HAU Kit Tai 侯傑泰

Research Projects


  • Critical Thinking among Chinese Students: Characteristics, Assessment, and Relationship with Dispositional Factors
  • HAU Kit Tai, HO Irene T.*, HALPERN Diane*
    1 September 2004
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    Recently in Hong Kong, as well as around the world, education reforms emphasized the need to help students learn how to learn, and that critical thinking is an essential generic skill to be nurtured. At least on the surface, this movement does not seem to fit comfortably with the alleged rote-learning tradition in Chinese education. The present research attempts to examine the critical thinking of Chinese students and develop appropriate assessment tools for use in the local context. Four phases of work will be carried out in collaboration with the Curriculum Development Institute under the Education and Manpower Bureau. In Phases 1 and 2, a recent critical thinking assessment instrument, developed by Professor Diane Halpern (President-elect, American Psychological Association, 2003), is translated and administered. Its psychometric properties and suitability for local use will be extensively studied. In Phase 3, the characteristics of critical thinking among Chinese students are examined, including (i) the internal factorial structure, (ii) the relationship with demographic and other background variables (verbal ability, numeric ability, academic achievement), and (iii) the relationship with dispositional factors (need for cognition, conscientiousness, thinking disposition). In Phase 4, a new assessment tool, suitable for high school students, is constructed. Culture-specific characteristics will be examined both qualitatively and statistically (e.g., differential item function). This research provides the necessary foundation for the large scale launching of critical thinking skills training and assessment for high school and tertiary students in Hong Kong. (CU04118)


  • Critical Thinking Package for Senior Secondary School Students in Hong Kong
  • HAU Kit Tai, HO Irene T.*, HALPERN Diane*
    1 October 2006
    Education and Manpower Bureau, HKSAR Government

    In curriculum reform endeavors around the world aimed at preparing students for the knowledge age, educators emphasize the need to help students think critically and learn how to learn rather than impossibly feeding them with long lists of skills and knowledge. The ability to think critically and other generic skills have been accorded high priorities for school and university education. In the present research, a training package on critical thinking will be developed for high school students. We will concentrate on a few domains/topics of critical thinking by adapting courseware original developed by Diane Halpern. The courseware will be tested with students and ready for adoption by teachers who are trained in using the package. (ED06830)


  • Critical Thinking Skills Instruction in Hong Kong Secondary Schools: A Pilot Study
  • HAU Kit Tai, HO Irene T.*
    1 November 2005
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    In the new Hong Kong senior secondary school curriculum to be launched in 2009, the teaching of critical thinking will be an essential feature of the subject .Liberal Studies., which is compulsory for all students. It has been proposed that the issue-enquiry approach should be adopted for this purpose, with the belief that students learn best through ample practices utilizing various thinking tasks. However, there are researchers who propose that critical thinking is most effectively fostered through direct instruction of relevant generic skills and subsequent transfer of such skills to different domains of academic studies or everyday problems. The present proposal, as a pilot study of a much larger RGC research, is a preliminary qualitative investigation examining the benefits of a combined skills instruction and issue-enquiry approach to critical thinking education for school students as compared to a sole emphasis on the issue-enquiry approach. We will examine and compare different approaches to critical thinking education for senior secondary school students. In particular, we investigate whether there will be additional benefits for students with direct instruction of critical thinking skills, based on the assumption that (i) identifiable and definable skills exist, and (ii) if these skills are recognized and applied, the students will be more effective thinkers (Halpern, 2003). The results will have significant theoretical and practical implications for critical thinking education, at the same time promoting evidence-based practices in Hong Kong. (ED05794)


  • Motivation of Chinese Students in Hong Kong: Do They Have Too Much or Too Little Confidence?
  • HAU Kit Tai, YU Yanhong*
    1 January 2008
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    Different hypotheses, including the mobility theory and Confucianism have been put forward to explain Asian's superior examination performance. As self-concept, self-esteem and confidence is largely based on academic achievement, it is expected that Chinese students should have high self-concept or confidence. Various studies (e.g., Leung, 2002) actually found the contrary, suggesting Chinese students did not evaluate themselves as positively as their western counterparts who had similar academic performance. Due to the differences in the scaling, instruments and other methodological issues, these findings did not provide a clear picture whether Chinese students have too much or too little confidence. Using a special research design in which students are comparing themselves with peers in their own class and with each class as the unit of analyses, the present study will examine whether Chinese students are over- or under-confident in judging their various domains of achievement.

