HKDSE examinations face technical setbacks, manual checks to be reintroduced tomorrow

Prof Wei Xiang-dong

12th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) Recently, students participating in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) have been affected due to significant technical failures in the i-Invigilation (HKDSE) mobile app, which is used for monitoring exams.

The glitches began manifesting during the Chinese language examinations on 11th April, leading to a partial system shutdown which prevented some invigilators from logging in.

Despite an updated version being released before the English language examinations today, the issues persisted, necessitating a return to manual attendance marking across several examination venues.

Professor Wei Xiang-dong, Secretary General of the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA), addressed the media at 7pm today to discuss the disruptions. He explained that the problems emerged despite successful trials and operations last year using the Public Examination Support System 2 (PESS2), which includes both the ‘Check-in Smart (HKDSE)’ and i-Invigilation applications.

“The system was functioning smoothly until during the Chinese examination, when the high data usage caused significant slowdowns and even system jams,” said Professor Wei. Although over 80% of students were able to check in using the app, the slowdown forced a switch to manual checking to ensure the exam proceeded as scheduled without affecting any candidates.

The developers have been instructed to identify and resolve the underlying issues. However, improvements seen today were still not up to the expected standards, leading to a decision to suspend the use of i-Invigilation from tomorrow. The ‘Check-in Smart (HKDSE)’ application will continue to be used, but invigilators will revert to manually verifying student identities and entering data.