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The Official Post: 9 Levels of New HSK

On April 20, the new book release conference and international academic seminar of the Chinese proficiency standards for international Chinese Language Education about HSK (otherwise known as the standard) organized by the Chinese language examination international and Beijing Language and Culture University Press was successfully held in Beijing Language and Culture University.

In the second subforum, the theme of “steadily promoting the reform of Chinese Proficiency Test Based on the standard” was discussed, which aroused wide attention. The discussion in the offline forum was heated, and the online audience asked questions eagerly. “After the implementation of the standard on July 1, what will be the adjustment of HSK? What is the scope and range of adjustment?” Many foreign Chinese learners, international Chinese teachers, and HSK candidates are concerned about these changes.  We shall meticulously explore these problems that concern Chinese learners and teachers globally.

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1. What is the relationship between the standard and HSK?

Standard is an objective metric to guide all aspects of international Chinese learning. All teaching, testing, and evaluation will rely on the standard. That change is huge for Chinese learners and teachers have always relied on the examination syllabus for HSK proposition and implementation. The standard is instructive and non-compulsory, while HSK is instrumental and practical. The standard provides overall guidance for the HSK examination, which is mainly reflected in the theory and concept of the international Chinese education examination. The standard introduced three specific provisions.

The first is the learner-centered concept. The second is the highlight of the Chinese language characteristics. The provision emphasized the “four-dimensional benchmark” of Chinese syllables, characters, vocabulary, and grammar. It also consolidates the Chinese foundation in an all-round. Third, the language communication ability, topic task content, language quantitative indicators, and five basic language skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing and translation.

Through this, We will comprehensively improve the quality of international Chinese education and learners’ Chinese level. From this point of view, the HSK examination will be following the theory and ideas of the standard. Consequently, institutions for Chinese learning will make some adjustments, such as increasing the examination of syllables, Chinese characters, and grammar. They may also have to strengthen the examination writing level. These are the direction of HSK adjustment.

2. What’s the overall change of HSK?

We are very concerned about whether the vocabulary in the standard is within the scope of HSK. After all, the HSK has been the tested metric of Chinese learning. However, in the standard syllables, Chinese characters, vocabulary, and grammar syllabus will significantly change. That is because these aspects are the development goals of foreign Chinese learners in the above four dimensions. The scope of the HSK examination needs to refer to the specific situation of Chinese education in various countries. The existing hsk1-6 level examination basically meets the needs of foreign Chinese learners in the primary and intermediate level tests.

However, for foreign Chinese learners who come to China for master’s and doctoral studies, there is a lack of evaluation tools. Therefore, HSK will first increase hsk7-9 according to the standard and on the basis of maintaining the stability of the existing six levels. The current hsk1-6 will not be adjusted in the near future.

3. When is hsk7-9? How to test?

Many examinees will see the formal implementation of the standard on July 1, 2021, thinking that this is the time for HSK to adjust. However, it needs a process to develop hsk7-9 scientifically according to the standard. At present, learners will take a test in December 2021 and officially launch the test in March 2022. Hsk7-9 will adopt the form of “one paper, three levels”, that is, one paper, and the level is determined according to the score.

4. How to change the existing HSK level 1-6 examination?

Hsk1-6, which is being implemented at present, will not be adjusted in the near future. The test effectiveness, test content, reference vocabulary, and test form will remain unchanged. The results of hsk1-6 candidates are still valid, and the validity of certificates obtained remains unchanged. The textbooks and courses compiled and developed according to hsk1-6 are still applicable.

In the next 3-5 years, Institution will gradually adjust hsk1-6 according to the standard and actual situation of Chinese learners in various countries. In general, it will continue to adhere to the concept of the “learner-centered” approach.  Adherence to the standard will consist of combining step-by-step examination and teaching. Appropriate adjustments will be implemented to follow the scope specified in the standard.

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