    Specifically, the present study attempts to address and provides answers to:
    • Do Chinese students have too much or too little confidence in their academic performance?
    • Does this kind of too much or too little confidence generalize across different domains (such as physical self-concept, relations with peers, etc.)?
    • Does this over- or under-confidence relate to their collectivistic orientation? (ED07731)


  • Provision Services for Conducting the “Study on the Curriculum Reform 2008”
  • FOK Ping Kwan, LO Nai Kwai Leslie (Educational Administration & Policy), WONG Hin Wah (Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research), CHAN To, CHU Ka Wing, HA Sau Ching Amy (Sports Science & Physical Education), HAU Kit Tai (Educational Psychology), LAU Kit Ling, Edith Lai, LEUNG Yat Ming (Ctr for University & School Partnership), NG Pun Hon, TANG Kwok Chun*, TANG Lai Yiu Eunice, WONG So Lan*, XU Huixuan (Office of University General Education)
    6 June 2008
    Education Bureau

    The study aims at exploring the views of stakeholders concerning the curriculum reform in the past few years, with three specific objectives (Education Bureau, 2008, pp.1-2):

    1. In the report entitled Learning to Learn: The Way Forward in Curriculum Development, 2001, the Curriculum order to inform the way forward for curriculum reform for 2012 and beyond. As the baseline snapshot at the beginning of the medium-term phase of the reform, the information collected would provide the basis for tracking the development of the curriculum reform in basic education (Primary 1- Secondary 3) and the impact on students in medium-term phase;

    2. In the 2005 report entitled The New Academic Structure for Senior Secondary Education and Higher Education: Action Plan for Investing in the Future of Hong Kong, the blueprint for a new academic structure which comprises a 3-year school curriculum at senior secondary level and a 4-year undergraduate programme at university, and the road map for introducing the new academic structure were laid out. The Study is to solicit views from secondary school heads/deputy heads, middle managers and teachers on curriculum planning and preparation as they migrate towards the New Senior Secondary (NSS) curriculum, as well as to collect baseline data from students for evaluating the impact of the NSS. The information collected would also help the Bureau to identify and address critical issues and concerns as we approach the launch of the NSS curriculum in 2009; and

    3. The information collected from students will form baseline data for evaluation of the impact of the medium-term curriculum reform in basic education and the NSS curriculum on students. (ED07400)


  • Standard-setting Study on Percentage of Students Reaching the Minimum English Competence to Learn Through the English Medium of Instruction
  • HAU Kit Tai, CHANG Lei WEN Zhonglin (Dept of Psychology)
    16 February 2004
    Education & Manpower Bureau, HKSAR Government

    There are different methods to determine the percentage of students who are suitable for EMI instruction. The present research uses a standard setting approach to find the minimum standard and hence the percentage of S1 students in Hong Kong who can learn:

    (1) in English in most subjects (Math, Science, Geography, History, EPA), similar to those in the current EMI schools;

    (2) in English in Mathematics and Science;

    (3) in English in Social and Cultural subjects (e.g. Geography, History, EPA);

    Specifically, in several rounds of in-depth discussion using the Angoff’s method, parents and experienced teachers are asked to judge the minimum English competence required for S1 students in each of the above modes of instruction.

