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The standard of HKDSE
  1. What is the standard of HKDSE? Is it comparable with that of HKCEE and HKALE?

    In designing the NSS curriculum and the assessment standards, the HKEAA and EDB have made reference to the standards of HKCEE and HKALE (including AS-level), as well as the requirements and assessment standards of other international curricula. Moreover, a benchmarking exercise was conducted by the Education Bureau in 2005 to ensure that the NSS curriculum is in line with international approaches and standards. Positive and encouraging feedbacks were received from international assessment organizations in this benchmarking exercise.

    In setting standards for the HKDSE, Levels 4 and 5 are set with reference to the standards achieved by students awarded grades A-D in the HKALE. Referencing the top levels with the HKALE grades is important for ensuring a degree of continuity with past practice, for facilitating tertiary selection and for maintaining international recognition. The lower levels will give recognition to those who demonstrate threshold levels of competence in their learning.



  2. How were standards set in the first HKDSE in 2012 and how will the standards be maintained in subsequent years?

    The total score of a candidate is calculated based on his/ her examination performance and moderated SBA results (if applicable). The minimum scores (cut scores) required for reaching a specific level (i.e. Level 1 to 5) were determined by a panel of judges consisting of subject experts and experienced markers and teachers. In the process, they made reference to the exam statistics and samples of performance to set the standard of each level.

    Secure monitoring tests will be carried out each year to gauge the standards of each cohort of candidates. The standards set in the 2012 HKDSE will be maintained in subsequent years using the results of the monitoring tests and expert judgment informed by the current year’s examination statistics and a review of candidates’ scripts.



  3. If HKDSE is geared at A-level, does it mean that 5* and 5** = A, 5=B, 4=C, 3=D, etc?

    Although the first HKDSE was graded with reference to the A-level standards, there is no direct equivalence between the levels and grades of the two examinations because of the differences in curriculum, examination content and structure, as well as the reporting system, i.e. the HKDSE adopts the standards-referenced reporting system (Levels 1 to 5) while the HKALE grades are reported in Grades A to F. The levels and grades of the two examinations are not directly comparable.