Standing Out from the Crowd in a Global World with Language Proficiency

Posted January 18, 2018

Chinese is the fastest growing language studied in North Carolina, increasing from 350 to over 12,000 K-12 students studying Chinese language since 2010, primarily driven by Go Global NC’s Confucius Classroom network.* The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction reports Chinese is the third most studied foreign language in the state.

photo of flyer for Chinese language testing at Wheatmore High School

Photo: Wheatmore High School

Learning and showing proficiency in more than one language provides an opportunity for students to stand out from the crowd in a global world where employers and educational institutions pay attention to language skills when recruiting. Job postings seeking bilingual employees more than doubled between 2010 and 2015, and Chinese language proficiency was one of the top three languages sought**

Go Global NC’s June Chen – associate director, world language programs – with the support of Rachel Rosenbaum – program coordinator, education and training – and in collaboration with Hanban (the Office of Chinese Language Council International), help North Carolina students recognize their proficiency in Chinese language by offering two specialized tests launched by Hanban: HSK (Hànyŭ Shuĭpíng Kăoshì) Chinese Proficiency Test and YCT (Youth Chinese Test).

picture of Chinese teacher in the classroom

Photo: Polk High School

Both tests help non-native Chinese speakers see their progress in learning Chinese language and gauge their ability to use their language skills in their daily, academic, or professional lives. Official HSK credentials for Chinese language ability may help secure employment or help students test out of college courses. The YCT is also an international standardized test of Chinese language proficiency but is designed for primary and middle school and measures proficiency at a lower level than HSK. As students continue to study Chinese, they may measure their proficiency by taking the HSK.

Go Global NC has successfully administered nearly 600 HSK/YCT tests to students in its Confucius Classroom network in the past two years, with plans to increase the number of students taking this proficiency exam in the future.

*Go Global NC data
**2017 New American Economy report: “Not Lost in Translation: The Growing Importance of Foreign Language Skills in the U.S. Job Market”