The Symposium, hosted by HKU on the first of March 2010, took place at Rayson Huang Theatre, the University of Hong Kong.
Vice-Chancellor Lap-Chee Tsui gave a warm welcome to over 300 attendees from local tertiary institutions, UGC, Education Bureau, and other organizations, noting the significance of Standards Based Assessment and Honours Classification in the implementation of the new 334 academic reform.
Professor Michael Worton, Vice-Provost of University College London, presented how and why students of the 21st century and their learning experiences should be assessed and reported in ways different from before. His presentation, entitled “The UK Debate over Honours Classification: Thoughts on the Burgess Group Report 3 years on”, not only outlined the arguments that led to the Burgess Group making its case for change, but also explained how the national consultation after the publication of the report led to the UK Higher Education sector choosing to keep the Honours Classification.
Professor Royce Sadler, Professor of Higher Education, Griffith University, presented “What does it mean to assure Academic Achievement Standards”. In this presentation, Professor Sadler focused on academic achievement standards, with the emphasis on achievement, and explained why typical outcomes based approaches were not sufficient to assure achievement standards.
In the first plenary panel discussion session, representatives from employers’ groups including the public sector, large corporations and SMEs highlighted what kind of assessment report contents would best suit their needs in their respective recruitment models. Some were more concerned about students’ exchange experience but others were more interested in students’ academic achievement. Despite their differences, most employers pointed out that generic capabilities such as communication skills, and qualities such as learning agility and persistence, would be the key elements considered in the selection of candidates.
The second plenary panel discussion session was conducted in two parts: Standards Based Assessment and Honours Classification. Representatives from the UGC-funded institutions spoke on the challenges of reforming assessment practices and gave suggestions for the path forward.
Three parallel discussion sessions took place where representatives from the UGC-funded institutions shared their practices, difficulties, and thinking in the areas of:
- Assessing Diverse Learning Experiences
- The Enhancement of Feedback Processes: the Role of the Student
- Assessing and Reporting Co-curriculum Activities
The Symposium ended with Pro-Vice-Chancellor Amy B.M. Tsui’s concluding remarks which summarized the key points of all presentations and discussions while placing them in the wider context of curriculum reform. Several key questions were identified: how can we develop a curriculum to enable students to build the generic capabilities needed by employers; how can we properly assess diverse learning experiences; and how can we accurately convey the assessment results in both the formative and summative dimensions to students and employers.
For a full set of the presentations and program details, please access the Symposium’s website.