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Start a Chinese Language Program in Your School

Do you have all the ingredients to start and sustain a high-quality Chinese language program? Image: btrenkel/iStockPhoto.com.

Do you have all the ingredients to start and sustain a high-quality Chinese language program? Image: btrenkel/iStockPhoto.com.

Once you have decided to start a Chinese language program in your school or district you will embark on a comprehensive planning process to set the scope, expectations and goals for the program. The following are useful tools as you plan:


Stakeholder worksheet | download (1-page PDF)
As with any new educational endeavor, the Chinese program will need a broad base of community and professional support. This worksheet helps new program planners consider different types of stakeholders to involve in formal planning committees.

Goals worksheet | download (1-page PDF)
This worksheet poses initial questions to help guide the planning committee in setting long- and short-term goals for the Chinese language program.

  • ACTFL Performance Guidelines for K–12 Learners | link
    This American Council on the Teaching Foreign Languages publication describes different levels of ability to use real-world language when interacting with speakers of the language and when confronted with written texts in the language. They can be helpful in planning the scope and length of the Chinese language program.
  • Early Language Learning Oral Performance Assessment (ELLOPA) and Student Oral Performance Assessment (SOPA) | link
    Face-to-face listening and speaking assessment for primary grades children. From the Center for Applied Linguistics.
  • Standards Based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP) | link
    Online assessment measuring listening, speaking, reading, and writing for students in Grade 7 and beyond. From Language Learning Solutions.
  • SAT II: Chinese with Listening | link
    A Subject Area Test (SAT) of understanding spoken and written Chinese for college-bound high school students. From the College Board.
  • Chinese Language and Culture Advanced Placement (AP) Exam | link
    Test of listening, speaking, reading, and writing ability for college-bound high school students, available in May 2007. From the College Board.
  • Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) | link
    Face-to-face or telephonic assessment of speaking ability for high school students and beyond. From the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages/Language Testing International.
  • Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK) | link
    The national standardized test to evaluate the Chinese proficiency of non-native Chinese speakers. Designed and developed by the HSK Center of Beijing Language and Culture University.
  • Lingua Folio | link
    A reflective learning and self-assessment tool based on the European Language Portfolio. From the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL).

Backwards mapping tools
Often program planners work backwards from a desired outcome (e.g. achievement on the Advanced Placement Course and Examination). Program planners can begin by reviewing the requirements for established examinations, and planning backwards to develop a sequence and set of resources that will produce this desired level of achievement.