HKU has adopted standards-based assessment, thus, when using standards-based assessment as opposed to norm-based assessment, grade descriptors should be established so that students are clear about what standards are expected of them. Students will receive a grade based on these benchmarks as opposed to a ranking based on a norm. The course grade descriptors should be provided to the students and the assessors, so the assessment is assessed with little ambiguity.
When you are developing your course level grade descriptors, the normal expectations of student achieving particular grades should be described. Each course may develop marking rubrics for assessment items aligned with the course level grade descriptors. The marking rubric for each assessment item need not include all aspects of the grade descriptor. Some assessment items may be more appropriate for the higher level grade descriptor (essay) and some for the lower level grade descriptors (MCQs). In developing grade descriptors, the danger is to set too high levels of standards. The grade descriptors should represent a range of grades.
It is recommended that marking rubrics should be provided for each assessment item in the course.