The Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK) is a national standardized test to assess the Chinese language proficiency of non-native speakers (including foreigners, overseas Chinese and students of Chinese national minorities). The test began to be designed by Beijing Language Institute (Beijing Language and Culture University or BLCU now) in 1984 and passed the appraisal by experts in 1990. Launched abroad in 1991, HSK was designated as a state-level test in No.21 Writ issued by the National Education Commission of China (the Ministry of Education today). Currently HSK is a comprehensive test system catering to various levels of the Chinese learners, including HSK Basic, HSK Elementary-Intermediate and HSK Advanced. By December 2005, HSK has been taken by about a million examinees from more than 120 countries (including students of ethnic minorities in China).
Since its inception till now, HSK has grown for more than two decades, during which HSK was always nurtured and cared about by leaders of the Ministry of Education, the National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language and Beijing Language and Culture University. Accompanying these 20 years of study, exploration and innovation, the HSK Center of BLCU, like a baby growing into a strong adult, also evolves and becomes the only professional institution dedicated to R&D and implementation of HSK in China.
The HSK Center of BLCU was established in 1989 and it is more than a developer, designer and implementer of HSK, but an institution that combines “industry, academics and research”. “Industry” denotes HSK design and test implementation, which is the central task of the Center. Only in 2004, the Center has designed more than 10,000 HSK questions. “Academics” means teaching. The Center is the only institution to prepare Master’s degree candidates and Ph.D students in the field of Chinese language Test in China. Currently there are one tutor for Ph.D students and 8 Master student tutors. 2 doctors and 50 masters have graduated from the Center.And “Research” refers to the scientific research. Remarkable achievements have been scored in HSK studies, test theory and test technology research at the Center, which can be shown by more than 50 finished or on-going research projects, over 30 published books and about 200 papers. In general, while “Industry” bears directly on the immediate interests of HSK, “Academics” and “Research” are focused on its future return, providing a long-term intellectual and technical guarantee to the scientific and sustainable development of HSK.