HomeThe Asia-Pacific Education Researchervol. 21 no. 2 (2012)

Missing Conceptions of Assessment: Qualitative Studies with Hong Kong Curriculum Leaders

Sammy King Fai Hui

Discipline: Education



The key to successful of assessment reform depends on how teachers understand the concept and practices of assessment. Brown’s (2003, 2004) studies provided initiation for educators in this area. Different versions of Brown’s questionnaire on Teachers’ Conceptions of Assessment (TCoA) used both in Hong Kong and China rendered new insights and information into the wide range of conceptions and practices of assessment among practitioners in Hong Kong and the Mainland China (Brown, Kennedy, Fok, Chan, & Yu, 2009; Li & Hui, 2007). These results showed that there might be a fundamental difference in conceptions and practices of assessment between practitioners in a Chinese context and those in the West. Qualitative interviews were conducted among five local primary school curriculum leaders of different backgrounds and subject specialists. Preliminary results showed that there are culture-specific as well as context-based differences. These are illustrated as assessment as a way to change students’ learning attitude, assessment as identifying students’ potentials, and using assessment to prepare students for future challenges. The results are helpful in revealing the possible cultural factors and their influences that contribute to the dissimilarities found in the conceptions of and practices in assessment. This missing link broadens our understanding and allows us to better measure teachers’ conceptions and practices of assessment.