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  • 2020ChongPhD

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Under a top-down rubric policy: the perceptions and actualisations of assessment for learning and rubric in higher education in Hong Kong

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Doris Chong
Publication date11/02/2020
Number of pages214
Awarding Institution
Award date6/02/2020
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Assessment for Learning has been a popular topic in higher education. However, it appears challenging for teachers and students in Hong Kong to adopt this concept. Given the opportunity of a top-down rubric policy in one university in Hong Kong, this thesis explores the perceptions and actualisations of Assessment for Learning and rubrics of students, educators and managers in this context. It offers a model of a holistic assessment policy that refocuses on the stakeholders, content and processes.
The study is rooted in an interpretivist paradigm and qualitative data are generated through two focus groups of student participants and fourteen semi-structured interviews of educator and manager participants. This research demonstrates that measurement is the major function of assessment and rubrics in this context due to the Confucian-heritage culture, the dominant assessment discourse and suboptimal assessment literacy, while practical knowledge of learning features exist as a result of the participants’ applied-discipline backgrounds. This research delves into the barriers and opportunities of actualising Assessment for Learning and rubrics under a mandatory policy. Interestingly, pragmatic and contextual issues are key challenges that create tensions in the actualisation, rather than the concept itself or the disagreement on having a policy. This research somewhat concurs with suggestions from the contemporary literature that assessment practice change is complex and should consider institutional and cultural uniqueness.
Based on the familiarity and acceptance of features of Assessment for Learning because of the applied-discipline background, the thesis therefore offers a context-specific model that engages stakeholders in various processes. It also includes the policy content necessary for improving the enactment of this policy. Other institutions that share similar cultures and backgrounds can benefit from the model when initiating an assessment policy.