The examination system in Hong Kong has attracted lots of fierce criticism from teachers, parents and students. For this reason, the Education Bureau brings out the idea of coursework assessment which aims at producing a more creative, flexible and less stressful learning atmosphere. Now, it has been suggested that coursework assessment should take up 50% of the marks of all subjects in the HKCEE and AL examinations. Would it be a breakthrough or simply a wrong act with a good intention?
To begin with, the heavy weighting of coursework assessment might create unfairness. For example, as schools have different assessment standards and teachers may have prejudice, impartial and objective assessment would be impossible. Also, some well-off students may get help from their tutors in doing their assignments and projects or may submit work done by others. All these would make it difficult to distinguish real talented students, especially when coursework assessment became so influential to the examination results.
Besides, to the students, there would be a heavier workload as all the coursework would be counted. As the coursework became more important, students would have more to do and if the marks of every coursework were taken, it would be like having examination every day. Students might feel bad about this and rather prefer one examination.
Despite the fact that there would be some practical problems when coursework assessment took up half of the examination marks, it would bring about some good effects.
One obvious advantage is that students would take their assignments and lessons more seriously throughout the course and hence projects and research would receive due credit. If students knew that their coursework would affect their public exam results so much, they would do their best in daily work. It would help student in the overall learning process, which would also address the drawbacks of examinations. Therefore, students would not only focus on the examination skills, but also other abilities such as the skills of organization, communication and cooperation with others. An all-round student development would be made possible.
What’s more, students’ pressure would be reduced. As students’ performance would not be judged in one single examination, public examinations would become less important and thus relieve the stress. Without so much pressure, students could enjoy learning more.
To conclude, there are both advantages and disadvantages of implementing the proposal. In my opinion, coursework assessment can really address the drawbacks of examinations. Even though it might create a certain degree of unfairness, there is, clearly, unfairness in the examination system too. Therefore, I support coursework assessment. Nevertheless, students need time to adapt to this new evaluation system and so gradual implementation and frequent reviews on the progress are surely essential. The Education Bureau could not expect to change students’ mentality overnight. Needless to say, the promotion work should be done step by step too.