AP Chinese Language & Culture Exam The goal of the AP Chinese Language and Culture course is language proficiency. Language proficiency means that the student can perform in Chinese to accomplish tasks, and interpret and exchange information. Language proficiency is a broad skill. It is not limited to memorizing a word list, filling in a worksheet and using structures in a textbook. Language proficiency, from the AP perspective, includes the ability to interpret difficult authentic materials (meant for native speakers), and communicate in a culturally appropriate manner. AP students should acquire linguistic and cultural knowledge, as well as strategies that help them understand context, infer meaning and make correct choices in communication. AP students should utilize analytical skills, in addition to other skills, to function in Chinese. Another goal of AP is to expose students to the challenge of rigorous course work, similar to, or even exceeding college level work. AP students should learn how to learn, and develop habits of mind that prepare them to tackle and master difficult material. Ideally, AP can influence how other levels of Chinese are taught—a trickle down and maybe a trickle up—which will result in higher proficiency and higher interest in language learning. AP is about developing a courageous attitude to acquire competence through effort. AP is about learning how to learn. It's all about "gong fu."-Diane Mammone
Exam Content The AP Chinese Language and Culture Exam is approximately three hours in length. It assesses interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational communication skills in Mandarin Chinese, along with knowledge of Chinese culture. The exam is computer-based. Each student works at an individual computer, which processes everything read, heard, written, or spoken by the student. That is, the student reads on the screen, listens through headphones, types using the keyboard, and speaks into a microphone. There is no paper component; although the student may use paper to take notes during the exam, the proctor will collect the notes at the end of the exam, and they will not be graded.
Students have some choices for reading and writing in Chinese. The display and input options selected by the student have no effect on the student's grade. All Chinese text displayed on the screen is available to students in either traditional characters or simplified characters. Students can toggle between the two versions if necessary. Students have two options for typing Chinese text. The available input methods are the Microsoft Pinyin IME (MSPY), which is based on Hanyu Pinyin, and the Microsoft New Phonetic IME, which is based on Zhuyin Fuhao (Bopomofo).
There are two sections in the exam: Section I consists of multiple-choice questions that assess communication skills in the interpersonal and interpretive modes. Part A assesses interpersonal communication skills in the listening modality by requiring the student to identify the appropriate continuation of a conversation. It also assesses interpretive communication skills by requiring the student to answer questions about different types of listening stimuli. Part B assesses interpretive communication skills by requiring the student to answer questions about different types of reading texts. Section II, the free-response section, assesses communication skills in the interpersonal and presentational modes by requiring the student to produce written and spoken responses. Part A assesses writing in the presentational mode by requiring the student to narrate a story suggested by a series of pictures. It also assesses writing in the interpersonal mode by requiring the student to read and answer an e-mail message. Part B assesses speaking in the interpersonal mode by requiring the student to respond to a series of thematically linked questions as part of a simulated conversation. It also assesses speaking in the presentational mode by requiring the student to make a presentation on a given aspect of Chinese culture.
Each part of the exam contributes a specific portion of the final AP grade. Grouped by communicative mode, the various parts contribute as follows: Interpretive -- 40 percent, Interpersonal -- 30 percent, and Presentational -- 30 percent. Grouped by language modality, the various parts contribute as follows: Listening -- 25 percent, Reading -- 25 percent, Writing -- 25 percent, and Speaking -- 25 percent.
