A paper entitled “LEXTALE_CH: A quick, character-based proficiency test for Mandarin Chinese” (Chan & Chang, 2018) has been published in the Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. This paper describes the development of the Mandarin proficiency test that was used for control purposes in the tone perception study presented at BUCLD 42.
Abstract: Research in second language acquisition suggests that objective performance-based assessments may provide more reliable and valid measures of second language proficiency than subjective self-ratings. To measure proficiency in English as a second language, a quick, vocabulary-based test called LexTALE (Lexical Test for Advanced Learners of English) was developed and shown to be able to differentiate between various levels of English proficiency. Following in the line of adaptations of this test for other languages, we created a character-based adaptation for Mandarin Chinese: LEXTALE_CH. In this paper, we discuss the development and validation of LEXTALE_CH in detail. In short, LEXTALE_CH can discriminate between high and low levels of Mandarin proficiency and is sensitive to the significant differences in vocabulary size between native speakers and second language learners of Mandarin; further, it takes only a few minutes to administer and is simple to score, making it a practical tool for low-stakes estimation of Mandarin proficiency.
This study followed Open Science practices, and all materials (Chinese and English versions of the final test, along with an answer key and image files for web administration) are publicly accessible via the Open Science Framework at https://osf.io/qdy4n/.