A critical review of assessment reform in Guangdong Province of China

Zhihong HUANG, Sui Ping Shirley CHAN, Rita Shuk Yin BERRY

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


This paper aims to present a preliminary report of a large scale research project titled “On research of assessment tools for and of Basic English learning’. The project is a key project of Basic Education in the 15th Guangdong Education Development Plan which is sponsored by the Education Department of Guangdong Province in China. The research project lasts for four years between 2002 and 2006. Ten sub-project groups have been formed to focus on the study of the design and implementation of formative assessment or summative assessment in English as a foreign language (EFL) primary or secondary classrooms in Guangdong province of China. Up till now, we have 92 researchers and teachers involved in this large scale research project. In recent years, new concepts of assessment were newly introduced in the National English Curriculum to teachers of English in primary and secondary schools in the mainland. It is stressed in the National English Curriculum that the present culture of testing is not conducive to learning and even worse, poses negative impact on student learning. Hence, changes in assessment practices are needed. These include formative assessment, portfolio assessment, alternative assessment and so on. However, it appears that not only the teachers, but also the teacher researchers who provide professional support to teachers also find some of the assessment concepts confusing when they engage in the process of designing and implementing some of the assessemtn concepts confusing when they engage in the process of designing and implementing some innovative assessment methods in collaboration with teachers. There is an urgent need of professional support and development in assessment. Thus, a research group was set up in 2002 to explore ways to integrate the new concepts as recommended in the National English Curriculum in the classroom. A range of research activities were carried out. These included developing exemplars of assessment tools for formative assessment and summative assessment, provision of professional training to teachers and teacher researchers, classroom observation and interviews with teachers and principals. The preliminary findings from the reports of different sub-project groups suggest that most of the stakeholders support the views that formative assessment plays an important part in the learning process. The ongoing feedback can inform teaching and learning. However, when changes are made in summative assessment, it appears that teachers and teacher researchers experience difficulty at both the design and implementation level. Changes in attitude towards assessment and assessment practices are evident in some of the schools which are involved in this research project. It is also noticed that strong leadership at the school level with professional support from teacher researchers will facilitate the change process. We will present some examples of good assessment practices collected by the project team and conclude the experience gained in the past two years. Implications will then be drawn for the next stage of development.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2005


Huang, Z., Chan, P. S., & Berry, R. (2005, June). A critical review of assessment reform in Guangdong Province of China. Paper presented at the First International Conference on Enhancing Teaching and Learning through Assessment, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China.


  • Primary Education
  • Theory and Practice of Teaching and Learning


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