- In the 2000/01 academic year, quality assurance (QA) inspections were conducted in 50 schools, of which 30 were primary schools, 17 were secondary schools and 3 were special schools. Starting from 2000/01, inspection of kindergartens has been conducted in the mode of Quality Assurance Inspection and 20 kindergartens were selected for inspection.
- This booklet is a summary of the major findings on the general performance of these schools and kindergartens including the key strengths and areas for improvement identified under the four domains: (1) Management & Organisation; (2) Learning & Teaching; (3) Support for Pupils & School Ethos; and (4) Attainment & Achievement.1
- In 2000/01, primary, secondary and special schools inspected consisted of a mix of the schools which had volunteered for inspection and those selected by ED from a stratified random sample. Care was exercised to strike a balance in the number of schools by type, by district and by sponsor.
- The simplified mode of QA inspection was also conducted in a number of secondary schools. It was to ascertain the possibility of "speeding up" the whole process of QA inspection in order that more schools could be inspected in the near future.
- The findings in the annual report only pertain to the 50 schools and 20 kindergartens inspected and are not meant to be generalised across the kindergartens, primary, secondary and special schools in the territory. However, similar key issues identified over the past few years speak for some common phenomena among Hong Kong schools alike and warrant our special attention.
1 Charting of children's development cannot be achieved without an on-going process of continuous observation and documentation of various aspects of their development. Given that each QA inspection visit to a kindergarten lasts only 3-4 days, accurate assessment of the fourth domain "Children's Development" is impossible. Kindergartens should take it as their responsibilities to establish appropriate evaluation mechanisms for the assessment of children's development.
Summary of Major Findings Primary, Secondary and Special Schools
- As in the past three years, the major inspection findings in this academic year revealed that schools' performance in the domain of Support for Pupils and School Ethos was the strongest among the four domains, whereas their performance in the domain of Learning and Teaching was relatively weak (Figure 1).
- With respect to the domain of Management and Organisation, "resources and accommodation" was the strongest area, whereas "self-evaluation" was still the weakest area.
- Among the four areas in the domain of Learning and Teaching, schools performed relatively better in "pupil learning" than in "curriculum", "teaching" and "performance assessment".
- The strongest areas in the domain of Support for Pupils and School Ethos were "links with parents and community" and "pastoral care", whereas "support for pupils with special educational needs" was again the weakest area.
- The academic performance of pupils was on the whole acceptable as regards schools' performance in the domain of Attainment & Achievement, whereas non-academic performance was generally good.
- The major inspection findings in the 2000/01 academic year revealed that kindergartens' performance in the domain of Support to Children and School Ethos was better than the other two domains (Figure 2).
- In the domain of Management and Organisation, the area on "utilisation of resources" was the strongest, whereas performance in the area "self-evaluation" was the weakest.
- In the domain of Learning and Teaching, the area on "children's learning" was rated the highest, whereas kindergartens' performance in the area of "assessment of learning experiences" was the weakest.
- Among the three areas in Support to Children and School Ethos, the strongest area was the "school climate", whereas kindergartens' performance in the area "caring and supporting services" was relatively weak.
Figure 2: School Performance (By Area - Kindergartens)
Key Strengths IdentifiedPrimary, Secondary and Special Schools
- The key strengths identified in each of the four domains are listed below:
Management & Organisation
Learning & Teaching
- School accommodation was well-equipped with adequate provision of audio-visual equipment, information technology (IT) equipment and other teaching aids.
- Schools had made good attempts to acquire resources from various sources. A well-established school expenditure record system was employed by schools.
- The school mission and aims of education were well defined and widely supported by teachers.
- Principals and senior staff, having good experience in both teaching and administration, were able to help the schools formulate appropriate school goals and development strategies. They were forward-looking and proactive in initiating new ideas and school-based projects.
Support for Pupils & School Ethos
- Schools in general had a well-formulated assessment policy and system with clear guidelines for teachers.
- Most teachers possessed good attitude and knowledge for teaching. Their exposition was clear and systematic. Classroom management was effective and teacher-pupil relationship was good.
- Pupils were attentive and well-behaved in class. Many of them were motivated and showed interest in learning.
Attainment & Achievement
- The whole-school approach to discipline and guidance was implemented effectively.
- There was good communication between schools and parents through various channels.
- A caring and harmonious atmosphere was cultivated in the school, which facilitated the development of good characters and positive values in pupils.
- There was good utilisation of community resources to facilitate the organisation of programmes for pupils and to promote professional development of the staff.
- A good variety of activities were organised to enrich pupils' school life and to develop their potentials. Strong commitment of teachers in organising extra-curricular activities was observed.
- Practical advice and updated information about further studies and careers were provided for pupils in secondary schools.
- Pupils were well-behaved and polite. Their attendance and punctuality rates were high.
- Pupils took part in a variety of extra-curricular activities with keen interest and gained a number of awards in the inter-school competitions.
- The key strengths identified in each of the three domains are listed below:
Management & Organisation
Learning & Teaching
- An effective filing system was established to enable easy retrieval. There was good arrangement and smooth implementation of daily work.
