學中文的新誘因

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1993 / 7月

文‧圖鄭元慶



在美國的教育制度下,高中畢業申請大學或獨立學院需要參加全國性的兩種考試,以決定學生是否夠資格入大學,學生可用此成績申請大學。其中一種是學術性向測驗(明年起改稱學術能力測驗—Ⅰ),包括數學和英文。另一種是學科成就測驗(明年起更名為學術能力測驗—Ⅱ),包括數學、英文(含文學)及另選的一科。

可以選擇的科目,即是高中的選修課程,學生可任選下列一種:一是自然學科,如化學、物理、生物等。另一種是歷史學科,如美國歷史、世界歷史、歐洲歷史等。最後一種是外國語文,目前已有包括今年才加入的日語等七種語文。明年將加上中文,考試日期並已確定為四月廿六日和十一月間,共兩次。後年起每年在十一月考一次。

之所以會有這項改變,得歸功近幾年來中文學校、中國社團及中文學術研究等機構不斷地向美國政府建議——應將中文列入考試科目之一。

由全美各大學、學院及高中組成的大學委員會接到這種要求後,即向政府反應,通過之後,政府也撥款由大學委員會和教育測驗中心負責擬定考題。

教育測驗中心則在去年起,抽測高中選修、大學主修中文學生的程度,再依他們的程度決定考題的難易。不過這項抽測僅限於在普通高中學中文的學生,和少數美國東部中文學校的學生,其他地區中文學校的學生並未被測試。

而負責出題的教育測驗中心暫時決定考試共分聽力、語法、閱讀測驗三大類,共計八十五題,考試時間一小時。在試題裡,前兩類以繁體、簡體及漢語拼音並列;閱讀測驗僅有繁、簡兩種,學生可任選一種作答。

許笑濃及多數的中文學校負責人都認為,中文學校學生未參與測試,考題難易不好拿捏。另外,漢語拼音並不是真正的中文,拿它來當成中文考題,實在有待商榷。若真是這樣,不會寫一個中文字也可考前兩大題,閱讀測驗再猜對幾題,也可能會有不錯的成績。

對於這種不太完備的測試及出題,許笑濃準備聯合美東、美南及美中的中文學校聯合會,向大學委員會說明,請他們在考題文字及難易兩方面再行斟酌。

許多人認為,較好的方式應該是考題只分繁、簡體字兩種,另在繁體字旁加注音符號、簡體字旁加漢語拼音,才能測出真正的實力。

〔圖片說明〕

P.122

中文學校的學生,明年起將有另一個展現中文實力的機會。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

A New Incentive for Studying Chinese

Cheng Yuan-ching /tr. by Jonathan Barnard


In the American educational system, students take two kinds of standardized tests which colleges and universities use to judge whether or not they are qualified to be admitted. The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), which starting next year will be called the SAT-I tests verbal and mathematical ability. Achievement tests, which will be called the SAT-II, test mastery in high school subjects. Tests in math and English (including grammar and writing) are required, and a third test is chosen by the student.

This third test can be selected from among a variety of subjects in three different categories: (1) the natural sciences, including chemistry, physics and biology; (2) history, including American history, world history, and European history; and (3) foreign languages, including a different Indo-European languages and, for the first time this year, Japanese. Next year, Chinese will be added, with a test on April 26 and in November. In the following years, there will be one test given each November.

The change represents a victory for Chinese schools, Chinese groups and Chinese academic research institutions who had in recent years lobbied to have an achievement test given in Chinese.

After the College Board, which is composed of representatives of universities, colleges and high schools, received the request, sought the reaction of government and got its approval, the government asked the board and the Educational Testing Service to develop the test's questions.

Last year, they began assessing the level of students taking Chinese as an elective in high school and students taking Chinese as a major in universities, and then geared the difficulty of the questions accordingly. But this assessment was restricted to students taking Chinese as an elective in regular high schools and a small number of students in Chinese schools on the east coast. The students of Chinese schools in other regions were not assessed.

The center responsible for designing the test has, for the moment, decided upon a test in three parts: listening comprehension, writing, and reading. There will be a total of 85 questions and the test will last one hour. In the first two sections students can choose between using complex or simplified characters or the romanization system used on the mainland, whereas for the reading comprehension, one must choose between complex or simplified characters.

Theresa H. Chao and many others in charge of Chinese schools believe that since students at Chinese schools did not participate in the assessments, it will be difficult for the center to decide how difficult the questions should be. Furthermore, they hold that romanized Chinese isn't really Chinese, and its use in a test of Chinese still needs to be discussed. In the way the test is currently designed, if you can't write any Chinese characters at all, by doing well on the first two sections and guessing a few right answers on the reading section, you can still get a good grade.

In response to this less than ideal method of testing, Chao is planning on getting in touch with Chinese school associations on the east coast, in the south and the midwest and then together ask those responsible to reconsider the writing of characters and the difficulty of the test.

Many people believe that a better method is only to use complex and simplified characters, and then to provide the R.O.C.'s National Phonetic System alongside the complex characters and the mainland's romanization system alongside the simplified characters.

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p.122

Next year, students at these Chinese schools will have another chance to show off their Chinese skills.

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