Music education and the culture of assessment: A Hong Kong secondary school perspective

Richard Guy WHITBREAD, Samuel LEONG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


A fundamental objective of Hong Kong in the 21st century is a vision of itself as an international cultural metropolis. This sits within a wider culture of change initiated by the comprehensive educational reforms launched in 2000, all aimed at preparing the future workforce for the challenges of the new millennium by encouraging students to take the learning initiative while simultaneously nurturing in them the ability to think and create. At the same time Hong Kong, at both an educational and at a wider, societal level, is a high-stakes, results-based environment generated by a culture of assessment. It is within this context that the article uses Music (through its traditional espousal of cultural values) as a “barometer” of the present climate to report the findings of a survey of Hong Kong secondary students in an attempt to gauge, and consequently articulate, the place of this particular subject within the curriculum. The subsequent confirmation that the cultural aims of the HKSAR are at odds with a mindset which is essentially commercial at heart reveals more than a simple mismatch in 2 terms of drivers: the wider implication that, in real terms, little has effectively changed in the past decade is a finding which clearly has important repercussions. Hinting that a “back to basics” tripartite process of rethinking, reevaluation and reorientation may well be required in order to help ensure that Hong Kong successfully realizes its ongoing policy goals, the article concludes with some suggestions of its own for the various relevant stakeholders. Copyright © 2011 HKIEd APFSLT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal for Arts Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


Whitbread, R. G., & Leong, S. (2011). Music education and the culture of assessment: A Hong Kong secondary school perspective. Asia-Pacific Journal for Arts Education, 9(2), 1-27.


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