    In a subsidiary Contrast-Group standard setting study, teachers are asked to identify among their S1 students those who have the language competence at a level marginally above and below that required to learn in English for most subjects [mode (1) above]. Through the examination of these students’ performance in the HKAT, we are able to estimate the percentage of Hong Kong students who meet the minimum language standard to study in EMI schools. This serves to provide convergent information for the results from the earlier study using the Angoff’s approach. (ED03407)


  • Study on Good Practices in Primary and Secondary Schools to Support Non-Chinese Speaking (NCS) Students
  • HAU Kit Tai, HUI Heung Hung#
    15 December 2007
    Education Bureau

    The proposed research involves a multi-phase process to identify the good practices of enhancing non-Chinese speaking students’ (NCSs) learning in the primary and secondary schools of Hong Kong. In Phase One, a maximum of 20 schools (primary, secondary) selected by the research team or nominated by EDB will be invited to participate. Past academic performances (examination performance) on major subjects of study, over a number of years (e.g., from P.1 to P.6, from S.1 to S.5), of the NCS students and their Chinese-speaking counterparts (other students at the same educational level in the same school) will be gathered. The schools which are shown to add the most positive value to the NCS students’ education (i.e., those schools with NCS students making the greatest incremental progress in examination performance across years) will be identified. School personnel (principals, guidance officer, etc.) in-charge of additional service for NCS students will also be briefly interviewed.

    In Phase Two, the value-added results from the examination of students’ examination performance and the information gathered from the interview will be used to narrow down our target list to 10 to 15 schools. Further information will be gathered from these schools with more in-depth interviews with related school personnel (such as subject teachers, guidance officers).

    In Phase Three, with further information provided from phase Two, the school list will be further narrowed down to 6 to 10 schools. For each of these schools (6 to 10 in number) identified in Phase Two, in-depth interviews with principals, teachers, students, school social workers, parents and other stake holders will be conducted to identify specific good practices in place and the factors contributing to their successful delivery. In addition to self-report data provided via interviews, classroom teaching and after-class activities will also be observed to gather more objective information on the content and delivery of good practices that enhance NCS students’ learning in schools. (ED07680)


  • Teaching Critical Thinking in Hong Kong Secondary Schools: Skills Instruction, Independent Enquiry, and Transfer across Domains
  • HAU Kit Tai, HO Tak Fong Irene*, HALPERN Diane*
    1 January 2007
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    Instruction designed to enhance critical thinking has been emphasized in educational reforms around the world. In the new Hong Kong senior secondary school curriculum to be launched in 2009, the teaching of critical thinking will be an essential feature of the subject Liberal Studies, which will be compulsory for all students. It has been proposed that the Independent Enquiry Study method should be adopted for teaching this subject, with the belief that students develop thinking skills through ample practices with thinking tasks. However, there are researchers who propose that critical thinking is most effectively fostered by direct instruction of relevant generic skills and subsequent transfer of such skills to different domains of academic study or everyday problems. The present study examines the relative effects of the skills instruction and independent enquiry approaches to critical thinking education for school students. The effects of these two approaches on transfer of learning and performance in different thinking tasks will also be explored. The results will have significant theoretical and practical implications for critical thinking education in Hong Kong, and will at the same time be promoting evidence-based educational practices. An additional outcome of the project will be the development of useful instructional materials for critical thinking education in local secondary schools. (CU06714)


  • Teaching Critical Thinking: Professional Development Courses for Secondary School Teachers
  • HAU Kit Tai, HO Irene*
    1 January 2008
    Education Bureau

    A critical thinking teaching package based on Professor Diane Halpern's theoretical model has been prepared. The present proposal aims at training teachers through lectures and practicum to effectively use the package in the Hong Kong secondary school context. The project also aims to polish and revise the training package after the whole study/training program. (ED07880)



Research Publications


  • "Attribution of Examination Result - Chinese Primary School Students in Hong Kong". (co-authored with SALILI Farideh) Psychologia: International Journal of Psychology in the Orient vol.32 (1989), pp.163-171.



