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[Education News] Geography Exam question on "Water Temperature Test" is less difficult and expected to get high marks (Sing Tao Daily)

19/05/2020
  • In the second year of the Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE), "Fieldwork-based Questions" were assessed in Paper 1.

     

    Geography teacher Li Wan-cheng thinks that the design of the questions has learnt from last year's lesson and the difficulty level has been lowered.

     

    (Sing Tao Daily) More than 8,700 candidates sat for the Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) Geography and Science examination yesterday. This is the second year that Paper 1 "Fieldwork Based Questions" has been added. Some teachers took the test themselves and thought that the questions were still "testing the water temperature", and the drawing questions, which were the most feared by the candidates, were not yet seen. Compared with last year, the questions were less difficult to design, and it was believed that the candidates could score higher marks more easily than the previous year. In general, there were also a lot of "rehashing" of past questions and even "rehashing" of information pictures. There were no difficult questions and the level of difficulty was lower than that of last year.

      

             The Geography paper was divided into Paper 1 for the Compulsory Part and Paper 2 for the Elective Part, with a weighting of 75% and 25% respectively. There are new changes in the examination paper since last year, in which the number of multiple-choice questions in Part A of Paper 1 has been reduced by half to 20, and there is a new "fieldwork-based question" in Part B which is compulsory and accounts for 18 marks, making it a "disaster area" for candidates on their first attempt. In order to encourage and support her students, Ms Lee Yuen-ching, Head of Geography at the Chinese Missionary Alliance's Lau Wing Sang Secondary School, has signed up to accompany her students to sit for the examination this year. She believes that this year's question design has learnt from last year's lesson, and that the level of difficulty has been lowered, so it is easier for candidates to score high marks in this question than in the previous year.

     

      "Last year's question involved the use of some specific equipment, which required students to have actually used before they could answer, but in fact not all schools have the conditions to purchase such equipment, or may be able to arrange a site visit to students." Li Wan Cheng explained that this year, in a change from last year's practice, even if students have not gone on field trips, they may not be hindered from answering the questions. In addition, the questions continued to be free of the "drawing questions" included in the sample examination questions, and she laughed that she, as a candidate, was relieved not to see any drawing paper being handed out at the beginning of the examination, but at the same time, she felt that with the addition of the new questions to Paper 1, the first three to five years may still be a "testing of the water temperature", and she was not sure whether that would be the case next year.


      For Paper 2, the restriction was relaxed last year to allow "data or skills-based structured questions" and "short essay questions" to be answered without the mandatory requirement that they come from different elective modules. Ms Lee believed that the relaxation would allow candidates to focus on one of the modules, which would be less stressful and conducive to their performance. She also found that there were many "rehashed" questions in the examination paper, such as the first question of Part E, which asked candidates to identify slope nails, and even reused the picture that appeared in the question of Paper 2 of the 17th year, "If students familiarise themselves with the booklet and the questions of the previous examination, I believe it will not be difficult to answer.

     

      She also pointed out that the short essay-type questions in Paper 2 were questions that differentiated students' abilities. For example, in the first question that she chose to answer, she was asked in detail about the geological topography of northeastern Hong Kong, "Students have to know about the islands in northeastern Hong Kong, and they can cite Tung Ping Chau, Ap Lei Chau and so on, which are knowledge outside the textbooks, and they are required to not only look at the books, but also know about the geological parks, etc." In general, she thought that this year's Paper 2 was very good. On the whole, she believes that this year's question paper does not contain any difficult questions and the level of difficulty is lower than last year.

     

      On the other hand, the HKEAA said a total of 8,740 students took the Geography and Science examination yesterday. Six were unable to attend the examination due to illness, two were denied entry due to fever or acute respiratory infection, and none left the examination centre due to ill health.

  • Geography teacher Li Wan-cheng thinks that the design of the questions has learnt from last year's lesson and the difficulty level has been lowered.