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Testing Task in Mandarin Chinese Program Requires Higher Truth

As for the necessary communicative skills of target examiners who learn Mandarin in China , the following two questions can be researched and analyzed as key points:

1) How is the Chinese that target examiners receive and produce? 2) What kind of specific Chinese skills do they need?

Through the research and analysis of these two questions in Mandarin Chinese program, the situation of specific Chinese that target examiners who learn Mandarin in China receive and produce and the necessary skills that they are receiving and producing can be learned. The purpose of researching and analyzing the situation of specific Chinese that target examiners receive and produce is to learn the features of specific Chinese that they receive and produce in vocabulary, grammar and writing type in order to pick proper language materials or requirements to produce right language patterns when you are designing communicative assignment projects, setting testing questions and formulating papers. The purpose of researching and analyzing the necessary skills that target examiners are receiving and producing is to confirm what kind of skill level does specific Chinese testing aim to test: to comprehensively test skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing and translating or to test only one or more skills of them.

About the classification and discrimination of target examiners’ specific Chinese level, the following two questions in Mandarin Chinese program can be researched and analyzed as key points:1) how is the discrimination of specific Chinese level of target examiners? 2) how is the amount and span of classified Chinese proficiency level?

According to these researching and analyzing results of these two questions, the design of tests can face examiners in different levels to extract and arrange the differential communicative assignment project; design relevant testing questions and papers; set grade system of the differential situation of specific Chinese level that suits for target examiners so that the testing result can reflect the level differences of examiners’ specific Chinese level and the testing can meet the user’s requirement of selecting suitable staffs and making proper decisions based on the information from Mandarin Chinese program.

In order to make the score of specific Chinese testing report in Mandarin Chinese program reflect examiners’ real level of using Chinese in certain fields more exactly, the contents and patterns of specific Chinese testing must be confirmed on the basis of needs analysis. Therefore, before the research of specific Chinese testing, a detailed and clear plan of needs analysis must be made and describe the situation of using specific Chinese by target examiners’ so that you can confirm the specific Chinese testing wants to test the target examiners who learn Mandarin in China that what kind of language skills the examiners have and how to test. Only by this, you can guarantee the representativeness of extracting or designing communicative assignment project and the high construct validity and content validity of specific Chinese testing.

Testing task requires higher truth
To decide whether a language testing can test the examiners’ communicative language skill in Mandarin Chinese program, an important reference is to see the truth of this testing. (Bachman & Palmer, 1999:23-29) As the broad application of task language teaching method, language testing based on true communicative task is paid more and more attention. (Brown et al., 2002; Liu Zhuang, 2008)

As for large-scaled ordinary Chinese testing, it is difficult to completely realize the ideal based on communicative task in Mandarin Chinese program. HSK improvement project team of Beijing Language and Culture University think that task language testing “has great limitation in practicing and is not suitable for large-scaled standard examination.” The main reason for this is that the ordinary Chinese testing based on communicative task need to extract from complicated and wild ordinary Chinese communicative tasks. It is difficult to guarantee the limited task project extracted for once can represent the endless true communicative task project. Thus, most large-scaled ordinary language tests can’t be based on true communicative tasks completely.

But specific Chinese testing is facing to certain fields and in these fields, people who use specific Chinese and the specific Chinese they use have high homogeny and the communicative task projects that they need to use specific Chinese to complete are relevantly limited when compared with the using situation of ordinary Chinese. Therefore, the realizing of specific Chinese testing the idea based on true communicative task has high operability.

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