Assessing students’ language arts performance: The experience of Hong Kong teachers

Ka Wo Benjamin LI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


This article reports findings from an investigation of the English language arts (LA) assessment strategies used in Hong Kong secondary schools, and the extent to which these strategies reflect the principles of performance-based assessment. The summative and formative assessment tasks, together with their criteria, assessment checklist, holistic scoring guide, and student language arts work were examined to capture the reality of language arts assessment and identify what was expected and valued in student performance in language arts. Three case studies also allow a comparison and contrast of the use of performance-based assessment (PBA) in the teaching and learning of LA. It was found that the teacher participants recognised the need to conduct LA assessment in the classroom, but the degree of classroom attention paid to it varied as teachers had only a partial understanding of this new mode of assessment, which hindered the pace of change in assessment reform. There appears to be a gulf between the features of PBA as provided in the LA curriculum and the assessment practices currently espoused by many teachers of English language in Hong Kong. To enable teachers to develop the strategies that cater to students’ capabilities, professional development opportunities focusing on performance-based assessment need to be provided. Copyright © 2012 Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
JournalEnglish Language Teaching World Online
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


Li, B. (2012). Assessing students’ language arts performance: The experience of Hong Kong teachers. English Language Teaching World Online, IV, 1-20.


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