The ultimate goals of the QA mechanism are to ensure that Applied Learning (ApL) courses are developed according to the design principles; the curriculum is delivered as planned; the learning outcomes of students can meet the standards which are set. These learning outcomes should be comparable within and across areas of studies of ApL, and comparable with the learning outcomes of other senior secondary subjects.
ApL courses are offered as elective subjects under the senior secondary curriculum. The results are recorded in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE).
Effective from the 2018 HKDSE Examination*, the reporting of student performance in ApL courses is refined to "Attained", "Attained with Distinction (I)" and "Attained with Distinction (II)". Performance of "Attained with Distinction (I)" is comparable to Level 3 while "Attained with Distinction (II)" is comparable to Level 4 or above of Category A subjects of the HKDSE Examination.
For Applied Learning Chinese (for non-Chinese speaking students) (ApL(C)), "Attained" and "Attained with Distinction" will continue to be used, and refinement of these levels would be considered when more data is collected.
In addition to HKDSE qualification, students who have successfully completed ApL courses that are registered in the Qualifications Register as certificate programmes at QF Level 3 will obtain a Qualifications Framework (QF) Level 3 certificate to be issued by the course provider. For ApL(C) courses, they are also pegged at QF Levels 1-3. Students will obtain QF certificate(s) issued by course providers in addition to the HKDSE qualification upon successful completion of these ApL courses. Details are available at the Qualifications Register website (www.hkqr.gov.hk).
* For the 2012-2017 HKDSE Examinations, ApL results were reported as "Attained" and "Attained with Distinction" on the HKDSE certificate. Students attaining the results of "Attained" and "Attained with Distinction" in the ApL courses are accepted as attaining the competencies required at Level 2 and Level 3 or above of Category A subjects of the HKDSE Examination respectively for the purposes of further studies and/or work.
On 28 June 2011, the Civil Service Bureau (CSB) announced that results in the HKDSE will be accepted for civil service appointment purposes from 20 July 2012 onwards as follows:
For details, please refer to the website of the CSB (www.csb.gov.hk/english/info/2170.html).
For further studies in undergraduate programmes – In general, the tertiary institutions value the learning experiences that students acquire in ApL. ApL subjects are used as elective subjects, or considered for award of extra bonus or additional information, varying by individual institutions, faculties or programmes. Please refer to the websites of individual institutions for details.
University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded Universities:
Source: UGC-funded Universities websites
For further studies in sub-degree programmes – The updated Revised Common Descriptors for Associate Degree (AD) and Higher Diploma (HD) Programmes under the New Academic Structure set out that students are eligible to apply for admission to AD or HD programmes if they meet the minimum entrance requirements of Level 2 in five HKDSE subjects (including Chinese Language and English Language). In general, each student is allowed to use up to two ApL subjects in the application. The updated Revised Common Descriptors were announced to schools through the EDB Circular Memorandum No. 40/2017 issued on 17 February 2017. Please refer to the websites of individual institutions for details.
For further studies in the Diploma Yi Jin Programme – Students who have completed their study of an Applied Learning subject with the result of "Attained" or "Attained with Distinction" may be exempted from taking up to a maximum of two elective courses in a relevant study area in the Diploma Yi Jin Programme. Please refer to the websites of individual institutions for details.
Information on multiple pathways for senior secondary graduates is available at the New Academic Structure Web Bulletin (https://334.edb.hkedcity.net/new/en/index.php).
For further studies in the Mainland/abroad, details are available at the New Academic Structure Web Bulletin (https://334.edb.hkedcity.net/new/en/pathway2.php).
Applied Learning Chinese (for non-Chinese speaking students) (ApL(C))
By design, ApL(C) is a language course using the vocational field as the context. It differs from other Applied Learning (ApL) courses which focus on the knowledge and beginners’ skill set related to a specific professional/vocational field. Against this background, UGC-funded universities and most post-secondary institutions accept ApL(C) as an alternative qualification in Chinese Language (ACL) for the admission of NCS students with "Attained" as the minimum grade required. In view of this, ApL(C) cannot be treated as an elective subject. Details are as follows:
For work – CSB accepts "Attained" and "Attained with Distinction" in ApL(C) as meeting the Chinese language proficiency requirements of relevant civil service ranks.
To enhance the understanding of the ApL courses, the course synopsis (including course learning outcomes, organisation and structure, articulation, learning and teaching) and assessment synopsis (including performance descriptors, assessment scheme, assessment tasks and exemplars) are already available.