Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education
The Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE; Traditional Chinese: 香港中學文憑) will be the only public exam in the new 3-3-4 education system to be introduced in Hong Kong secondary schools; it will be a replacement of the existing Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination
Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination
The Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination was a standardized examination between 1974 and 2011 after most local students’ five-year secondary education, conducted by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority . The examination will be discontinued in 2012...

 (HKCEE) and Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination
Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination
The Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination , or more commonly known as the A-level, conducted by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority , is normally taken by senior students at the end of their matriculation in Hong Kong. In 2010, 39,772 candidates entered for the examination...

 (HKALE) and be the new benchmark examination of Joint University Programmes Admissions System
Joint University Programmes Admissions System
The Joint University Programmes Admissions System or JUPAS in Hong Kong is a unified system for applying to the nine member institutions for full-time undergraduate programmes. In 2008 admissions, 35,298 students applied for programmes of the nine institutions under this scheme...

 (JUPAS, the undergraduate admission allocation system in Hong Kong). Many industry specialists in Hong Kong feel that the DSE is a close equivalent to the International Baccalaureate Diploma program, giving students two languages, Mathematics, and three elective subjects.

Subjects examined

Under the new examination framework, many existing subjects in the HKCEE and HKALE will be combined to suit the varying interests and abilities of the students. Candidates will be examined on core subjects and elective options of their preference. Most school candidates are expected to take four core subjects plus two or three elective subjects (see list below).

Each HKDSE subject includes a compulsory part and an elective or extended part. The elective or extended part consists of modules from which students may choose. An elective module is an integral component of the standard curriculum whereas an extended module is designed for students who need additional knowledge and skills.
  • Elective Part Example: The elective part of the HKDSE English Language curriculum will take up 25% of lesson time. Proposed modules in the elective part are divided into two groups: Language Arts and Non-Language Arts, both of which are about learning English in different contexts and media.
  • Extended Part Example: HKCEE Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, HKALE Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Mathematics and Statistics will be merged into a single new subject known as Mathematics. Canditiates who wish to study Mathematics at a higher level will have the flexibility to choose whether they would like to take Calculus and Statistics or Algebra and Calculus.

Whenever it is available in JUPAS or not, in order to fulfill the requirement of undergraduate programmes provided by tertiary institutions, a certain degree of minimum requirements is needed to be achieved:
  • For Bachelor Degrees: Level 3 in English Language and Chinese Language, plus Level 2 in Mathematics, Liberal Studies and at least one electives.
  • For Higher Diplomas/Associate Degrees: Level 2 in English Language, Chinese Language, and any other 3 subjects.

For Some Institutions has a higher general entrance requirement including a higher language requirement or extra elective. They may also not counting subjects which is not from Category A as well.

Students can take maximum of 8 subjects in HKDSE, and, in the case of taking 8 Category A subjects only, at least one of them should be Ethics and Religious Studies
Religious studies
Religious studies is the academic field of multi-disciplinary, secular study of religious beliefs, behaviors, and institutions. It describes, compares, interprets, and explains religion, emphasizing systematic, historically based, and cross-cultural perspectives.While theology attempts to...

, Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

, Visual Arts
Visual arts
The visual arts are art forms that create works which are primarily visual in nature, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, and often modern visual arts and architecture...

, or Physical Education
Physical education
Physical education or gymnastics is a course taken during primary and secondary education that encourages psychomotor learning in a play or movement exploration setting....



Category A :New Senior Secondary (NSS) subjects
Subjects which traditional Secondary Education provides, Which include Core subjects which is the requirement of all students. And numbers of electives which can be used/will be used as admission requirements in Universities. For Mathematics, the extended-part's grade is separately listed in certificates.

