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Education Bureau finds ‘inadequacies’ in development of history exams for Hong Kong secondary school students

March 25, 2021

Original Article:

In a report on Thursday, the Education Bureau concluded there were lapses in maintaining a high standard of question-setting for exam papers, laying the problems at the feet of one staff member in particular, whom it did not name.

“An HKEAA officer did not comply with some of the HKEAA rules and regulations, and did not adhere to the quality assurance measures in the development of the question papers,” the bureau’s task force said.

“There were also inadequacies in the existing HKEAA quality assurance measures that might have hampered the monitoring of the question paper development process.”

The report hinted at failings by the exams body, which had a quality control mechanism in place, but one that only functioned properly when all personnel carried out their duties in strict compliance with the rules.

But, as a task force spokesman noted, the review found that in the different stages of the question paper development process – including presetting, moderation, checking and proofreading – the officer concerned did not comply with the existing regulations.

No less than eight recommendations were made by the task force for avoiding similar shortcomings in the future.

The controversy over the history tests started in May when the exam body scrapped a controversial university entrance exam question on early 20th century Sino-Japanese relations at the behest of the Education Bureau.

The offending Diploma of Secondary Education paper had asked students if they agreed that Japan “did more good than harm” to China between 1900 and 1945, the period that included the aftermath of the First Sino-Japanese War and Japan’s invasion of China during the Second World War.


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