English Language Education and Assessment

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1 English Language Education and Assessment

2

3 David Coniam Editor English Language Education and Assessment Recent Developments in Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland

4 Editor David Coniam Department of Curriculum and Instruction The Hong Kong Institute of Education Hong Kong, China ISBN ISBN (ebook) DOI / Springer Singapore Heidelberg New York Dordrecht London Library of Congress Control Number: Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2014 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. Exempted from this legal reservation are brief excerpts in connection with reviews or scholarly analysis or material supplied specifically for the purpose of being entered and executed on a computer system, for exclusive use by the purchaser of the work. Duplication of this publication or parts thereof is permitted only under the provisions of the Copyright Law of the Publisher s location, in its current version, and permission for use must always be obtained from Springer. Permissions for use may be obtained through RightsLink at the Copyright Clearance Center. Violations are liable to prosecution under the respective Copyright Law. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. While the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication, neither the authors nor the editors nor the publisher can accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may be made. The publisher makes no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein. Printed on acid-free paper Springer is part of Springer Science+Business Media (

5 Preface This volume is in three parts. The first part describes the education and assessment systems of the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong. Part I describes the contributions of authors in Part I of the book who focus on innovations and recent developments in English language education in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Chinese mainland. Part II describes chapters that focus on issues in testing and assessment in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland in Part II of the book. The book contains 16 chapters. Part I consists of nine chapters. Part II contains seven chapters. To avoid unnecessary repetition, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) will henceforth be referred to as Hong Kong. In the same vein, the Chinese mainland (mainland China) will be referred to as China. The initiative for creating and developing the book was to expose readers both in the South East Asian region and elsewhere in the world to important issues relevant to curriculum change and implementation along with different forms of assessment currently being practiced in Hong Kong and China. These two integral parts of the People s Republic of China, the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, differ in many ways but recurring themes in the chapters in the book illustrate the need, in both areas, for changes to teacher beliefs and practices through welldeveloped and regular staff development. A number of contributors discuss how once-and-for-all solutions are unlikely to work, with three specifically commenting on the need to take account of societal, school and sociological factors in staff training and development. The book is intended for professional educators, graduate students and interested parties who wish to read about the innovations and changes that have been taking place in these two closely-linked, although separate, regions. The book provides an opportunity to see not only what the two regions have in common but also where they may differ. v

6 vi Preface The Hong Kong Education and Examination System Before 2009 when the education system underwent major curriculum and examination reform Hong Kong s education system was modelled on the British system. Primary schools enrolled students for 6 years. Secondary schools operated on a model with students being streamed ( banded ) into three broad bands of ability, each band covering approximately 33 % of the student ability range. The system therefore consisted of years. Standard English language provision in Hong Kong primary and secondary schools is approximately 4 5 h per week for the duration of the academic year. Public examinations in Hong Kong are conducted by the Hong Kong Examination and Assessment Authority (HKEAA). Prior to 2012, there were two major public examinations. The Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) was administered at the end of 11 years of education Secondary 5 (Year 11). The total candidature for the HKCEE was in the region of 100,000, of whom approximately 80,000 were school candidates. At the end of Secondary 5 (Year 11) students could continue in full time education for 2 more years although there were only places for approximately 38 % of the Year 11 cohort to continue on to Year 12 and 13 studies. At the end of Secondary 7 (Year 13), students sat the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE), which was also used for university entrance purposes. In 2007, the total candidature for the HKALE was about 36,000. The Hong Kong secondary school curriculum underwent significant restructuring in Secondary education now lasts 6 years with a single public examination, the Hong Kong Diploma in Secondary Education (HKDSE) administered at the end of Year 12 (age 18), the annual candidature in 2013 being approximately 82,000. The corollary is that many more students now go on to Year 12 than went on to Year 13 previously before the changes, the annual HKALE candidature was in the region of 40,000. The Chinese Education and Examination System The broad framework of Hong Kong s education system now reflects that of China, with the latter having 9 years of compulsory education (usually 6 years of primary and 3 years of junior secondary). While schools in China are not streamed as they are in Hong Kong, there are key schools at both provincial and national level. Such schools are recognized as prestigious and receive a high level of support from either the Ministry of Education or the Educational Bureau of the province. At the end of junior high (the 9 years of compulsory education) on the basis of performance in municipal-level high-school entrance examinations students may

