Message from the Director of CETL – Grahame Bilbow

Welcome to our Second Issue of the Teaching and Learning Connections e-newsletter!

Let me start by saying how delighted I was to hear the UGC Quality Assurance Council’s glowing comments about HKU’s academic standards in their recent report, which concluded:

The University has a strong and widespread commitment to the quality of learning opportunities and has put in place an appropriate and comprehensive quality assurance and quality enhancement system that supports its over-arching strategic goal to be a leading international institution of higher learning. Dialogue between the Audit Panel and staff and students of the University revealed a reflective academic community committed to attaining world-class academic standards and an enhanced student experience.

Such positive remarks are extremely encouraging, and I hope that, in a small way, Teaching and Learning Connections contributes to this reflective academic community by promoting an informal and inspiring dialogue centred on quality teaching and learning practices.

The present Issue focuses on a very important topic: assessment for learning. At HKU, many academics already recognise the important role that assessment plays in student learning, and considerable effort is already being devoted to promoting effective assessment approaches across the campus. Two recent, and particularly successful, examples of developmental work in assessment for learning in which the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) was involved are the International Conference on Assessment for Learning (ICAL) hosted by HKU in May 2015 ( and the Wise Assessment Resource website launched for all HKU teachers in September 2015 (

We feel that now is a perfect time, a year after the conference, to revisit our efforts and commitment to assessment for learning, and to plan future development and potential up-scaling. The present issue of the newsletter has therefore gathered a number of innovative assessment practices adopted by HKU colleagues across faculties, departments and units, some of which were presented during the ICAL Conference last year, and which have since benefited from further methodological improvements and critical reflection in terms of their effectiveness. I am also delighted to see that some of the articles in this Issue have been contributed by colleagues who are relatively new to assessment for learning practices.

I find it extremely encouraging that our colleagues have gone beyond practices to discuss critical issues such as why we need to assess students, what needs to be assessed, how assessment can be designed to develop students’ lifelong learning capacity, and to what extent teachers can learn from and improve their assessment practices. These inquiries are of great importance to the future of assessment at this University.

I do hope you will enjoy reading this Issue. Please do not hesitate to leave us messages and suggestions about possible improvements and contributions to future issues. Your input is extremely important to the development of a community of practice on teaching and learning at HKU.

Professor Grahame T. Bilbow
Professor Grahame T. Bilbow

Director, Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning
The University of Hong Kong

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