HK exam board explains DSE grade boundaries in blog post, but students are still confused

HK exam board explains DSE grade boundaries in blog post, but students are still confused

HKEAA says grades will not be affected by how other candidates perform, nor how many other people sit a particular subject.

The Hong Kong Examination and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) has published a blog post to alleviate students’ concerns over how grade boundaries are set for the HKDSE exams.

The blog post was published on the HKEAA’s website on Monday, emphasising that a student’s grade will not be affected by how other candidates performed, nor by the number of people sitting a particular subject.

After examiners have gone through and marked all the papers, the grade boundaries, or “cut scores”, that determine which students pass and which student fail, will be determined by an “Expert Group” made up of HKEAA chief examiners.


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The group will use sets of data to set the proposed cut scores for each grade, including information about the papers’ difficulty, candidates’ performance and other statistics, as well as a description of what is generally expected at each grade.

The proposed cut scores will then be reviewed by internal meetings at exam authority. The proposals will then be considered, reviewed and eventually approved by the Public Exam Committee, and the approved score boundaries used to grade students’ papers.

Eunice Yip, 17, from Pooi To Middle School, took her DSE exams this year. She said she was still confused about how 5* and 5** grades are awarded.


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“How do you define which student gets which grade and how many will get it?”

Rosaline Chan, 18, from Maryknoll Convent School, said she was still concerned about how the cut scores are set, as they change a lot every year.

“I feel that there needs to be higher transparency,” she said.

Edited by Nicole Moraleda

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Grade boundaries explained

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