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Reporting of examination results
  1. What are the advantages of adopting Standards-referenced Reporting (SRR) of results in HKDSE?

    The 24 Senior Secondary Subjects are reported by means of Standards-referenced Reporting, which aims at reporting candidates’ results against a set of prescribed levels of achievement based on typical performances of candidates at those levels. Each level is provided with a level descriptor which describes the general performance and ability demonstrated by candidates. Candidates’ results reported under SRR will reflect his/ her knowledge and skills, and will not be compared to or affected by the performance of other candidates taking the same examination. The descriptors enable students and teachers to understand what the candidates know and can do when they achieve a certain level. The use of prescribed standards in grading also helps to ensure the consistency of standards of levels awarded across years.



  2. How does the new system of reporting results (SRR) facilitate learning and teaching in schools?

    The level descriptors provided in each subject facilitate teaching and learning by making explicit the standards expected at different levels of achievement. Teachers can help students understand their level of achievement at different stages of learning by matching their performance against the descriptors and they can then work towards a higher level of achievement.



  3. Why level 1 to level 5 are used instead of A to E in the HKDSE reporting system and why levels 5** and 5* are used instead of levels 6 and 7? How are levels 5* and 5** determined? Why are there no level descriptors for levels 5* and 5**?

    The performance in the Category A subjects is reported in five levels (level 1 to 5), with 5 being the highest. Performance below level 1 is designated as 'Unclassified'.

    To provide a finer discrimination of candidates’ ability at the top end to facilitate tertiary institutions and employers to select suitable candidates, level 5** is awarded to the highest-achieving 10% (approximately) level 5 candidates and level 5* is awarded to the next highest-achieving 30% (approximately) level 5 candidates after the determination of the standard of level 5 by the expert judges.

    Since levels 5** and 5* are determined by the distribution of candidates within level 5 instead of reference to prescribed standards, results of these candidates are annotated with the symbols ‘**’ and ‘*’, instead of being reported as levels 7 and 6 respectively. The performance standards of candidates at levels 5** and 5* are covered within the level 5 descriptors. Stakeholders can make reference to the level descriptors of level 5 to understand the standard and ability of levels 5** and 5* candidates.

    Using level 1 to level 5 instead of A to E helps avoid confusion with the reporting systems of Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) and Hong Kong Advanced Level of Education Examination (HKALE).



  4. Will the public examination results and the SBA results be reported separately?

    No. The public examination and the SBA are different modes of assessment, yet both of them measure the set of underlying candidate attributes within a particular subject. Therefore, combining the results of these two modes of assessment into an overall subject grade is a better and more reliable approach for reporting the achievement of a candidate in the subject.



  5. The wording in the level descriptors is quite generic. How can students and teachers understand the standard by referring to the level descriptors?

    When reading the level descriptors, students and teachers should also refer to the samples of student performance which illustrate the standards of typical performance at different levels.



  6. Under the SRR, are the marking criteria and guidelines different from the former practice? How does the HKEAA ensure that the marking in the HKDSE examination is fair?

    No. The marking criteria and guidelines are the same under the new system. Only the reporting system is different.

    The HKEAA has a well-established set of procedures in the marking process to ensure fairness of examinations. We have a quality assurance system in which all markers are trained and attend markers’ meetings before they start marking live scripts. During training, examiners explain to markers the assessment objectives and the requirements of individual questions. Markers trial-mark sample scripts so that they can understand how to apply the marking scheme/ criteria. During the actual marking, scripts are randomly selected for checkmarking so that the marking consistency of individual markers is monitored, which ensures that a common standard is maintained.

    In addition, onscreen marking is implemented in most of the subjects in HKDSE examination. This helps to enhance the quality, accuracy and efficiency of marking.

    To enhance marking reliability, the number of double marked exam papers (i.e. the same script is marked by two markers) has been increased for the HKDSE. Examples of such papers include the Writing paper of English Language and Chinese Language, and Liberal Studies.



  7. How will the results of Applied Learning subjects be reported?

    For Applied Learning subjects, assessment is undertaken by course providers. After moderation by the HKEAA, the final results will be reported on the HKDSE certificate. The results are reported in two levels -“Attained” and “Attained with distinction”. “Attained with Distinction” is comparable to HKDSE level 3 or above. For admission of sub-degree programmes and relevant civil service appointment, “Attained” is accepted as comparable to HKDSE level 2.

    Starting from the 2018 HKDSE, the reporting of students' performance in ApL subjects would be further refined from the existing two levels of "Attained" and "Attained with Distinction" to "Attained", "Attained with Distinction (I)" and "Attained with Distinction (II)". Performance of "Attained with Distinction (I)" is comparable to level 3 while "Attained with Distinction (II)" is comparable to level 4 or above of the Category A subjects of the HKDSE. For ApL Chinese (for non-Chinese speaking students), the existing levels of results, i.e. “Attained” and “Attained with Distinction”, will continue to be used. Refinement of these levels would be considered when more data is collected.



  8. How will the results of Other Language subjects be reported? (applicable to the 2024 HKDSE and before)

    For Other Language Subjects (including French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Spanish, Urdu), marking and grading are conducted by CIE. Results are reported in five grades (a – e), with grade e being the lowest and grade a being the highest. Achievements below grade e are designated as “ungraded”.



  9. How to set the percentage of each level? Is there any prescribed percentage for each level?

    Under standards-referenced reporting, candidates’ performances are reported with reference to a set of defined standards. Levels obtained by candidates reflect their performance and ability as matched against the defined standards. Therefore, each year the percentages of candidates attaining different levels will depend on the performance of candidates of a particular year, and there is no pre-set percentage.

    Levels 5* and 5** provide finer discrimination of candidates’ ability at the top end to facilitate tertiary institutions and employers to select suitable candidates. The top 10% level 5 candidates will be awarded level 5** while the next 30% of them will obtain level 5*.



  10. Will the results of different components in Chinese Language and English Language be reported individually in the certificate or results notice?

    The levels attained by candidates in the overall subject and individual components will be reported in the certificate and results notice to allow candidates to have more information about their performance and ability in each skill area assessed in the language subject.



  11. I got more level 5 than level 4 in the components of HKDSE Chinese Language. However, the overall result of the subject is still level 4. Why?

    For subjects with profile reporting, it is possible that individual component levels are higher than the subject level and vice versa. This is because although the subject level is derived from the component marks, each level consists of a range of marks and that each component carries a different weighting in the subject. Hence, the subject level is not calculated by simply averaging the component levels.



  12. How are paper marks combined to form the component mark (if any) and the subject mark?

    Before grading, the adjusted marks of each question / section are added up according to their relative weightings to form the paper mark. If a subject consists of two or more papers, the adjusted marks of individual papers need to be standardized (i.e. converted to the same scale) before the published paper weightings are applied to combine them to form the subject mark. This is necessary because individual papers of a subject have different means and spreads, the adjusted marks are not comparable with each other and hence cannot be directly added to form the subject mark using the weightings stated in the assessment framework.

    Please click here for details of the relevant example.

    After standardising the paper marks and taking into consideration the weightings of the papers (as published in the assessment framework, the weighted paper marks are calculated. The subject mark is the sum of the weighted paper marks. For subjects with profile reporting such as Chinese and English, the component mark is the same as the weighted paper mark if the component consists of only one paper. For components comprising two papers, the weighted paper marks of the constituent papers are added up to form the component mark. The subject mark is the sum of all the component marks.