Criterion Referencing in General Education Foundation Programme: Practice, Review, and Vision
Kam Moon Pang, Derek Hang Cheong Cheung, Julie Chu Lee Chiu, Xin Gao, Shelly Liang Liao, Baldwin Bon Wah Wong and Wing Hung Wong
Criterion-referenced assessment means to measure students’ performance against a set of prescribed criteria and standards, which are the sole considerations in grading (i.e., not subject to subsequent grade-distribution adjustment) and made known to students well in advance. Ideally, this provides clear goals for student achievement in a course of studies—what knowledge, skills, and attitudes to achieve (criteria prescribed); where each stands in achieving them (standards met); and how one may move up the “ladder” of achievements.
General Education Foundation Programme (GEFP) comprises two compulsory, seminar-based, reading-intensive courses, In Dialogue with Humanity and In Dialogue with Nature. Assessment in both courses involves the evaluation of students’ ability to readclassics, to discuss with classmates issues of timely and timeless concerns, to collate intricate information, and to covey personal views on good life, good society, and humans’ place in nature in academic papers. In other words, GEFP demands students of a wide range of capabilities, spelt out as five intended learning outcomes (ILOs) for each of the two courses. To incorporate the ILOs into the grade descriptors of the course, and further to translate them into criteria and standards in the rubric for each assessment component, pose a big challenge. Added to it is the vexation of converting grades obtained from various assessment components into the course grade.
In the first part of this presentation, the design and implementation of criterion-referencing in GEFP will be reviewed by examining the difficulties encountered and foreseen, and by exploring ways to address them. In the second part, findings from interviews with teachers and students will be reported. Conclusions will be drawn on how, in the long run, to improve the effectiveness of criterion-referencing in informing teaching and learning.