Keeping up Appearances: maintaining standards in Hong Kong’s Language Proficiency Assessment for Teachers of English (LPATE)

Keeping up Appearances: maintaining standards in Hong Kong’s Language Proficiency Assessment for Teachers of English (LPATE)

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Keeping up Appearances: maintaining standards in Hong Kong’s Language Proficiency Assessment for Teachers of English (LPATE)

The Language Proficiency Assessment for Teachers of English (LPATE) assesses the English proficiency of those who wish to teach English in Hong Kong schools. The LPATE is a standards-referenced assessment administered by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) and is a high-stakes test in the sense that candidates who do not reach the minimum standard (the ‘,benchmark’,) are not allowed to teach English. Since the test outcome is so crucial, both for the individual candidate and the teaching profession, it is important that the appropriate standards are implemented and maintained. Without consistency in this regard, thevarious parties which make use of the test results would be unable to use them to make employment-related decisions. The prevailing standard must be applied equally to all candidates and the standard of performance expected must be very similar from year to year. This paper explores the issue of standards within the context of teacher education and assessment in Hong Kong. It discusses how the standards were originally set for the LPATE and what procedures ,and practices are in place to maintain them.

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