7 Preface vii continue on to 3 years of senior secondary (high school) education. Students who enter senior secondary education are streamed into either general senior secondary education or vocational senior secondary education. Standard English language provision in China s primary and secondary schools is similar to Hong Kong, in that children receive approximately 5 hours of tuition per week. Unlike Hong Kong, China does not have a public examinations body for school examinations. Examinations at the end of junior high (the zhongkao ) and at the end of senior high (the gaokao, the National Matriculation English Test [NMET]) are set and administered by municipal-level Education Bureaux. The candidature for the NMET in 2012 was approximately nine million. At tertiary level, undergraduates whose major is not English must pass the College English Test. Similar to the NMET, the candidature for the CET in 2012 was in the region of nine million. Hong Kong, China Hong Kong, China David Coniam Peter Falvey

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9 Contents Part I Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Perspectives 1 Innovation in Hong Kong s New Senior Secondary English Language Curriculum: Learning English Through Popular Culture... 3 Phil Benson and John Patkin 2 Hong Kong Secondary School English Teachers Beliefs and Their Influence on the Implementation of Task-Based Language Teaching Winnie Laifan Chan 3 Implementing the Innovative 2003 English Curriculum for Senior Secondary Schools in China: Teachers Beliefs and Practices Wenfeng Wang 4 English Language Teaching in Vocational Senior Secondary Schools in China Wen Zhao 5 EFL Teacher Learning in the Chinese Sociocultural Context Peiya Gu 6 Genre in the Teaching of English in Hong Kong: A Perspective from Systemic Functional Linguistics Corinne Maxwell-Reid 7 How Much Do Students Benefit from Attending Private Tutorial Schools? A Case Study of the Hong Kong Shadow Education System David Coniam ix

10 x Contents 8 Innovating in Tertiary Education: A Course in Language Play Roger Berry 9 Re-imagining Literacy: English in Hong Kong s New University Curriculum Ken Hyland Part II Assessment Perspectives 10 The Limits of Language Tests and Language Testing: Challenges and Opportunities Facing the College English Test Yan Jin 11 Scoring Fairness in Large-Scale High-Stakes English Language Testing: An Examination of the National Matriculation English Test Yi Mei and Liying Cheng 12 Putting Rater Confidence in Its Place: A Qualitative Investigation of Raters Perceptions on Using Confidence Scoring in Speaking Tests Tan Jin 13 Task-Based Language Teaching and Assessment in Chinese Primary and Secondary Schools Shaoqian Luo 14 Perspectives on Assessment for Learning in Hong Kong Writing Classrooms Icy Lee and Peter Falvey 15 Perspectives into the Onscreen Marking of English in Hong Kong David Coniam 16 Implementing Innovation: A Graded Approach to English Language Testing in Hong Kong Cameron Smart, Neil Drave, and Jennifer Shiu Index

11 Contributors Phil Benson is a Professor in Applied Linguistics at Macquarie University in Australia. His main research interests are in autonomy and out-of-school language learning, and popular culture in education. Roger Berry is Head of the Department of English at Lingnan University, where he teaches courses in Applied Linguistics. His main interests are in grammatical description and pedagogy. Recent publications include English Grammar: A Resource Book for Students (Routledge 2012) and Terminology in English Language Teaching (Peter Lang 2010). Winnie Laifan Chan is Head of the English Department at Lok Sin Tong Leung Kau Kui College. She has been teaching English Language in Hong Kong secondary schools for 20 years. She was an honorary professional consultant and part-time lecturer in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her main research interests are in language teachers beliefs and language teaching methodology. Liying Cheng is Professor of the Assessment and Evaluation Group at the Faculty of Education, Queen s University at Kingston Ontario, Canada. Her primary research interests are the impact of large-scale testing on instruction and the relationships between assessment and instruction. David Coniam is Chair Professor of Curriculum and Assessment and Head of Department of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the Faculty of Education & Human Development at The Hong Kong Institute of Education, where he is a teacher educator, working with teachers in Hong Kong primary and secondary schools. His main publication and research interests are in language assessment, language teaching methodology and computer assisted language learning. Neil Drave is a Manager (Assessment Development) at the HKEAA, where he runs the Language Proficiency Assessment for Teachers (English Language) and the HKDSE Literature in English examinations. He has a Ph.D. in English Discourse Studies from the City University of Hong Kong. xi

