Assessment in art and design education: A case study of the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination

Kwai Shun MA

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Over the past decades, as more and more art educators are concerned about the quality and accountability of art education in many countries and Hong Kong, extensive debates and discussions on evaluation, assessment and achievement standards in visual art have been generated. Owing to the nature of art education which not only involves the acquisition of knowledge and skills by students, but also their development of sensitive personal expression through the use of a variety of techniques and processes, the practice of art assessment has remained a complex task for many art teachers and educators. The main objective of this paper is to review the assessment in Art & Design education in Hong Kong through a case study on the Art Papers offered by the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination with a view to suggesting alternative assessment strategies for future improvement. The research is based on the findings of a Project in 1997: A Survey on the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination: Art & Design - Direction and Examination Format, which is funded by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are used to investigate art teachers and Form five students' views which include the relationship between the existing examination and the objectives of the Art & Design curriculum and the shortcomings of the existing fixed-duration examination format. It is found that more than half of the respondents agreed that the existing examination was able to test students' ability in expressing themselves aesthetically and their understanding of visual logic, but more than 60% of art teachers considered that it failed in assessing students' awareness of the historical and social development of art and design. More than 85% of art teachers also agreed that the Form 4-5 Art & Design curriculum was examination-oriented and 93% of them considered the examination could assess students' performance only in individual paper but not their overall ability in art. To make improvement in the examination, more than half of the art teachers accepted the idea to introduce the assessment of art knowledge and art history in addition to practical examination. Moreover, more than half of the respondents agreed to retain the existing examination format but have to make improvement by introducing the assessment of candidates' portfolio which they finished in schools. Similar results are obtained from written comments and interviews of art teachers and students. From literature review, it is also found that assessment of students' portfolios was considered a more reliable and objective assessment strategy which also helped to relieve the pressure of examination. The contents of portfolio may include sketches showing ideas development, performance tasks in art knowledge and art appreciation, final artworks, etc. It is expected that such initiative and other related suggestions would bring about significant changes in the future development of curriculum planning and pedagogy design in Art & Design education.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1998


Ma, K. S. (1998, November). Assessment in art and design education: A case study of the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination. Paper presented at the Hong Kong Educational Research Association (HKERA) 15th Annual Conference: Quality Education Across Disciplines, Systems and Regions, Hong Kong Baptist University, China.


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessment in art and design education: A case study of the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.