Administrative Arrangements

  • 1. Should students be allowed to change IES topics after the completion of the first stage?

    With their teachers' recommendation and guidance, students can consider changing their topics. However, they should be aware of the timeframe and possible limitations.

  • 2. Should the two stages of IES be assessed by the same teacher?

    Not necessarily. However, within-school standardization of the marking among teachers is necessary.

  • 3. Why do students need to submit their Tasks to their teacher one month before the mark

    Sufficient time should be allowed for teachers to mark the Tasks and standardise their marking by, for example, trial marking of samples and holding of standardization meetings. Students should be informed of the dates of the two deadlines for Task submission beforehand.

  • 4. Will schools be notified of the IES results of the first stage for improvement in the conduct of
    the second stage?

    The two stages should be regarded as a whole IES project. Starting from the 2014 HKDSE Examination, the HKEAA will collect all the marks of Tasks and Process of the two stages in S6 in one go. Schools are required to keep the marks of the Project Proposal Task properly before the one-off mark submission in S6. Teachers will be able to make reference to marked samples to gain a better understanding of the marking standards in standardization meetings before marking the Task. The HKEAA will send the SBA moderation report to each school after the release of the public assessment results.

  • 5. Do schools need to keep the Process assessment records for HKEAA’s checking?

    Starting from the 2014 HKDSE Examination, schools are not required to submit the Process assessment records of the Project Proposal and Product stages to the HKEAA. However, schools should retain the relevant assessment records and make them available for inspection by the HKEAA upon requested. The records include the whole IES Process assessment plan, any one Process assessment activity, including the design of the activity (e.g. graphic organizer/worksheet), the rubrics for that activity and two samples of students’ performance in that activity, one from each of high and low levels of performance, with the marks (or levels of performance) indicated.

    Marking and Standardization

  • 1. Why are there only three levels of performance description in the marking guidelines, unlike
    those in Standards-referenced Reporting?

    The marking guidelines are designed to facilitate the marking of the Tasks and Process. However, the level descriptions in the Standards-referenced Reporting illustrate the performance of candidates in Liberal Studies as a whole, incorporating their performance in both the written examinations and SBA. In other words, the two sets of descriptors are serving different purposes and are not equivalent.

  • 2. Are the marking guidelines for the written form and non-written form Product

    No. There is only one set of generic marking guidelines for the Product. Though the presentation method of the Task in Product stage can either be written or non-written, the requirements are the same. One set of generic marking for both forms of presentation ensures a fair and consistent assessment of the Product in IES.

  • 3. Do teachers need to provide supporting evidence for their marks on Process?

    Yes. The Process marks could be awarded with reference to the performance of students in class activities, and the drafts of the Tasks or other activities in relation to the development of IES, in terms of skills and performance in the areas of "Independent Thinking", "Communication" and "Effort". Teachers should have relevant information of activity designs and scoring rubrics, etc. Students should also keep portfolios of what they have done in the Process.

  • 4. Will there be any mark penalty imposed by the HKEAA on written/non-written Product which
    exceeds the recommended word range or the reading/viewing time?

    No. The recommended word range and reading/viewing time illustrate the general requirement and the length of the Product, which should be sufficient for meeting the assessment criteria of the Product. It gives an indication of the general requirement and the effort expected of an S6 student following the HKDSE curriculum. Similar to other subjects with an SBA component, the key marking criterion of Product is the quality of the enquiry, not the length. Products of length beyond the suggested word range will not be regarded as malpractice and no mark penalty will therefore be imposed by the HKEAA. In the implementation of the IES, schools may formulate school-based policies for handling cases in which the length of the Product is below or above the recommended word range or viewing time, late submissions and other irregularity cases upon the needs of schools and students.

  • 5. Can IES samples with high, middle and low marks be provided for teachers as reference?

    Samples have been uploaded on the HKEAA Homepage. When viewing the samples, teachers are advised to focus on the features of the samples in relation to the marks and marking guidelines instead of the content of the particular samples.

    IES Requirements

  • 1. Is it acceptable if more than one student shares an identical IES title?

