Exams authority encourages teachers to conduct trials in class before full implementation in 2016 The deputy head of the exams authority has called on head teachers to take a proactive role in integrating school-based assessment as part of normal teaching ahead of its implementation in all subjects by 2016. 'I hope that all principals will exercise their professional leadership within their schools to allocate appropriate time in terms of class learning hours for teachers and students to carry out school-based assessment in class,' Francis Cheung Wing-ming, deputy secretary-general of Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority, said. 'That allocation of time slots needs to be able to demonstrate the weighting of school-based assessment in the public exams.' Dr Cheung was speaking after one of four seminars education officials held this week with principals and assistant principals to kick off the third round of consultation on the new senior secondary school structure. They were the first in a series of 56 information sessions the Education and Manpower Bureau is holding with teachers over the coming two months, focusing on detailed arrangements for curriculum and assessment reforms to be introduced from 2009. School-based assessment - under which part of students' coursework counts towards their final results - is a key feature of the reforms, which will see students leave secondary school a year earlier and spend an extra year at university. But while bureau officials said this week's meetings had gone well, some principals have expressed concerns over the timetable for the implementation of the assessment. In the face of resistance from teachers, the EMB in June said it would reduce the weighting of the assessment in a number of subjects. Its implementation would also be pushed back in some subjects to beyond 2012, the first year students are to sit the new Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education exams. Mathematics - one of the four core subjects - is to be implemented last, not counting towards students' grades until 2016. But Tso Kai-lok, principal of Elegancia College in Sheung Shui and vice-chairman of Education Convergence, said the adjustments were welcome but 'not enough to allay teachers' fears'. 'This is an improvement, but we don't think it is appropriate to have a timetable,' he said. Mr Tso said the assessments should not be extended to courses that did not already have it until the government reduced class sizes and increased the number of university places. With classes of more than 40 students, the system would place considerable pressure and marking workload on teachers.