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Title: Teachers as policy actors in Hong Kong : the case of school-based assessment policy
Author: Hui, Wai Tin
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 2463
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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This dissertation describes a study of the policy process in Hong Kong focussed on the New Senior Secondary School (NSS) reforms set within the framework of wider systemic changes to the sector. Amongst this suite of reforms, the School-Based Assessment (SBA) initiative has been one of the most controversial. Specifically, there have been two significant changes in the SBA policy in English Language public examination: (i) moving from compulsory SBA to allowing schools to opt out within the assessment cycle in 2006; and (ii) the withdrawal of the proposal for SBA to replace the public oral examination in 2008. This dissertation focuses on the decision making processes at work advancing these two policy changes as it moves through the policy process and asks: what is the role of teachers in this process, and how do they engage as policy actors in different moments of the policy process? Conceptually, the study draws on the policy work of Hodgson & Spours' (2006) concerning multiple policy trajectories and Vidovich 's (2002) levels of policy text production. Methodologically, the study adopts mixed methods to investigate my broad research question. A questionnaire survey was conducted to study the perception and reaction of English teachers during the above changes. Documentary analysis was undertaken to understand the anticipated and actual participation of teachers in the holistic and NSS reform initiatives. Interviews were conducted with key informants to understand the policy-making processes inside the related committees. The insights gathered from these three methods were then synthesised to draw a set of conclusions about the policy process in Hong Kong, and the role of teachers in this process. The findings suggest that teachers are largely passive in the policy process even when they encounter an unpopular policy. However it is also evident from my findings that teachers' participation is also circumscribed through a series of strategies deployed by other policy actors - notably the education officials - during various phases of the reform. The effect is to minimize what is viewed as interference from teachers in order to achieve the anticipated reform targets and schedule. In short, the government dominated the reform process in turn contributing to difficulties amongst teachers as frontline implementers. This study concludes with a series of recommendations that include teachers' strategic involvement in the policy process so as to strengthen their professional autonomy and maximise the reform effectiveness
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available