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roddy

HSK: The renegade exam?

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roddy

Have a read of the quote below. It looks like the 汉办, which is officially in charge of promoting Chinese language education, is a little annoyed at the HSK people - they're basically denying that the revamped HSK, the C-test and the 入门 HSK are legit, as they haven't approved them.

However, the 'standard' HSK exams are still listed on the 汉办 site, here.

This is all a bit odd. I've never been sure what the relationship between the HSK and 汉办 is, and it now seems that they might be a bit confused themselves. 汉办 are making a bit of a show at this, with a flashy bouncy box on both English and Chinese homepages. The HSK people don't seem to be saying anything, but maybe they just can't figure out how to update their website (they also seem to have messed up and made it impossible to check details on test centers as well, bless their little cotton socks.)

What this actually means is anyone's guess. It might just be that the HSK people need to take the Hanban folk out for a nice dinner or two and get the new exams approved, or it could be that Hanban want a more direct role in running the HSK - they appear to be doing the Business Chinese Test without any HSK involvement, and also the Young Learner's Test. They're also running this survey to "investigate the market conditions of and demands for Chinese tests, and design a new Chinese language test". I wouldn't be surprised if this means the HSK disappears at some point to be replaced with a new Hanban designed test.

edit: Oh yes, the quote . . . .

根据国家规定,国家汉办统筹管理对外汉语考试的研制、开发和推广工作。当前社会上出现的“改进版汉语水平考试”、“入门级汉语水平考试”、“实用汉语水平考试(C-TEST)”均未经国家汉办批准,也不是国家汉办所组织进行的。

特此公告。

and their own English version:

According to national regulations, the Office of Chinese Language Council International ( Hanban) is in charge of the research, development and proliferation of the Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK). The tests known as upgrade version of HSK, HSK(Basic), and Practical HSK(C-TEST)that have recently appeared are not approved nor organized by Hanban.

(Special Notification)

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gato

HSK appears to be a BLCU product. Maybe someone needs to treat someone to some 茅台.

http://www.hsk.org.cn/english/Center_intro.aspx

Since its inception till now, HSK has grown for more than two decades, during which HSK was always nurtured and cared about by leaders of the Ministry of Education, the National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language and Beijing Language and Culture University. Accompanying these 20 years of study, exploration and innovation, the HSK Center of BLCU, like a baby growing into a strong adult, also evolves and becomes the only professional institution dedicated to R&D and implementation of HSK in China.

  The HSK Center of BLCU was established in 1989 and it is more than a developer, designer and implementer of HSK, but an institution that combines “industry, academics and research”. “Industry” denotes HSK design and test implementation, which is the central task of the Center.

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yonglin

Good for me they didn't give the revamped HSK where I took it then. :)

I get the impression that 汉办 just recently woke up from a misty sleep and discovered that the HSK people had got far too entrepreneurial (I mean, both the HSK入门 and the upgraded HSK can be seen as a way to boost their revenues). I don't care about the 入门, but I do feel that the new HSK can do something amazing for Chinese teaching in China by forcing universities to teach active language skills to a higher extent.

The whole thing is kind of exciting though, but as mentioned before, the issue will probably be resolved smoothly with the help of some maotai.

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muyongshi
The whole thing is kind of exciting though, but as mentioned before, the issue will probably be resolved smoothly with the help of some maotai.

All things are resolvable when you get someone drunk enough. It might be a whole week of keeping them drunk until there happy enough but I agree that it will be soon to be resolved. (Wish I was on that committee(sh))

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roddy

It certainly seems fair to say that over the last year or two Hanban and co have come to realize that there's a hell of a lot of work to be done and while I doubt the money is going into anyone's personal pockets, there's plenty of scope to expand (self-funding) empires and build reputations.

Frankly I don't have a huge amount of confidence in either organization. The HSK office runs the basic exams competently enough, but it's taken them an age to get round to doing anything about getting an oral component into the lower levels of the HSK and splitting up the Elementary / Intermediate levels ( I think the revised version addresses both of these though, and the C-test Oral component is an interview rather than record, so that's a big step forward); and I'm not overly impressed by the following up of the newish 基础 exam with the newer 入门*. Presumably next will be a 不会 level, for people with 0 hours of Chinese study under their belt.

Hanban meanwhile is in someway associated with the really not very good (and content stealing :tong) linese.com (not sure exactly what the connection is, but they get a home page link), has put its seal of approval on some pretty bad textbooks and is distinctly unpopular with Chinese teachers who use it for certification or overseas placement.

*Actually that's perhaps unfair. If you look at the equivalent (UK) exams for English from UCLES(?) you'd start with KET, PET, FCE, CPE and then CAE, which should perhaps be similar to the 入门,基础,初,中,高 structure. And given the very wide base of the Chinese learning pyramid, it might make sense to start at the bottom . . .

