How HKDSE exam papers are protected against malpractice

How HKDSE exam papers are protected against malpractice

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Weslie Siao (second from right) and his wife, Tsai Ying-ying (second from left) appear at West Kowloon Court.
Photo: David Wong/SCMP

The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) has released a blog post clarifying the methods used to protect Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination papers from malpractice.

This comes after Weslie Siao, a Chinese language tutor from popular tutoring centre Modern Education, and three others were charged with leaking exam questions. It is believed that Siao received the questions for the 2016 and 2017 Chinese language exams through a phone message from two other defendants, including his wife Tsai Ying-ying. Tsai is also a Chinese language tutor at the same tutoring centre.

Siao was granted cash bail of HK$2,000 (US$255) last week, but weekly reports to a police station is part of the condition of his bail.

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According to the blog post, only a small number of people who are involved in the preparation of the test papers have access to the question.

Those working on the papers must sign a confidentiality agreement and declare their interests before they can be hired. Teachers, textbook publishers, and tutors at tutorial centres are not allowed to be involved in the writing and processing of test papers before the exams take place.

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Other persons involved in the exams, such as examiners in oral assessments, centre supervisors and invigilators, have no access to the exam papers before the day of the exam.

For added security, the test papers are packaged and labelled in sealed plastic bags. The papers are then stored in a warehouse, the location of which is secret. The papers are only delivered to the examination centre on the day of the exam. At the examination hall before the exam stations, the centre supervisors can only open the bags containing the papers with invigilators and students there to witness it.

The post also cites section 15 of the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority Ordinance. This law states that members of staff that have been appointed to work with examination papers should work to preserve the secrecy of the papers and not communicate information to other people, or let others access records or information relating to the examinations. The penalty for violating this law is a HK$25,000 fine and six months imprisonment.

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