Oral Proficiency Assessment (COPA)
Yale-China Chinese Language Centre (CLC) of The Chinese University
of Hong Kong (CUHK), as one of the largest institutions of its kind
worldwide, offers language-related services in three major areas:
(1) proficiency-oriented language teaching in Chinese; (2) publication
of teaching materials and dictionaries; and (3) proficiency assessment
in both Cantonese and Putonghua.
COPA OPERATIONAL PROGRAM
assessment is one of the research areas maintained by CLC. All assessment
tools used by CLC, while serving students at the University, are also
made available to the public. Learners who want their speaking proficiency
assessed could obtain an objective evaluation based on principles
in testing and linguistics. The operational COPA program is designed
to assess the communicative ability in Putonghua and Cantonese for
learners with various cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
certificate issued by CLC of the Chinese University of Hong Kong,
with a description of the proficiency level attained during the assessment,
will serve as an indication of the examinee's speaking ability. Such
a certificate is mainly used as a supporting document for various
academic and practical purposes, such as credits waive at the university
level, or proof of language ability for employment.
Contact CLC for an application form, then complete
and return it with a check for HK$900 (payable to CUHK, of which $100 is application fee). The application
fee will not be refunded once the application is processed. Although
the COPA is offered as a public service rather than a commercial testing
program, CLC must cover costs arising from the operation.
An official report will be sent to the examinee two
months after the testing date. One additional report will be sent
free of charge to the institution designated by the examinee on the
application form. All subsequent requests within two years from the
date of the examination to send the official report directly from
CLC should be accompanied by a check of $50 (payable to CUHK).
COPA HISTORY, FORMAT, SCALES AND EXPLANATIONS
COPA follows similar testing principles used in the Chinese Speaking
Test (CST) developed in 1986 by the Center for Applied Linguistics
in the United States. The CST is part of an on-going research project
funded by the US Department of Education. While taking the COPA, the
examinees hear the test directions in their mother tongue (English,
Japanese, Korean, Cantonese or Putonghua) from the computer and respond
in the language being assessed (Putonghua or Cantonese). Their responses
are recorded and stored in the computer, to be evaluated by two specially
trained COPA raters. The test lasts approximately 30 minutes, with
tasks covering a wide range of topics and speech functions. The COPA
has an 8-point scale based on the Proficiency Guidelines developed
by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).
Each of the 8 points is accompanied by a corresponding description,
which characterizes speakers at different levels of proficiency. The
rationale in scoring the COPA is to find the level at which the examinee
consistently fulfills the speaking functions.
- application form
从上世纪八十年代开始，美国应用语言学中心在美国教育部的资助下，开始了一个口语水平测试的大型研究项目，汉语模拟口语水平面试（Chinese Speaking Test, 简称CST）是早期成果之一。COPA根据CST的原则，结合粤方言区的特点，采用电脑以随机方式合成试卷。考生通过耳机听到母语的指示和题目说明，同时在电脑显示器上看到书面指引，答案则由电脑同步数码化并存档，再由专业评核人员按标准参照评分。评核的主要指标是通过所获得的语料，看考生是否能在某个特定的水平上按题目的要求用恰当的语言提供答案。测试时间大约三十分钟，题目来自与日常生活有关的各个领域。COPA成绩参照美国外语教学委员会口语水平大纲的描述，共分四级八等，每一等级都有文字说明，具体解释该等级考生的语言能力和特点。