirit, as the key to sustaining the development of the school.

Enhancing middle management and team spirit

The school regards the building of professional capacity of middle management and enhancement of teachers’ sense of belonging as conditions indispensable in meeting challenges and overcoming difficulties. With reference to teachers’ qualifications and expertise, specific arrangements have been made for teachers to join different committees or subject panels as a means of both empowerment and accountability. This not only helps teachers realise their potential, but also improves the leadership of the middle managers. At the same time, efforts have been stepped up to promote professional sharing and collaboration among teachers. In this connection, a range of measures has been adopted, including enlisting the support of tertiary institutions, networking with other schools, conducting action research to enhance learning and teaching, and fostering an open, positive

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and collaborative culture. To address their immediate support needs, training for new teachers has been strengthened to help them better understand the school’s vision and mission and its school-based curriculum planning. When implementing a new measure, the principal has been able to provide a role model by giving due support to teachers and taking part in the implementation process, thus helping to strengthen the team spirit. The school also greatly values internal communication. Staff members regularly convene short meetings to jointly review school policies and learning and teaching effectiveness, and also discuss the direction of school development. In terms of daily school work, this facilitates implementation, coordination and communication. It also contributes to the establishment of a transparent and open school culture, as well as the enhancement of teachers’ commitment to the school’s long-term development.

Developing school-based curriculum to cater for students’ learning and development needs

Since the school’s relocation, most students have come from families with relatively low social-economic status and family support is barely sufficient. Learner differences among students are obvious. In response, the school makes good use of its premises and community resources to enrich students’ learning experiences and broaden their horizons outside the classroom. The school strategically designs its school-based curriculum and integrates co-curricular and life-wide learning activities into lesson time. Students with different abilities have enough opportunities to realise their potential and experience success which, in turn, improves their self-image and confidence in learning. To cater for the diverse support needs of students, the school has set aside some time in the co-curricular programme for remedial teaching and enrichment programmes. After moving to the new location, the school arranged “homework support lessons” to enhance learning support. In the light of the subsequent development of the school and the need to better cater for students’ growth needs, related work has been reviewed and the “homework support lessons” have been changed into “reflective learning time”. The goal has been refined, changing from assisting students with their homework to facilitating their reflection on learning, which closely suits their needs. All subject teachers in the junior levels formulate class-based strategies to tailor the curriculum, assignments, and assessment modes in accordance with the abilities and learning needs of students. All teachers also duly review student performance, reflect on the evaluation data, and formulate follow-up measures for self-improvement.

The school has successfully integrated the self-evaluation cycle of “Planning–

Implementation–Evaluation–Feedback” into its daily work and effectively achieved self-improvement through implementation of SSE. A caring and supportive work ethos and a strong team with shared goals have been established. The concerted efforts of the management and the teachers have brought about continuous improvement of students’

academic results and their moral qualities.

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3.3 School 3: Implementing Pedagogical Change – Using Self-Evaluation to Improve Learning and Teaching

Year of ESR: 2006/07

School Background: The school is a subsidised primary school with a history of about 50 years. It enjoys a good reputation and stable student enrolments in the district. It used to adopt a traditional teacher-directed approach and emphasise maintaining students’ high academic achievement as the main objective in the area of learning and teaching. Since taking office a few years ago, the new principal has actively implemented curriculum reform whereby importance is attached to students’ whole-person development, enhancement of their generic skills and enrichment of their learning experiences. The school has stepped up efforts to promote self-evaluation and professional sharing. Teachers are encouraged to reflect on and change their teaching style. The learning and teaching policy is explained to parents in the hope of getting their support and recognition. With the efforts and support of various parties, the school has gradually changed the mode of learning and teaching. It has also established an open and positive school ethos, and built capacity for sustainable development.

How self-evaluation is implemented to achieve self improvement:

Regulating evaluation work at every level and enhancing teachers’ awareness of the need for self-evaluation

In the context of curriculum reform, the school needs to build on its solid foundation and foster an open and self-reflective culture to make further advancement. It needs to heighten teachers’ awareness of the need to keep abreast of the times. It needs to direct more effort and attention to the development of students’ generic skills. It also needs to build capacity for improvement of learning and teaching. With these needs in mind, the school has been making efforts to integrate self-evaluation into its daily work over the past few years. A number of mechanisms have been put in place to facilitate the integration. For example,

“progress review” has been set as a regular agenda item for meetings across different levels.

To enhance the impact of peer lesson observation, teachers’ self-reflection has been promoted. Further, teachers’ self-evaluation has been incorporated into the staff appraisal system. Underlying these measures is the goal to enhance teachers’ awareness so that there is shared understanding that self-evaluation is part of teachers’ daily work and also the key to improvement.

Implementing curriculum reform to bring about pedagogical change

The school is fully aware of its need to sustain its cultural strengths and keep up with the educational change at the territory level. To build capacity for pedagogical change, the school has stepped up efforts to strengthen teachers’ training and professional development

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with a sharp focus on its major concerns such as questioning techniques and catering for learner diversity. Collaborative lesson planning, peer lesson observation and post-observation sharing are promoted as a means to enhance professional sharing and learning among teachers. In addition, review of assignment design and student performance is made a focus of assignment inspection. It serves to review curriculum implementation and to inform the refinement of the school’s policy on learning and teaching. Besides, suggestions for improvement and follow-up support are given to teachers. In the entire process, the school has adopted a step-by-step approach, putting emphasis on learning from experience, evaluating effectiveness and introducing change incrementally. At the same time, the school has appropriately tapped external professional support, flexibly allocated resources and created an environment conducive to curriculum change. This type of holistic planning together with effective change management not only facilitates implementation of the reform, but it also helps teachers better understand the school curriculum goals and the key concepts underpinning its development, which, in turn, has effected change to the mode of learning and teaching.

Developing diversified assessment modes and closely following up on analysis of student performance

In line with the curriculum reform, the school has reviewed its assessment policy and developed different assessment modes to facilitate and evaluate learning. To allow more time and space for learning and teaching, the school has reduced the number of tests and examinations upon consulting with parents. To implement change across the curriculum, diversified assessment modes have been gradually introduced in different subjects. At the same time, the school’s assessment scheme has been adjusted so that student performance can be assessed and reported on more accurately. Further, analysis of internal and external assessment results is conducted in a more systematic way, and follow-up measures are introduced to address areas for improvement. In addition, the findings of the analysis are used to inform the setting of focuses of collaborative lesson planning whereby teachers can explore and discuss together how to address students’ learning difficulties and improve learning and teaching. Seeing parents as close partners, the school explains to parents on a regular basis its learning and teaching policy, analysis of student performance and follow-up improvement plans. This helps parents understand the latest development in the area of learning and teaching and the purpose of assessment for learning promoted by the school.

The school has established an open and positive ethos and enhanced teachers’ team spirit by promoting professional sharing and embedding self-evaluation in daily work. It has achieved a breakthrough in changing teachers’ mindset which previously over-emphasised students’

academic achievement. As a result, a positive change has been made to the learning and teaching culture. Meanwhile, students in recent years have been provided with a lot of different opportunities to realise their potential, and teachers have been inspired by the

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performance of their students and the achievements made in the process of reform. All these have helped enhance the school’s capacity for sustainable development.

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References

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