    As stipulated in the Liberal Studies School-based Assessment Teachers' Handbook, students are required to make a declaration upon their Task submission that "the Task submitted/completed for this stage is my own work". In other words, even though two or more students have the "same title" highlighting a similar scope and main theme of the study, their focus questions, objectives, description of the study and the other elements of the Task of Project Proposal stage cannot and should not be exactly the same if this is a particular student's own work. If two or more students use the same topic, the supervising IES teacher(s) will ensure the work is done by the student himself/herself without copying from another, even when using the same set of data collected for analysis.

  • 2. Should the IES topic be "cross-modular"?

    The requirements of IES reflect the nature of the curriculum. A social issue itself is complicated and different stakeholders could be involved. There is no definite answer for whether a topic should be examined through any one module(s). The topic of IES should be focused and researchable. Different but relevant perspectives should be considered when formulating the title, collecting data, analysing the data collected and discussing the findings. Students are required to enquire into the topic thoroughly in a balanced way.

  • 3. Should schools limit the topics of the IES, for example, by determining the scope of enquiry to
    help students formulate their enquiry questions?

    Students' interest in the enquiry topics should be the top priority. If students' choices are limited and they are not able to work on topics that they are interested in, it would be difficult to sustain their effort in completing the whole IES over an extended period of time.

  • 4. Should the topics of IES be related to the suggested themes?

    Not necessarily. The driving force for developing an IES topic is social issues in relation to the content of the curriculum. Students may consider the suggested themes when formulating their topics, scope, focus questions and enquiry directions. Students should also consider whether the topic chosen is meaningful, researchable and manageable.

  • 5. Is there any requirement for the use of primary sources of data for the IES?

    No. Students can use primary and/or secondary sources of data in their IES, whichever is more relevant to their enquiry questions.

  • 6. If students do not use the enquiry questions developed in class discussions for their IES, can the
    marks for these lessons be incorporated in the Process marks?

    Yes, activities like group discussions and presentations are opportunities to facilitate the formulation of their research topic, and to give feedback to fellow students for improvement. This kind of activity should be regarded as part of the process of doing an IES. Students' performance in these activities could therefore be assessed and counted towards the Process assessment.

    Record Keeping

  • 1. For the IES implementation, can the school keep records in soft copy?


  • 2. We know students should keep a record of all their work. However, should teachers also keep
    copies of students' work?

    It is the responsibility of students to keep a good record of their IES. Students should also take this opportunity to learn how to keep portfolios of their work, which is an essential study skill. Teachers, on the other hand, have to keep a record of the IES related learning tools, such as worksheets, and assessment records, rubric forms, mark sheets and so on. Schools are encouraged to keep samples of students' work at different levels of performance as archive material, which may be useful for future reference as well as maintaining assessment standards across years. For further information on record-keeping, please refer to the Liberal Studies School-based Assessment Teachers' Handbook.

    Authentication and Malpractice

  • 1. How can teachers identify cases of plagiarism? Is there any mechanism for authenticating student’s work?

    90 class hours for IES are provided for teacher-student interaction and for communication with students about the progress of the IES, like idea formulation, design of work plan and analysis of data collected. The two-stage design of the IES provides an arena for ongoing and systematic supervision and guidance to students. Students are required to sign a declaration form at each stage to confirm that Tasks submitted for assessment are their own (please refer to Appendix E of the Liberal Studies School-based Assessment Teachers' Handbook). After mark submission, if plagiarism cases are identified by the HKEAA, a penalty will be imposed on the student as in the public examination, in accordance with examination regulations.

    Moderation of IES Marks

  • 1. How will the moderation of IES be conducted?

    Statistical moderation will be adopted to moderate the IES scores submitted by schools. This is done by adjusting the average and the spread of IES scores of students in a school with reference to its public examination results. Schools are also expected to provide samples of students' work in order to help identify outliers. In handling these cases, we will analyse the result of the statistical moderation as well as students' standard of performance as revealed in the samples. If necessary, adjustment would be made to the result of the statistical moderation. This could enhance the reliability of the SBA results.

    Language Requirement

  • 1. Can an "EMI" school choose English for the written paper but use Chinese to do the IES?

    As the IES is school-based and part of the assessment comprises activities in class, students should "complete their assessment tasks/ activities in the same language as the medium of instruction according to the school's medium of instruction policy" (Please refer to the Liberal Studies School-based Assessment Teachers' Handbook).

    Reporting of Results

  • 1. Will there be separate reporting of the IES and the written examination?

    There will not be separate reporting of IES results in the Diploma.