An outline for a Chinese spoken-language proficiency standard (汉语口语水平等级标准及测试大纲) authored by Tianjin’s Language Training and Testing Center (天津市语言文字培训测试中心) has won the approval of the ministry of education’s and the state language committee (国家语言文字工作委员会 / 国家语委), reports Bohai Morning News (渤海早报), republished by Enorth. The outline was to be applied from February 1, 2011. Just as Chinese people took IELTS (雅思) or TOEFL (托福) tests, the Chinese spoken-language proficiency standard was going to mark a language-testing standard for different levels in everyday spoken Chinese, for non-native speakers of Chinese and foreign citizens of Chinese origin (华人华裔). The standard determines three grades with three levels respectively (三等九级, i. e. nine levels in total). In terms of vocabulary, the elementary grade would (初等) would include 2,100 words, the medium grade (中等) would include 3,100 additional words, and the advanced grade (高等) would add another 3,100 words, i. e. 8,300 words combined.
In its initial testing stage, the standard will be in operation in nine provinces, territories or directly-controlled municipalities, according to Bohai Morning News.
The spoken-language proficiency standard is part of the more general (Standard) Chinese Proficiency test (HSK, 汉语水平考试 or hànyǔ shǔipíng kǎoshì) which would include tests of both spoken and written skills. The Center of Chinese Proficiency Test at Beijing Language and Culture University (北京语言大学) released a new testing format in 2007 which would put increased focus on the testees’ comprehensive language and communication skills (考生的综合语言能力和交际能力).