Youth Chinese Test (YCT)
The new YCT test was launched by Hanban in an effort to encourage foreign young students to learn Chinese and improve their Chinese language proficiency. As part of this effort, since 2004 Hanban has organized experts from different disciplines such as Chinese language teaching, linguistics, psychology and educational measurement to work on the program, conducting surveys in order to understand the latest trends in overseas Chinese language teaching and learning.
I. Test Structure
The new YCT is an international standardized test of Chinese language proficiency. It assesses young foreign students’ abilities to use Chinese in their daily and academic lives. The new YCT consists of a writing test and a speaking test, which are independent of each other. The writing test is divided into four levels, namely, the YCT (level I), YCT (level II), YCT (level III), and YCT (level IV). The speaking test is divided into the YCT (Beginner Level) and YCT (Intermediate Level).
II. Test Levels
The different levels of the new YCT are similar to some of the levels in the Chinese Language Proficiency Scales for Speakers of Other Languages (CLPS) and the Common European Framework of Reference (CEF); details are as follows:
Test takers who are able to pass the YCT (Level I) can understand and use some of the most common Chinese phrases and sentences and possess the ability to further their Chinese language studies.
Test takers who are able to pass the YCT (Level II) can understand and use some simple Chinese phrases and sentences and cope with basic level communications.
Test takers who are able to pass the YCT (Level III), having reached an excellent level in basic Chinese, can communicate on familiar daily topics in a simple manner.
Test takers who are able to pass the YCT (Level IV) can communicate in Chinese at a basic level in their daily, academic and professional lives. When travelling in China, they can manage most forms of communication in Chinese.
III. Test Principles
The new YCT aims to improve Chinese language learners’ self-confidence and follows the principle of “test-teaching correlation”. It bases the design of the test on current trends in international Chinese language training and is closely related to textbook learning procedures. The purpose of the test is to “promote training through testing” and “promote learning through testing”.
IV. Test Purposes
The YCT is intended for students whose mother tongue is not Chinese. The results of the test can serve various purposes:
- A method for Chinese language learners to assess and improve their proficiency in Chinese.
- A reference for Chinese language training in schools.
- A method for Chinese language training institutions to evaluate training results.
- A benchmark for students who want to participate in the HSK test.