Pearson Unveils New Spoken Chinese Test

Automated, Highly Reliable Language Test Developed in Collaboration With Peking University

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Dec. 2, 2013 – Today Pearson unveiled a new way to quickly and accurately assess the spoken proficiency of Chinese language learners. Developed in collaboration with language experts at Peking University, the new Spoken Chinese Test is fully automated and can easily be taken over the phone or via computer with a detailed score report available within minutes after the test is completed.

“As China continues to grow as a global economic leader, the number of people learning Chinese is also growing rapidly and companies around the world have an accelerating need to hire executives who are proficient speakers of the language,” said Alistair Van Moere, president of the Knowledge Technologies business of Pearson. “Our collaboration with Peking University to develop this ground-breaking Spoken Chinese Test represents a milestone achievement in the effort to promote Chinese language learning. The new test provides companies, colleges and universities, and other organizations with a highly effective tool for assessing Chinese language proficiency.”

The Spoken Chinese Test utilizes the same technology as Pearson’s Versant Tests. Test takers listen to recorded spoken questions from native Chinese speakers and must respond in real-time. The tasks involve reading aloud, identifying different tones, repeating sentences, and listening and summarizing passages. Several minutes after completing the test, the test taker or administrator receives an overall score, as well as subscores for grammar, vocabulary, fluency, pronunciation, and tone. This makes the Spoken Chinese Test ideal as an on-the-spot placement or screener test for large numbers of test takers. It also assists teachers and students with understanding the test takers’ skill profile, strengths and weaknesses.

The Spoken Chinese Test has been extensively field tested and evaluated to verify its validity and reliability. Its scores are virtually indistinguishable from the scoring provided by Chinese professors at Peking University, ensuring confidence in the results. In addition, studies have correlated test scores with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Oral Proficiency Interview and the Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK).

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About Pearson

Pearson is the world’s leading learning company, providing educational materials and services and business information through the Financial Times Group. Pearson serves learners of all ages around the globe, employing 41,000 people in more than 70 countries. For more information about Pearson, visit


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    Game changer or vaporware?