English ex­am­i­na­tions to be uni­fied na­tion­wide

Cur­ricu­lum to be based on stan­dard cri­te­ria that tie to global prac­tices

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHAO XINYING zhaoxiny­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion is draft­ing a na­tional English pro­fi­ciency test­ing and rating sys­tem, an ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cial said at a sym­po­sium in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, over the week­end, ac­cord­ing to a lo­cal news re­port.

Lin Huiqing, vice-min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion, was quoted by Qian­jiang Evening News on Sun­day as say­ing at the 2nd In­ter­na­tional Sym­po­sium on Lan­guage As­sess­ment and Eval­u­a­tion that the draft of the rating sys­tem has been com­pleted and will be of­fi­cially re­leased next year, and a de­tailed plan about the na­tional tests will be car­ried out step by step be­fore 2020.

In guide­lines re­leased in Septem­ber 2014, the gov­ern­ment an­nounced that a bet­ter as­sess­ment sys­tem on for­eign lan­guages would be es­tab­lished. A se­ries of re­forms in English tests after that, in­clud­ing re­form of the na­tional col­lege en­trance exam, rep­re­sented steps in that di­rec­tion.

Liu Jianda, vice-pres­i­dent of Guang­dong Univer­sity of For­eign Stud­ies, said a uni­fied eval­u­a­tion sys­tem with con­sis­tent stan­dards is needed in China to reg­u­late cur­rent wide-rang­ing English teach­ing and test­ing ap­proaches.

He said China now has 300 mil­lion English learners, and many dif­fer­ent English tests.

“But the syl­labus is not con­sis­tent, and there’s no na­tional stan­dard to ap­praise the learners’ per­for­mance against uni­form bench­marks,” he said.

To solve the prob­lem, the new sys­tem will con­nect with ma­ture English teach­ing and eval­u­a­tion sys­tems around the world, Liu said.

The sys­tem en­vi­sions as­sess­ment of English pro­fi­ciency from a low to high level, with nine grades. Each grade has its own re­quire­ments for lan­guage skills, in­clud­ing lis­ten­ing, speak­ing, read­ing, writ­ing and trans­lat­ing.

He Lianzhen, di­rec­tor of Zhe­jiang Univer­sity’s School of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, said with the new sys­tem, peo­ple will be able to take tests under con­sis­tent and uni­fied stan­dards to meet their var­i­ous needs, whether it’s aca­demic per­for­mance at school, en­ter­ing higher ed­u­ca­tion or search­ing for jobs.

“The sys­tem will also make it eas­ier for teach­ers, em­ploy­ers and even the learners them­selves to judge their English lev­els,” He said.

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