- Most kindergartens inspected had a high ratio of professionally trained teachers.
- Clear guidelines on administrative work were provided for smooth implementation of school work.
- The management encouraged and supported staff to pursue professional training. Schools had formulated st aff development plans.
- A safe, hygienic and comfortable learning environment was provided. Most kindergartens could make good utilisation of space for arranging play activities and display of children's work.
Support to Children & School Ethos
- Children enjoyed going to kindergartens and found learning pleasurable. They actively participated in various kinds of activities. They were active in communicating with others.
- Kindergartens were able to provide children with learning experiences built on their prior knowledge and previously acquired skills.
- Opportunities were provided daily for children to experience individual learning, group learning and whole-class learning.
- A mechanism to monitor curriculum implementation was set up and curriculum reviews were conducted on a regular basis.
- A harmonious and pleasant atmosphere was observed in the kindergartens inspected. The relationships among the principal, staff and children were good.
- There was good communication between schools and parents through various channels and parents were well informed of the operation and latest developments of the school.
- Parents were invited to observe children's participation in school activities and parents' opinions were collected through questionnaires as reference for school improvement.
- Kindergartens could make good utilisation of community resources to support school educational activities, to enrich children's learning experiences and to promote professional development of the staff.
Key Issues Identified
- Among the schools and kindergartens inspected this year, key issues were identified for action in the domains of Management & Organisation, Learning & Teaching and Support for Pupils & School Ethos. A summary of these key issues listed in descending order of predominance is given below.
Primary, Secondary and Special Schools
Management & Organisation
Learning & Teaching
- Thorough evaluation of school programmes at both school and subject levels should be conducted. Tools and procedures should be established to facilitate schools' self-evaluation.
- Training needs of staff should be analysed and reviewed to map out a coherent and school-based plan for staff training and development. Professional exchange of experience and collaboration among the teaching staff should be promoted.
- Communication and co-ordination between the management and staff should be strengthened in all kinds of school activities so that staff concerns and problems could be better addressed and staff initiative further developed. This would also help boost staff morale and team spirit.
- For effective implementation of school-based management, wider staff participation in decision-making would be required. Shared decision-making involving teachers of all ranks would help build up a sense of ownership with respect to the school policies.
- A review of the various initiatives introduced should be conducted so that proper work priorities could be set to best match the resources available, the strengths of staff and the needs of pupils.
- Leadership of the middle management, including heads of various subject departments and functional units, should be strengthened. Schools should provide relevant training for the middle managers to enhance their management skills and professional knowledge.
- An open and fair staff appraisal system which links with the staff development programmes should be instituted.
Support for Pupils & School Ethos
- As regards curriculum management, there should be better co-ordination among different subject departments and functional groups. Closer monitoring and review of the implementation of the school curriculum were also required. The roles of the panel heads, in primary schools in particular, in leading and monitoring curriculum development should be strengthened.
- A greater variety of learning and teaching strategies should be adopted to enhance interaction in class, to help pupils develop critical thinking skills as well as to cater for pupils' mixed abilities.
- With respect to curriculum planning and organisation, schools should give due attention to cater for learner differences and to broaden pupils' learning experiences when developing a school-based curriculum. Remedial teaching as one of the means to address the issue of learner differences should be carefully planned and reviewed at regular intervals.
- Teachers' expectations of their pupils should be raised so that pupils would be encouraged to develop their potentials to the full. Greater importance should be attached to the development of pupils' generic skills. Pupils could be encouraged to pursue more independent studies through better utilisation of IT and library resources.
- Teaching skills, questioning techniques in particular, required further refinement so as to enhance the effectiveness of learning and teaching.
- Information derived from assessment should be fully utilised to improve learning and teaching. Assessment information could, for instance, be used for addressing pupils' learning problems and adjusting teaching programmes.
- The design of remedial teaching programmes and the adoption of teaching strategies should be reviewed to optimise the effects of such provision.
- A policy for the provision of support for pupils with special educational needs should be established, especially for those with severe learning difficulties.
- Training in counselling and guidance should be provided for teachers to enhance their skills in handling pupils' behavioural and adjustment problems.
- An effective mechanism should be established for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of remedial teaching programmes and cross-curricular programmes.
Management & Organisation
Learning & Teaching
- To facilitate self-improvement, kindergartens should establish a self-evaluation mechanism. Concrete tools and procedures should be formulated. The results of self-evaluation should be followed-up to best match the needs of schools in drawing up development plans with short and long term goals.
- Communication and co-ordination between and among the management and staff should be strengthened in implementing the school policy and in conducting school activities. Good relationship should be established to facilitate team spirit. In addition, channels of communication should be used appropriately to allow wider staff participation in decision-making.
- A clear and open staff appraisal system should be set up to assess the performance of the staff. Through this appraisal system, the staff could have a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses as well as their training needs.
- After analysing and reviewing the training needs of the staff, a school-based teacher training and development plan should be formulated. Sharing of teaching experiences and good practices should be promoted among teaching staff.
- The kindergarten premises should be well utilised so as to spare more space to conduct activities for children.
- In distributing the workload among teachers, the strengths of teachers, the resources available and the needs of the school should be considered.