12 xii Contributors Peter Falvey is a teacher educator, having formerly been a Head of Department in the Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong. His main publication and research interests are in language assessment, first and second language writing methodology, and text linguistics. Peiya Gu is a Professor of English at Soochow University, where she also directs the Research Institute of English Linguistics. Her main publication and research interests are in teacher development, EFL/ESL teacher standards and computerassisted language learning. Ken Hyland is Chair Professor and Director of the Centre for Applied English Studies at The University of Hong Kong, where he coordinates the University s academic literacy activities and researches into language teaching and academic writing. He has published over 180 articles and 20 books on these topics, most recently Disciplinary Identities (CUP, 2012). He is co-editor of Applied Linguistics. Tan Jin is an Associate Professor in the Foreign Studies College at Northeastern University in China. His main interests lie in the field of language testing and educational assessment. Dr. Jin has particular expertise in the design and development of scoring instruments for language performance assessments. In addition, he constructs language corpora to investigate distinguishing features across proficiency levels. Yan Jin is a Professor of Applied Linguistics at the School of Foreign Languages, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. She has been involved in the design and development of the College English Test in China for over 20 years and is now Chair of the National College English Testing Committee. Her main publication and research interests are in language testing and assessment, in particular, large-scale English language testing and assessment. Icy Lee is a Professor in the Department of Curriculum Instruction in the Faculty of Education at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research interests are in second language writing and second language teacher education. Shaoqian Luo is a Professor in the School of Foreign Languages and Literature at Beijing Normal University. She has been involved in projects on language assessment and teacher education and is also a teacher educator working with teachers in Chinese primary and secondary schools. Her main publications and research interests are in task- based language learning and teaching, language assessment, and English teacher education and development. Corinne Maxwell-Reid is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prior to this she taught variously in secondary schools, tertiary institutions and adult education in Hong Kong, mainland China, Europe, and the middle East. Her research interests include written discourse, bilingual education, classroom language learning, and the use of systemic functional linguistics to investigate these areas.

13 Contributors xiii Yi Mei is a Ph.D. student in the Assessment and Evaluation Group at the Faculty of Education, Queen s University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Her major research interests are rater issues in large-scale language testing. John Patkin is a Hong Kong-based Media Studies researcher, formerly at the Centre for Popular Culture of the Humanities, The Hong Kong Institute of Education. His main publication and research interests are in radio and minorities. Jennifer Shiu is a Manager (Assessment Development) at the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority. She is currently studying towards a Doctorate of Education at the University of Hong Kong. Her research interests are in rater cognition and training. Cameron Smart is a Manager (Assessment Development) at the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority. He has been working in the field of EFL teaching and testing for the last 25 years. His interests lie in the application of linear unit grammar to discourse analysis, having recently obtained a Ph.D. examining the role of discourse reflexive elements in message board discourse from the University of Birmingham. Wenfeng Wang is a Lecturer in the Centre for Applied English Studies at The University of Hong Kong, where he teaches EAP courses to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. His main publication and research interests are in English language education in China, language teacher development and English for academic purposes. Wen Zhao is Dean of the Foreign Studies College of Northeastern University. Her main publication and research interests are in computer-assisted language learning, English curriculum and instruction, and corpus linguistics.

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