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haiyan

I think that it might be too late for a meal. Hanban and the people here at BLCU are involved in a tit fot tat struggle for control of the HSK exam. BLCU having housed the HSK test centre have benefitted from the prestige this brings and, of course, the money. Hanban wants that money, really badly. As overlords of Chinese learning they have finally woken up to the financial gains to be made from the HSK exam and they have demanded full control of the HSK. The HSK people and the BLCU people refused pointing out that they had developed the exam, promoted it and funded it long before Hanban showed any real interest in developing mandarin learning. In an attempt to force BLCU's hand Hanban have been carrying out some somewhat underhand acts. Hanban who appoint Chinese teachers abroad have been selecting those from other schools ahead of BLCU's. Punishing the teachers and post-grads to get at the school. This maybe bitterness from Chinese teachers here who have failed to get a place but the statistics do seem show this with fewer BLCU teachers being chosen than previously. This refusal to recognise the new HSK exams would appear to be another one of their tactics to force the school's hand. In the long run Hanban will probably be successful as they have the power.

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roddy

Haiyan, thanks for that. Can I ask how you know this, or are your sources confidential ;-)

I think you're probably right about ultimately Hanban being the more powerful organization. It's hard to see how any kind of struggle is going to be good for the people taking the exam though.

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heifeng

Hmmm..this power struggle explains a lot. My teachers also mentioned that the whole revised advanced exam is up in the air as of now. Originally we thought that Oct was the last time to take the advanced exam in its current format...now no one knows anything for sure. I thought that was a bit strange, but on second though... not really.

(Yeah, anyone noticed how the HSK offices have moved to their fancy own building on the BLCU campus? they use to be part of an old building when I first came to China, now they are all upgraded, etc. :mrgreen:)

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haiyan

Sources - Chinese teachers/friends here at BLCU, a group of second year post-grads studying Teaching Chinese as a Second Language and hoping to go abroad to teach, a former student who is now working in Hanban (although he wasn't that helpful), and the wife of a colleague here who is also working for Hanban.

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muyongshi

Where does HSK list the "proposed/forthcoming" (maybe) changes to the tests?

Forgive my ignorance, but will it really matter if the han ban doesn't recognize the new version? I mentioned this to one of my teacher's and she was under the impression that han ban DIRECTLY was responsible (meaning supervision) of the tests/developement.

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roddy

There's an announcement here that the Revised HSK is going to be run officially for the first time this October 13. This is interesting as the 'original' hsk is still (I assume) running on the next day, the 14th. Also, the date clashes (I think, will need to confirm) with the Hanban-run BCT, which I've already signed up for.

Is this a change of plan? I was under the impression none of the revised exams would officially run till next year, but maybe I missed something.

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roddy

Spoke to someone who's spoken to Hanban today. This is by no means an official 'what Hanban thinks' statement, obviously, but it was mentioned that:

The HSK office have come up with the 改进版 all on their own. The original HSK was put together with the Education Ministry, Hanban, and a whole load of universities.

HSK (and all Hanban) exam questions are written by teachers at universities around the country and tested in mock exams offered at said universities. The new HSK has only been written and tested at BLCU, meaning a much smaller sample.

Yes, the HSK center was largely responsible for developing the original HSK. However, there have been a lot of changes in personnel and the new team don't necessarily have the experience they should.

No, it's not all (不完全)about money.

Yes, it is embarrassing.

The main theme was that the new HSK has not been put together in a 科学 enough way. The problems with the tapes in the last HSK sitting was also mentioned as an example of the HSK center dropping the ball.

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roddy

The HSK site now has another bouncing pop-up leading to this page telling of how the new HSK has passed expert assessment by a load of professors from round the country. Nothing new on the Hanban site. Looks like BLCU isn't giving up.

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cliveloughlin

Hi all

I'm going to be taking HSK Basic next month and was wondering if anyone can help me convert my scores on the practice tests into a 'real' result (e.g. level 3).

The following are the marks from 1 practice paper (timed and no help):

Listening: 44 out of 50

Grammar: 38 out of 40

Reading; 39 out of 50.

I worked out the average (overall 121 out of 140) is 86% but I don't know if this means anything as i really don't understand the scoring system (standard deviation/means etc etc!).

Any help on a formula for converting practice resuts into a rough level score would be greatly appreciated!!

Cheers!

Clive

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heifeng
Nothing new on the Hanban site. Looks like BLCU isn't giving up

well, i didn't post it before, but there are some 'new' testing sites that offered the (int and advanced) HSK on other days this Oct, Nov, and Dec. Apparently they are newly approved test sites and they don't even use the HSK website to give out the web based grade....so slowly it looks like blcu isn't running the whole show...

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outcast

So, is next year's HSK going to be the revised one? This whole power struggle is making me doubt this.....

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muyongshi

It sure looks like it...they already did a beginning/intermediate one on 10-22 of this year so it looks like it will be the same for next year. Now all they have to do is update ALL the stuff on their site....which they have never been great about anyway...

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heifeng

i've actually heard the opposite. besides the bouncy window on the hanban website still says that the new format is not official. secondly, it looks like hanban is moving away from relying on blcu, that's why at the minhang guanli ganbu xueyuan in wangjing has been holding the HSK for the last three months, without having anything to do with blcu itself. i say the new renegade exam being used next year is very doubtful...

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