Support to Children & School Ethos
- Assessment modes on children's learning experiences should be reviewed. Children should not be assessed by means of dictations, tests and examinations. Continuous observation and recording should be adopted to assess the various aspects of children's development. Results of the assessments should be used to review teaching effectiveness so as to enhance children's learning.
- The amount of assignments given should be reduced. Mechanical copying exercises should be avoided. A greater variety of tasks which help stimulate children's creativity should be designed.
- The comprehensiveness, balance and appropriateness of curriculum design should be reviewed. Curriculum linkage of the Upper Kindergarten Class, Lower Kindergarten Class and Nursery Class should be strengthened so as to match with children's abilities, interests and needs. Diversified activities should be devised to enhance children's learning experiences and to promote their all-round and balanced development.
- The roles of the school management in planning, co-ordinating, implementing and reviewing the curriculum should be strengthened. Curriculum review with teacher participation should be conducted regularly in order to encourage effective teaching.
- Fine motor development and eye-hand co-ordination of children in Nursery Class should be strengthened through play and activities. Nursery Class children should not be asked to do writing.
- Musical and physical activities should be arranged for children on a daily basis. More free-choice activities for children should be designed to promote their active learning.
- Time management should be effectively utilised and the tempo of activities should be appropriately regulated. 'Active' and 'quiet' activities should be alternately and appropriately arranged in the daily schedule. In addition, more small group learning should be conducted to promote effective learning.
- Teachers should be given opportunities to participate in school-based curriculum design catering for children's abilities, interests and needs.
- Home-school co-operation should be established. Parent education on quality early childhood education should be effectively promoted so that parents would support the implementation of a balanced curriculum in the school.
Support for Schools
- In addition to carrying out QA inspections, ED also renders support services to schools and disseminates good practices identified in inspections with a view to helping schools enhance their quality of learning and teaching.
- Three QA Support (QAS) Teams have been established through the redeployment of manpower resources within the Inspection Section to render post-inspection support to the schools that have undergone QA inspection since the 2000/01 academic year.
- ED has continued to disseminate the good practices identified during QA inspections through experience-sharing seminars. To further promulgate the good practices identified during QA inspections, a new site has been created on the ED homepage.
- ED has continued to assist schools in enhancing the effectiveness of learning and teaching of specific subjects by organising district-based experience-sharing seminars under the District Teacher Network Scheme.
- The current range of advisory and supporting services offered by ED to schools will be continued.
- Support services provided to the kindergartens were stepped up in the 2000/01 academic year. ED conducted seminars and workshops on School Self-evaluation (SSE). In addition, talks on various topics were delivered to teachers and parents of kindergartens. A set of guidelines and resource materials for SSE has been developed and issued to kindergartens for reference.
- Starting from the 2001/02 academic year, ED has used stratified random sampling to select a representative sample of 30 kindergartens, 70 primary, secondary and special schools in the territory for inspection. This is to ensure sufficient coverage of various types of schools so that inspection findings can reflect the state of school education in Hong Kong.
- QA inspection procedures are further streamlined to enhance cost-effectiveness. A standard inspection model (SIM) has been launched in the 2001/02 inspection cycle. Under the SIM, the subjects inspected are sampled from each of the Key Learning Areas (KLA) and the inspection period is shortened to seven days for secondary schools. Despite the deployment of manpower to provide post-inspection support services, the launch of the SIM enables a 40 % increase in the number of primary and secondary schools inspected in the 2001/02 academic year.
- In 2001/02, the current set of performance indicators will be examined and refined with a view to drawing up indicators that are commensurate with the curriculum reform initiatives. Besides, upon completion of the Quality Education Fund project on the development of performance indicators for measuring pupils' affective and social outcomes as well as the academic value-added improvement of secondary pupils, the accompanied computer software and training will be made available to schools to facilitate their use of those indicators in self-evaluation.
- To be in line with the curriculum reform, the focus of QA inspection will be reviewed according to the proposals put forward by the Curriculum Development Council. Inspection guidelines will also be revised accordingly.
- The performance indicators for kindergartens on the domain of Learning and Teaching have been refined with two levels of evidence of performance provided. Work has also started on the refinement of the performance indicators for the other domains.
- From the 2001/02 academic year onwards, the quality assurance inspection reports of the kindergartens would be uploaded onto the ED homepage to keep in line with the inspection procedures of primary and secondary schools.
- Successful implementation of school self-evaluation (SSE) is crucial to the nurturing of a culture of schools managing their own affairs. School development officers of the four Regional Education Offices (REO) will support schools in this aspect of work through school development visits. It is anticipated that through SSE, schools not only seek continuous, self-initiated improvement, but they are also in full grasp of their own stages of development. In the long run when all schools are fully accustomed to SSE, QA inspection can take the form of validating a school's evaluation of its own performance. By then, the inspection cycle can be shortened.
- In 2002/03, QA inspection will have been implemented for six years. It would be opportune for an overall review of the QA processes to be conducted. In this connection, local and overseas experts will be commissioned to conduct the review to ensure the efficacy of the QA processes.