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and A level examinations UK NARIC has recently conducted an analysis of grades achieved in Hong Kong secondary examinations relative to those awarded at GCSE and GCE A level examinations. In this study, the results were based upon the percentage of students achieving specific grades i.e. the grade distribution, rather than a subjective, content-based review. The subjects are considered broadly comparable in terms of volume of study at both levels. In Hong Kong at the advanced level, students usually take 4-5 subjects. This is higher than the average number of A levels being taken in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but a review of volume indicates the syllabus and examinations are closer to A levels than AS levels. Therefore, it is legitimate to state that the HKALE is broadly comparable to a GCE A level. UK NARIC is adapting its comparison advice accordingly. No differentiation relating to the subject studied has been made. Whilst some studies suggest a higher standard of mathematics and science assessment relative to those in humanities, this is not reflected in our results. Outcomes Based on an analysis of the cumulative percentages of the grades in each grading system, the following equivalence tables were produced to show how the grades compare:
HKALE vs. GCE A level: Hong Kong Grade A B C D E F U HKCEE vs. GCSE: Hong Kong Grade A B C D E F U UK Equivalent(s) A* A*, A A, B B, C C, D E, F and G U UK Equivalent(s) A A A B C/D D/E U
As demonstrated above, in both cases UK NARIC has found that, in terms of mark distribution, students achieving a C grade in the Hong Kong qualification would usually achieve an A grade in the comparable UK qualification. Where there is
an E in the HKALE is equivalent to either a C or a D in the UK A level.considerable overlap between the distribution of grades. For the purposes of comparing the grading distributions. the Hong Kong grade may have more than one possible equivalent and this is reflected in the table. the following charts were produced to demonstrate the relative distribution of grades in the two countries: HKCEE vs GCSE 1 0% 0 90% 80% 70 % 60% 50 % 40% 30% 20% 1 % 0 0% Ho ng Ko ng UK A* A B C D E F G U HKALE vs. GCE A level 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% A B C D E F U 30% 20% 10% 0% Hong Kong UK Methodological Notes Percentage breakdowns of the UK results were collected from the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) whilst the data for Hong Kong was provided by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA). the failure rates for the Hong Kong examinations have been adjusted so that they are the same as the UK failure rates. In addition. It is understood that a failure in one system should be considered to be equivalent to a fail in any other system provided that the qualifications are recognised as being at the same academic level as in the case of the UK A level and the Hong Kong Secondary School Examination. Full details of the methodology employed can be obtained from UK NARIC. . For example. the figures for the other Hong Kong grades have been stretched to reflect the adjustment of the failure rate. Accordingly.