The Education Bureau (EDB) has institutionalised an Applied Learning (ApL) quality assurance mechanism involving the Curriculum Development Council Committee on ApL, the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications and the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority to ensure that courses are developed according to the design principles; the curriculum is delivered as designed; and the learning outcomes of students can meet the set standards.
ApL courses are offered as elective subjects under the senior secondary curriculum. The results are recorded on the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE) certificate.
Effective from the 2018 HKDSE*, the reporting of students' performance in ApL subject is by three levels, namely, "Attained", "Attained with Distinction (I)" and "Attained with Distinction (II)". Performance of "Attained with Distinction (I)" is deemed comparable to Level 3 of Category A subjects of the HKDSE; and "Attained with Distinction (II)" is deemed comparable to Level 4 or above of Category A subjects of the HKDSE. As for Applied Learning Chinese (for non-Chinese speaking students) (ApL(C)), students' performance is reported as "Attained" and "Attained with Distinction".
* For the 2012-2017 HKDSE, ApL results were reported as "Attained" and "Attained with Distinction" on the HKDSE certificate.
In addition to the HKDSE qualification, students who have successfully completed ApL courses that are registered in the Qualifications Register as certificate programmes at Qualifications Framework (QF) Level 3 will obtain a QF Level 3 certificate issued by the course providers. ApL(C) is pegged at QF Level 1 to Level 3, whereas Applied Learning (Vocational English) (ApL(VocE)) is pegged at QF Level 2 to Level 3. Students taking ApL(C)/ApL(VocE) will obtain the respective QF certificate(s) issued by the course providers upon meeting the assessment and attendance requirements of different QF Levels of the courses. Details are available at the Qualifications Register website (www.hkqr.gov.hk).
Applied Learning (except for Applied Learning Chinese (for non-Chinese speaking students))
All along, student admission in tertiary institutions has followed the principle of institutional autonomy. For further studies in undergraduate programmes – Tertiary institutions value the learning experiences that students acquire in ApL. ApL subjects are recognised as elective subjects, or considered for award of extra bonus or additional information, varying by individual institutions, faculties or programmes.
Recognition of Applied Learning by University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded Universities Undergraduate Programmes
Source: UGC-funded Universities websites
Please refer to the websites of individual institutions for details:
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 applicationNote .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 of Applied Education Programme – Students with the result of "Attained" or "Attained with Distinction" in an ApL subject can be exempted from taking up to two elective subjects related to the study category when studying the Diploma of Applied Education Programme. On a case-by-case basis, institutions will examine in details the Applied Learning courses and relevant elective courses of DAE programme, and determine the number of exemption or the exemption based on the relevancy of the course content. Please refer to the website of Diploma of Applied Education Programme for details (www.dip-ae.edu.hk).
For further studies in the Diploma Yi Jin Programme – Students with the result of "Attained" or "Attained with Distinction" in an ApL subject may be exempted from taking up to a maximum of two elective courses in a relevant study area in the Diploma Yi Jin Programme. Whether students are eligible for the exemption and the number of elective course(s) to be exempted is determined by individual institutions having regard to the degree of relevance of the content of the Applied Learning subject that the students have completed to the elective course(s) in question. Please refer to the websites of Diploma Yi Jin Programme (www.yijin.edu.hk/english/) and 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).
For 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).
Applied Learning Chinese (for non-Chinese speaking students) (ApL(C))
ApL(C) provides non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students with an additional channel to obtain an alternative Chinese Language qualification. For the purpose of admission to post-secondary education programmes, ApL(C) is in general accepted as an alternative Chinese Language qualification, but it is not considered an elective subject. Currently, University Grants Committee-funded universities and most post-secondary institutions accept ApL(C) as an alternative qualification in Chinese Language for the admission of NCS students with “Attained” as the minimum grade required.
For work – CSB accepts "Attained" and "Attained with Distinction" in ApL(C) as meeting the Chinese language proficiency requirements of relevant civil service ranks.