In the San Francisco Bay Area, the 2013 Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL) was offered twice this spring in Bay Area schools. The TOCFL is Taiwan’s Mandarin Chinese test. It is administered under the direction of the island’s Ministry of Education. In all, 78 American students participated in the first testing of their proficiency in elementary, intermediate, advanced and proficient Chinese during the April 5 testing at the University of California, Berkeley. In the second exam, 31 students took the test at the International School of the Peninsula on May 9.
In recent years, Chinese language education has thrived in the Bay Area. In an effort to prepare students for the challenges of an increasingly connected world, American schools are standardizing Chinese language courses as well as Chinese immersion programs. To evaluate a student’s ability, a Chinese language proficiency assessment system was needed. This has made the TOCFL very useful for Chinese-language educators to gauge their students’ performance.
Since 2008, the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in San Francisco has promoted TOCFL among local American schools and universities offering Chinese language and East Asian studies. The test is widely recognized by many teachers as a useful assessment instrument. Students who take the test not only get a sense of their proficiency, but it also gives them added motivation to advance their language skills to the next level.
In October, another TOCFL will be administered at Brigham Young University (BYU), Utah. Given the steady growth in the number of Chinese language students at BYU, it is estimated that more than 90 students will take the test.