  • "Attribution of Examination Result of Hong Kong Primary School Students." CUHK Education Journal vol.16 no.2 (1988), pp.127-134.
    (CUHK Library Call No: Available Online)



  • "Causal Attributions and Achievement Goals of Hong Kong Primary School Students." Educational Research Journal vol.4 (1989), pp.69-76.
    (CUHK Library Call No: CC Periodical: LB1028 .E36 v.1-4, 1986-1989)



  • "Childhood Obesity Gender Actual-Ideal Body Image Discrepancies and Physical Self-concept in Hong Kong Children: Cultural Differences in the Value of Moderation." (co-authored with Marsh, Herbert W.; SUNG Yn Tz Rita and YU C W.) Developmental Psychology (United States of America) vol.43 no.3 (2007), pp.647-662



  • Chinese, English and Mathematics Minimum Competency Standards for Primary and Secondary School Students in Hong Kong. (co-authored with CHANG Lei) Consultancy Report to HK Education Department, 2000.



  • "Education Reforms in Taiwan and Hong Kong: Convergence and Differences in Aims and Strategies." Paper presented in Chinese American Educational Research and Development Association 2005 International Conference, 2005.



  • "Examination Result Attributions, Expectancy, and Achievement Goals of Chinese Students in Hong Kong." (co-authored with SALILI Farideh) Educational Studies (UK) vol.16 (1990), pp.17-31.
    (CUHK Library Call No: Available Online)



  • "Judicial Review of Sexual Discrimination in Hong Kong Secondary School Place Allocation: Legal, Educational and Psychometrical Debates." Hong Kong Journal of Social Sciences vol.20 (Spring 2001), pp.57-85
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL HKS Periodical H8.C5 H75; CC Periodical: H8.C5 H75; UL Periodical H8.C5 H75)



  • "Late Immersion and Language of Instruction (English vs. Chinese) in Hong Kong High Schools: Achievement Growth in Language and Nonlanguage Subjects." (co-authored with MARSH W Herbert and KONG Chit-kwong) In Perspectives on Language Literacy: Beyond the here and Now, ed. by S. W. Beck & L. N. Olah. pp.247-287. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard Educational Review, 2001.
    (CUHK Library Call No: CC LC149 .P45 2001)



  • "Moral Development of Chinese Students in Hong Kong". (co-authored with LEW JF William.) International Journal of Psychology vol.24 (1989), pp.561-569.
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL HK Periodical: BF1 .A158 v.24, 1989; Also Available Online)



  • "Multilevel Causal Ordering of Academic Self-concept and Achievement: Influence of Language of Instruction (English vs. Chinese) for Hong Kong Students." (co-authored with MARSH W Herbert and KONG Chit-kwong) American Educational Research Journal vol.39 no.3 (2002), pp.727-763.
    (CUHK Library Call No: CC L11.A66; Also Available Online)



  • "Physical Self-concept, Actual-ideal Body Image Discrepancies and Obesity in Hong Kong School Children: Cultural Differences in the Value of Moderation." (co-authored with MARSH W H; SUNG Yn Tz Rita and YU C. W.) Paper presented in the Australian Association for Research in Education Conference, Sydney, Australia, 27 Nov 2005



  • "Self-concept and Academic Motivation of Chinese students in Hong Kong." (co-authored with MARSH W H; HO T I and SEATON M.) Paper presented in the Australian Association for Research in Education Conference, Sydney, Australia, 27 Nov 2005



  • "Setting Minimum Competency Putonghua Standard for Hong Kong Putonghua Speakers". (co-authored with CHANG Lei; YANG Zhiming; HO Wai Kit; LAM K. P. and WANG Y. G.) Educational Research Journal vol.15 (2000), pp.301-316.
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL HKS Periodical: LB1028 .E36 v.15-16; CC Periodical: LB1028 .E36 v.15-16)



  • "Setting Minimum Language Competence Standard in Hong Kong Primary and Secondary Schools." (co-authored with Poon Chung-Shing and Wen Jian-Bing) Paper presented in the 27th International Congress of Psychology, Stockholm, Sweden, July 2000



