Show Less
Restricted access

Language Proficiency Testing for Chinese as a Foreign Language

An Argument-Based Approach for Validating the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK)


Florian Meyer

How did the (old) Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) assess the Chinese proficiency of non-native speakers of Chinese? What inferences can be derived from HSK test taker scores, especially from Western test takers? How difficult is it to learn Chinese according to the HSK? Thirty years of research have been synthesized into an argument-based approach for validating the most widespread test for Chinese as a foreign language. In addition, the author has analyzed the scores of a sample of over 250 German test takers in order to investigate how many hours German natives needed on average to study for reaching a specific HSK level. This work also extensively discusses validation theory for psychological testing, and it demonstrates how to put an argument-based approach to validation into practice.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

3 Test theory for language testing


When using a test we already apply science because when we measure we are modeling the world, and we make, explicitly or implicitly, theoretical assumptions about what we assess and how we assess. This is why validation––the justification that a measurement is valid––is “scientific inquiry” (Messick, 1989b, p. 14). But according to which criteria can we say that our assessment matches our purpose? How do we know that what we have measured is indeed the construct we intend to measure? To answer these questions, one needs to look closer at measurement theory and to state hypotheses about the measurement (section 3.1). In a second step, the relevant criteria for language tests will be laid out in theory and made explicit with examples from CFL proficiency testing (section 3.2). Then, the notion of the central quality criterion, validity, will be explained in detail (section 3.3) because this concept builds the foundation for the validation approach used in this dissertation, an argument-based validation approach (section 3.4). These questions will guide this chapter:

- What models of measurement theory exist in language testing and how are they applied in CFL proficiency testing and the HSK?

- What are the crucial test qualities in language testing and what role do the play for the HSK?

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.