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

Preface and Acknowledgements


In 2003, a German classmate and I listened to some HSK mock tests in my dorm at Peking University. Unfortunately, we did not comprehend the essential parts of the dialog we listened to, and not surprisingly, we could not answer the related items. Suddenly, my Mongolian roommate entered the room, and he burst out laughing when he listened to the tape. Obviously, we had missed something funny. My roommate explained what made him laugh:

A woman asks a guy if he also attended the concert last night. In fact, the guy was there as well and liked it very much. This irritates the woman because she thinks the concert was horrible, especially the last artist. It turns out that the singer is the wife of the guy. The woman embarrassedly says that the artist sang quite terrifically (“with a voice like a bird”), and the problem was only that she had just picked such an awful song, whereupon the man comments, “So, you didn’t like the song? I have spent half a year composing it.”1 (cf. Essentials of HSK Listening, 2003 (2nd ed.), p. 53)

Afterwards, we listened to the tape again and understood at least the major parts. My classmate considered the whole dialog “typical HSK crap” and said that the test would be completely useless2, whereas I thought the dialog was not absolutely untypical for a daily life situation in China. But why could we not grasp the main content? I...

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.