Youth Chinese Test (YCT) I. Test Principles The new YCT aims to improve Chinese language learners’ self-confidence and follows the principle of “test-teaching correlation”. It bases the design of the test on current trends in international Chinese language training and is closely related to textbook learning procedures. The purpose of the test is to “promote training through testing” and “promote learning through testing”. II. Test Purposes The YCT is intended for students whose mother tongue is not Chinese. The results of the test can serve various purposes: 1. A method for Chinese language learners to assess and improve their proficiency in Chinese. 2. A reference for Chinese language training in schools. 3. A method for Chinese language training institutions to evaluate training results. 4. A benchmark for students who want to participate in the HSK test. III. Test Levels The new YCT is an international standardized test of Chinese language proficiency. It assesses young foreign students' abilities to use Chinese in their daily and academic lives. The new YCT consists of a writing test and a speaking test, which are independent of each other. The writing test is divided into four levels, namely, the YCT (level I), YCT (level II), YCT (level III), and YCT (level IV). The speaking test is divided into the YCT (Beginner Level) and YCT (Intermediate Level). Test takers who are able to pass the YCT (Level I) can understand and use some of the most common Chinese phrases and sentences and possess the ability to further their Chinese language studies. Test takers who are able to pass the YCT (Level II) can understand and use some simple Chinese phrases and sentences and cope with basic level communications. Test takers who are able to pass the YCT (Level III), having reached an excellent level in basic Chinese, can communicate on familiar daily topics in a simple manner. Test takers who are able to pass the YCT (Level IV) can communicate in Chinese at a basic level in their daily, academic and professional lives. When travelling in China, they can manage most forms of communication in Chinese. IV. Results Certificate Test takers will receive their test results for the new YCT issued by Hanban within three weeks after the test.
Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK) The new HSK test was launched by Hanban in an effort to better serve Chinese language learners. The test is the result of coordinated efforts by experts from different disciplines including Chinese language teaching, linguistics, psychology and educational measurement. The new exam combines the advantages of the original HSK while taking into consideration recent trends in Chinese language training by conducting surveys and making use of the latest findings in international language testing. I. Test Levels The new HSK is an international standardized exam that tests and rates Chinese language proficiency. It assesses non-native Chinese speakers’ abilities in using the Chinese language in their daily, academic and professional lives. The new HSK consists of a writing test and a speaking test, which are independent of each other. There are six levels of writing tests, namely the HSK (level I), HSK (level II), HSK (level III), HSK (level IV), HSK (level V), and HSK (level VI). There are three levels of speaking tests, namely the HSK (beginner level), HSK (intermediate level), and HSK (advanced level). During the speaking test, test takers’ speeches will be recorded. Test takers who are able to pass the HSK (Level I) can understand and use very simple Chinese phrases, meet basic needs for communication and possess the ability to further their Chinese language studies. Test takers who are able to pass the HSK (Level II) have an excellent grasp of basic Chinese and can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Test takers who are able to pass the HSK (Level III) can communicate in Chinese at a basic level in their daily, academic and professional lives. They can manage most communication in Chinese when travelling in China. Test takers who are able to pass the HSK (Level IV) can converse in Chinese on a wide range of topics and are able to communicate fluently with native Chinese speakers. Test takers who are able to pass the HSK (Level V) can read Chinese newspapers and magazines, enjoy Chinese films and plays, and give a full-length speech in Chinese. Test takers who are able to pass the HSK (Level VI) can easily comprehend written and spoken information in Chinese and can effectively express themselves in Chinese, both orally and on paper. II. Test Principles The new HSK follows the principle of “test-teaching correlation”, bases the design of the test on the current trends in international Chinese language training, and is closely related to textbooks. The purpose of the test is to “promote training through testing” and “promote learning through testing”. The new HSK emphasizes the objectivity and accuracy of the evaluation and stresses the learners’ actual Chinese language abilities. The new HSK sets clear test objectives to allow the test takers to be able to improve their Chinese language abilities in a systematic and efficient way. III. Testing Purposes The new HSK retains the former HSK’s orientation as a general (or universal) Chinese language abilities test for adult learners. The results of the test can serve several purposes: 1. A reference for an educational institution’s decision-making concerning recruiting students, assigning students to different classes, allowing students to skip certain courses and giving students academic credits. 2. A reference for employers’ decision-making concerning the recruitment, training and promotion of test takers. 3. A method for Chinese language learners to assess and improve their proficiency in Chinese. 4. A method for Chinese language training institutions to evaluate training results. IV. Results Certificate Test takers will receive the results for the new HSK issued by Hanban within three weeks after the test.