  • "Structure and Semantic Differential Placement of Specific Causes: Academic Causal Attributions by Chinese Students in Hong Kong." (co-authored with SALILI Farideh) International Journal of Psychology (The Netherlands) vol.26 no.2 (1991), pp.175-193.
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL HK Periodical: BF1 .A158 v.26, no.1-3, 1991; Also Available Online)



  • "Suicide in Hong Kong 1971-1990: Age Trend, Sex Ratio, and Method of Suicide." Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology (Germany) vol.28 (1993), pp.23-27.
    (CUHK Library Call No: MD Periodical W1 .S56; Also Available Online)



  • "Suicide in Hong Kong: 1971-1987." The Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong Annual Report 1988, pp.26-32.
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL HV6548.H6 S36)



  • "Suicides in Hong Kong in the 1970's and 1980's." In Samaritan 30th Anniversary Publication. Hong Kong, China: Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong, 1991.
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL Oversize HV6548.H6 H67 1991; UL HK Studies HV6548.H6 H67 1991)



  • "The Concept of Intelligence of Hong Kong Primary School Students." (co-authored with馮家正、鄧薇先 及張志鴻) Educational Research Journal (Hong Kong) vol.5 (1990), pp.113-117
    (CUHK Library Call No: CC Periodical: LB1028 .E36)



  • 《 「批判性思考能力的學與教」 教材套 (高中) 》 與顧伊麗、何德芳聯合製作; [顧問及原作者:Diane F. Halpern] ,香港:教育局課程發展處個人、社會及人文教育組, 2009
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL Gov Document: BF441 .P515 2009; CC Gov Document: BF441 .P515 2009)



  • 《 「批判性思考能力的學與教」 教材套 (高中) 》[電子資源] 與顧伊麗、何德芳聯合製作; [顧問及原作者:Diane F. Halpern] ,香港:教育局課程發展處個人、社會及人文教育組, 2009
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL Gov Document: BF441 .P515 2009b; UC CDROM: BF441 .P515 2009b)



  • 《靑少年自殺:特徵、防止及危機處理》,香港:中華書局(香港)有限公司,1993
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL HV6546.H63 1993; UL HK Studies HV6546.H63 1993; CC HV6546.H63 1993; UC General Education HV6546.H63 1993)



  • 《香港人的性格發展 : 個案選集》與呂俊甫、潘詠棠及李潔貞合編,香港:廣角鏡出版社:發行華風書局, 1989
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL BF723.P4 H72; UL HK Studies BF723.P4 H72; CC Reserve BF723.P4 H72)



  • 〈香港人普通話水平合格標準的釐定〉與張雷、楊志明、何偉傑、林建平、王渝光合著,見《教育研究學報》vol.15 no.2 (2000) ,頁301-316
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL HKS Periodical: LB1028 .E36 v.15-16; CC Periodical: LB1028 .E36 v.15-16)



  • 〈香港與台灣的教育改革:目標及策略的異同〉,見《文教新潮》[New Waves - Educational Research and Development] 第10卷,第3期 (2005) ,頁16-20


  • 《專題研究手冊 初級版》,香港:朗文香港教育,2004
    (CUHK Library Call No: CC LB1047.3 .H683 2004; CC Primary Textbook LB1530 .L362 2004)



  • 《專題研究手冊 進階版》,香港:朗文香港教育,2004
    (CUHK Library Call No: CC LB1047.3 .H684 2004; CC Secondary Textbook H85 .L34 2004)



  • 《對〈敎統會第七號報告書〉的回應》與林智中、陳玉楷合著,香港:香港中文大學香港敎育硏究所,1997
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL HK Studies: LA1134.H6 H68 1997; CC: LA1134.H6 H68 1997)



  • 《避免由火坑掉進深淵 : 對升中能力測驗的一些建議》,香港:香港中文大學香港敎育硏究所,1997
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL HK Studies: LB3059.H6 H68 1997; CC: LB3059.H6 H68 1997; CC Reserve LB3059.H6 H68 1997)


* Name of external researcher
# Name of staff who has left the University