Core subjects:
  • Chinese Language
    Chinese language
    The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

  • English Language
    English language
    English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

  • Mathematics
    Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

  • Liberal Studies

  • Chinese Literature
    Chinese literature
    Chinese literature extends thousands of years, from the earliest recorded dynastic court archives to the mature fictional novels that arose during the Ming Dynasty to entertain the masses of literate Chinese...

  • Literature in English
  • Chinese History
  • Economics
    Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

  • Ethics and Religious Studies
  • Geography
    Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

  • History
    History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

  • Tourism and Hospitality Studies
  • Biology
    Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

  • Chemistry
    Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

  • Physics
    Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

  • Combined Science (choosing 2 units out of 3 (Biology,Chemistry and Physics))
  • Integrated Science (consisting of Biology,Chemistry and Physics)
  • Business, Accounting and Financial Studies
  • Design and Technology
  • Health Management and Social Care
  • Technology and Living (previously Home Economics)
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Music
    Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

  • Visual Arts
    Visual arts
    The visual arts are art forms that create works which are primarily visual in nature, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, and often modern visual arts and architecture...

  • Physical Education
    Physical education
    Physical education or gymnastics is a course taken during primary and secondary education that encourages psychomotor learning in a play or movement exploration setting....

Category B:Applied learning
The current Career-orientated Course, COC will be renamed Applied Learning, ApL under the new system to reflect the nature of the curriculum. The aim of the Applied Learning subject is to allow students who do not like the traditional academic route to pursue vocational education, to earn a living by themselves and graduate with a practical skill that matches the needs of employers.
Applied learning may be used by tertiary institutes as admission requirement. Which is equivalent of a Grade 2 in an elective for Attained and Grade 3 for Attained with Distinction.

Category C:Other Languages

Possible to use as replacement for Chinese for University admissions, but only allowed for students whose mother tongue is not Chinese, and cannot be used as a replacement for English. It can be use an elective for Chinese students as long as not using it as an language requirement.
  • Japanese
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Hindi
  • Urdu

For Category A subjects the curriculum, examination is provided and marked by HKEAA themselves. For Category B subjects the courses are provided by the institutions and marks are adjusted by HKEAA. Category C subjects are indeed, the same paper as the International General Certificate of Secondary Education and provided and marked by University of Cambridge International Examinations.

It is also noted that it is NOT NECESSARY for institution or departments to recognize student's result Category B and C subjects not using as alternative of Chinese pass,through sometimes they might consider them as a referencing material .

Grading and Standards

HKDSE results will be expressed in terms of five levels, of which level 5 is the highest and level 1 the lowest. Distinction levels 5** and 5* will be awarded to the two best-performing groups of candidates.

The HKDSE will use a criterion-referenced grading system
Criterion-referenced test
A criterion-referenced test is one that provides for translating test scores into a statement about the behavior to be expected of a person with that score or their relationship to a specified subject matter. Most tests and quizzes written by school teachers are criterion-referenced tests. The...

; experts from each subject will set the standards for each level. Level descriptors and examples will be based on syllabus objectives and collected data, including past exam statistics and answer scripts. Grading in a criterion-referenced system reflects a candidate's level of attainment in the particular subject and not where the candidate stands compared with others who have taken the exam. Before the exam the candidate will be familiar with the different level descriptors and samples, and may use them as objectives for their study. After results are released, candidates will have a clearer picture of their attainment level. Tertiary institutions and employers will have more robust information to use for admission or recruitment purposes.

A criterion-referenced system fits the principles and objectives of the new 3-3-4 secondary system in Hong Kong. Clearly stated learning outcomes and grading standards help teachers and students understand the topic at hand, provide a guide for improvement, and realistically benchmark attainment levels.

Apart from this high-stakes examination, School-based assessment
School-based assessment
The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority has recently moved from norm-referenced to standards-referenced assessment, including the incorporation of a substantial school-based summative oral assessment component into the compulsory English language subject in the Hong Kong Certificate...

(SBA) will also be implemented to reduce reliance on ‘one-off’ public oral examination.

External links

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