Assessment for student improvement: Understanding Hong Kong teachers' conceptions and practices of assessment

Gavin Thomas Lumsden BROWN, Kerry John KENNEDY, Ping Kwan FOK, Kin Sang Jacqueline CHAN, Wai Ming YU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Citations (Scopus)


Hong Kong is seeking to increase the use of ‘assessment for learning’ rather than rely on ‘assessment of learning’ through summative examinations. Nearly 300 teachers from 14 primary and secondary schools answered a Chinese translation of the Teachers’ Conceptions of Assessment inventory and a new Practices of Assessment Inventory. Structural equation modelling showed that there was clear alignment between conceptions and practices. Further, there were significant differences in the conceptions of assessment held by Hong Kong teachers as compared to New Zealand and Queensland teachers. This sample of Hong Kong teachers strongly associated (r=.91) using assessment to improve teaching and learning with making students accountable through assessment, which, in turn, led to a strong use of examination preparation practices (β=.43). Hong Kong teachers believed learning outcomes were improved by using assessments to make students accountable and by preparing them for examinations. These results suggest that broader Chinese cultural norms concerning examinations are part of school culture and may provide barriers for the assessment reform agenda in Hong Kong and other Confucian societies. Copyright © 2009 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-363
JournalAssessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


Hong Kong
school culture
primary school
New Zealand
secondary school


Brown, G. T. L., Kennedy, K. J., Fok, P. K., Chan, J. K. S., & Yu, W. M. (2009). Assessment for student improvement: Understanding Hong Kong teachers' conceptions and practices of assessment. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice, 16(3), 347-363.