As more and more children and families are seeking into learning Mandarin and getting to good proficiency levels, we are being asked by parents on “what are good proficiency tests for children”? Currently there are 3 types of tests for children in Asia and around the worldL KPCC, GAPSK and the YCT tests. We will dive into details and explain the differences.
The KPCC Children’s Putonghua Proficiency Test is the first certification standard for children’s mandarin language proficiency in Hong Kong. It is aimed at kindergarten and primary students ranging from K1 to P3. The test assesses areas of listening, speaking and reading, but also covers areas of conversing and reciting. A key feature of this test is that it is conducted in conversational form, relying less heavily on text-based material. It pays careful attention to natural articulation and fluent expression, targeting development in speech and recital performance.
Levels: For the exam, they have the primary level, intermediate level, advanced and upper advanced level. A score of 50-64 points is considered a pass. A score of 65-79 points is considered excellent. A score of 80 points or above is considered distinction. For a more detailed breakdown of what is assessed at each level, head to this link.
For the KPCC Children’s Mandarin Poetry and Prose Recitation Evaluation, there is the elementary, intermediate, advanced and upper advanced level. In the elementary level, students recite 15 words or more. In the intermediate level, students recite 20 words or more. In the advanced level, students recite 28 words or more, and in the upper advanced level, they recite 40 words or more. For more details on the materials used for the evaluation, head to this link.
The YCT stands for the Youth Chinese Test, an international grading system for the Chinese language directed at examining non-native elementary, middle and high school students’ Chinese language abilities. Although it is widely used as a standardised test, you will be surprised to learn that the YCT was actually not established too long ago. It was introduced in 2004 by the Office of Chinese Language Council International (otherwise known as Hanban) to promote Chinese language education for foreign children and teenagers.
The YCT includes speaking and writing tests. The speaking part includes the YCT Primacy Level and the YCT Intermediate Level. The writing part includes four levels, the YCT Level I, YCT Level II, YCT Level III and YCT level IV. The YCT exam can be taken by those under the age of 15. You can visit the official Hanban website here to register for the exam. Results are usually released within three weeks of taking the test.
Image taken from the GAPSK website.
YCT Level 1 covers common phrases and sentences in Chinese. The exam is 30 minutes and uses 80 words. Level 2 covers phrases and sentences that enable basic communication, with an exam time of 45 minutes and 150 words. Level 3 covers day-to-day topics and words used in conversation, with an exam time of 55 minutes and 300 words. Finally, Level 4 covers Chinese for daily, academic and working usage, so that these students may converse with ease when in China. The exam time is 80 minutes and uses 600 words.
For more details on the levels, you can head to the website here.
The GAPSK Putonghua proficiency test is a standardised test developed by the Institute of Language Education in Peking University. It was designed to examine the Mandarin proficiency of kindergarten, primary and secondary students in Hong Kong. As such, the exam follows the current Mandarin curriculum used in the Hong Kong Special Administrative region, and examines listening, speaking, reading and writing. These same aspects are measured in the Hong Kong Examination Board’s ‘Putonghua Progiciency Test’ and the Education and Manpower Bureau’s ‘Putonghua Examination for Secondary Schools’.
The Kindergarten exam is split into three different levels: elementary, intermediate and advanced. Students must reach 60 points or above in their elementary or intermediate exam to take the Advanced level. Exams are conducted one to one (examiner to candidate) in a question and answer style.
For more details and registration of the test, head to their website here.