Examination policies and practices : a comparative study in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao
Public examinations are frequent and are defended as being useful in indicating the levels of achievement expected for all, strengthening achievement motivation, and as a tool of the meritocratic selection mechanism for limiting resources. However, some teachers and many parents have complained about the pressure exerted by the all-important selection examinations, and the reliabilities and validities of examinations. These controversies about the examination policies and practices cannot be understood without reference to people's values and to political factors. They are influenced by people’s views of their society, of the purposes of examination, the availability of resources and who controls those resources. In order to better understand the formulation of examination policies and practices in a society, I try to compare and analyse the examination policies and practices adopted in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao with the four main issues in mind: (1) Why have examinations become progressively more prominent in educational system? (2) What are the major variations in examination policies and practices in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao? (3) How can these variations be explained? (4) What will be the future development of examination policies and practices in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao? It is suggested that the formulation of the examination policies and practices in these four places is socially constructed and is a product of ideological struggle, conflict and compromise among different stakeholders in the communities. In this thesis, after careful consideration of the historical, political, educational, socio-economic and cultural variables in these four places, a new assessment model has been devised. This multi-modal approach to assessment is believed to be able to 'bring out the best' in children. This new model can be used as a reference by different governments to make more effective assessment on their children.