Introduction to School-based Assessment

Definition of School-based Assessment

School-based assessment (SBA) is an assessment which is embedded in the teaching and learning process. It has a number of important characteristics which distinguish it from other forms of assessment:

  • It involves the teacher from the beginning to the end: from planning the assessment programme, to identifying and/or developing appropriate assessment tasks right through to making the assessment judgments.

  • It allows for the collection of a number of samples of student performance over a period of time.

  • It can be adapted and modified by the teacher to match the teaching and learning goals of the particular class and students being assessed.

  • It is carried out in ordinary classrooms.

  • It is conducted by the students' own teacher.

  • It involves students more actively in the assessment process, especially if self and/or peer assessment is used in conjunction with teacher assessment.

  • It allows the teacher to give immediate and constructive feedback to students.

  • It stimulates continuous evaluation and adjustment of the teaching and learning programme.

  • It complements other forms of assessment, including external examinations.

In many educational systems, such as those of Australia, Canada, the UK and Finland, SBA is used extensively or exclusively to provide information about student achievement. In Hong Kong, SBA has been a part of the public examinations system since 1978, when it was first introduced into the HKALE AL examination for Chemistry so that there could be an assessment of laboratory work. By 2006, school based assessment had been implemented in 13 'A' Level subjects and 13 Certificate of Education subjects, including English language. SBA became a core component of the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) in English Language in 2005-07, and was then revised and extended for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE). SBA will be progressively incorporated into all 24 subjects.

The school-based assessment in the Hong Kong public examination system can be accessed on the HKEAA website at: