Test Info

Below is info on the various exams you will take throughout your Flagship career.

Are you a student trying to prepare for an exam?

In many of these sections, you will find links to demo tests.
You may also want to consider working through exercises at and slightly above your level on the Gloss website: https://gloss.dliflc.edu/

NOTE: Always bring a long-sleeve garment to the test with you. The computer lab tends to be cold, and you’ll be in there for a long time.


OPIc

 

Setup Instructions (review BEFORE coming to test site)

Login Page: http://actfltesting.org/

Step 1: Log In. (USERNAME IS NOT YOUR NAME OR ID. You will receive two strings of letters and numbers. The first is your username, and the second is your password.)

Step 2: Complete sample question, which is a sound check.  Note: as you answer the question, you should see a small arrow/triangle to the right of the image bounce up and down as you speak.  Ideally, you want it to bounce up to the middle of the bar, or slightly higher.  If it stays up near the top, it will work, but may create a lot of static noise for the test raters.  If it stays near the bottom, you will likely get a UR (unrateable) score and have to re-test.  Most likely, the test will give you an error message and not allow you to continue if the volume is too low.  A re-test will not only cost another $70, but it will also likely be at a very inconvenient time for you, so for your own sake, try to get this right the first time.

If the sound looks like it might be too loud after your best attempts to adjust it, just go on.  Students have been able to receive accurate scores with loud volume; just not with very soft volume.

If you do not get an error message, but the sound remains low, the problem is probably your voice, rather than the sound levels.  Do the practice exercise several times, and practice keeping your voice at a steady volume.  For certain students, this is difficult for them to do with other students testing around them.  It’s essential if you want to get an accurate score (and avoid a re-test).  You may want to pretend that the listener is at the far end of a large room, or perhaps behind a teller window.  You don’t need (or want) to yell, but you want to put some air behind your words.

Step 3: Fill out questionnaire. Note: it is VERY IMPORTANT that you follow the suggestions given in the OPIc section below.

Important Questionnaire Instructions

a) Before the exam begins, you will be required to give some information about yourself: where you live, what you do for work, and what your hobbies are.  This will be your only chance to “negotiate” with the testers for what questions they might ask.  Go for what’s easy; not what’s true.  Rather than being overly accurate in your responses, it is important that you think strategically about how your answers will affect your test questions.  For example, if you live in an apartment, but have far more practice talking about a dorm room, then say you live in a dorm.  If you have a job but have not talked about it in depth in Chinese, just say you are a student.  If you love rock climbing, or even basketball, but don’t know much of the related vocabulary, stick to activities that have been covered in your lessons (many students regret choosing things as simple as jogging, realizing that they don’t have much to say).  Keep in mind that, no matter what you choose here, you will likely be asked at least some questions that have nothing to do with what you chose (this is probably intentional, to see how well you can think on your feet).

b) You will also choose 3 of 5 general topics that you would prefer to talk about in higher level questions. All students should take this seriously, but lower level students will receive few (if any) questions from this group. These prompts are very general, including topics related to the environment, global business, cultural and societal issues, and communications.

c) Finally, you will be asked to choose from a list of proficiency levels.  These are descriptors of what kinds of tasks you think you can do with Chinese.  Studies have shown that students on the intermediate level are often over-confident about their abilities, while advanced students, ironically, are under-confident.  It is important that you STOP on this question and allow us to suggest which level you should choose.  If you are taking the exam with an outside proctor, make sure to ask us about this in advance.  On the whole, we give the following suggestions:

after CHIN 112 – option 2

after CHIN 212 – option 3

after CHIN 215 – option 3

after CHIN 314 – option 4

after CHIN 418 – option 4 or 5 (this will depend on how much time a student has spent abroad and how ready they are for superior level questions)

after CHIN 513 (normally at this stage, you will be taking the telephonic OPI)

Step 4: Take the test. Remember:

  • Be confident (or fake it).  You’ll score better.
  • Use the repeat button to give yourself more time to think about the question and formulate your answer.
  • Give full answers, even if you don’t (fully) understand the question.
  • If you don’t understand exactly what they’re asking, try to answer the question you think they’re asking.
  • If you don’t understand anything, say so, and then talk on a subject you’re familiar with.
  • Talk in paragraphs to get a higher score.  Give a short, overarching answer to the question, and follow it with support paragraphs or sentences.  This is why the repeat button is so important.
  • Again, focus on things you’re familiar with from Chinese class; not your actual life experience or interests.  This is not a job application, much less a lie detector test.  The testers have no interest in you as a person; only in your Chinese proficiency.  Give them as much strong data as possible demonstrating what you’re capable of.

  • Test Preparation Info (review WEEKS BEFORE coming to test site)

    What it is: The computer-based version of the telephonic OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview).

    What it tests: it is a measure of speaking proficiency, but listening skills are required in order to properly interpret the questions.

    Duration: 1 hour. (The exam itself can take 30 min. for lower level students and ~45 min. for higher level students, but setup adds another 15).

    Location: on campus, we administer these in the Weir computer labs with up to 10 students testing at a time. The test is easily administered from almost any computer, if special circumstances require it.

    Setup: a computer with an internet connection, a microphone, and headphones/earbuds.  If testing alone, a laptop with a built-in microphone is all that is needed.

    Pros: This test is costs about $70, which is half the cost of the telephonic OPI.  Research has shown that the exams yield extremely consistent results.

    Cons: Because raters do not listen to test-taker input in real time, questions cannot be altered to meet the language abilities and world knowledge of the test-taker.  Test-takers often report a higher degree of anxiety when compared to the telephonic OPI.  They often say that they could have done better if the questions had been different.

    Advice

    a) Remember that a real person will be listening to the sound recordings you generate.

    b) Answer the question asked as fully as you can. For example, the example question asks you about the weather. Literally, all you have to do to answer this question is say something like, “今天的天气很好”. On any question, however, you should try to move beyond a literal answer and move into more general territory. In the case of the weather, you could talk about what you like to do, (or what you can’t do) when the weather is what it is. You could also use today’s weather as a jumping-off point to talk about the local climate and its effect on local culture (what people tend to do for work and hobbies and what they wear, eat, etc.).

    c) Remember, you don’t have to be overly truthful, so start your response in a way that gives you the most to talk about and with vocabulary you are most comfortable with).

    d) If you do not have anything to say about the question, or if you do not fully understand it, just talk about something as related as you can, and talk as long as you can.

    e) Use each question as a chance to demonstrate your full abilities, including vocabulary knowledge, command of grammar patterns and phrases, appropriate use of pragmatics–making suggestions, requests, etc. in a manner that is culturally appropriate to the person you would be speaking to (adult, child, friend, colleague, etc.)

    f) Expect to feel frustrated.  You will take this exam several times throughout your Flagship career.  Eventually, you will take the telephonic OPI.  The more you learn to manage your frustration and keep a clear head, the better you will be at managing the stress of talking to a real person and giving strategic responses that will nudge the tester into giving you questions that you can “knock out of the park.”

    g) Expect to receive a series of questions on a rather complex topic.  A common question on the telephonic OPI is, “have you recently read any interesting articles/books or watched any interesting movies?”  This is followed by a series of questions that allow/force you to talk in depth on a topic with major implications in the realm of social or cultural issues, politics, economics, etc.  When you take the OPI, you will want to make sure the topics/issues addressed in the book/article/movie you mention are narrow enough for you to force the tester’s hand–to make sure the follow-up questions are in an area that you are passionate about and very comfortable discussing in Chinese.  On the OPIc, you will not be able to give much input into what the topic will be, but while you are answering, you can imagine how it would be presented in a telephonic OPI and respond accordingly.

    h) Speak in paragraphs. You want to speak fluently and with confidence, but it is important that you take a moment before responding to the prompts and to come up with a few bullet points supporting the claims or opinions you will include in your answer.  Whether you are being asked how many siblings you have or how you feel about the current state of China’s economy, you will want to be ready to expand on your initial statements.

    i) Many students will be prompted with a role play, where they will be asked to describe or act out what they would do in one or more scenarios. This is a time to demonstrate your cultural competence. If you have to negotiate with a teacher about rescheduling an exam or replacing a broken computer, you want to make sure that you use deferent speech (always making indirect suggestions and focusing on the teacher’s convenience rather than your own, even if you would normally feel that, given the circumstances, you “deserve” for your opinions, preferences, or convenience to take primary position). If you are talking to a friend, you might be less deferent, but still more so than with an American friend. With a child, in Chinese culture, you will probably switch from deferent to “cute” speech. This is still different from how you interact with an American child. Just as young adults have greater responsibility in how they interact with those above them (such as teachers) and even with their peers (in contributing to a light-hearted social mood aimed at creating the smoothest interactions possible, with limits on individual preferences and opinions that may cause tension or misunderstandings in even casual conversation), young people in a Chinese context have more responsibility for the general well-being of small children (even strangers) than Americans would. In “cute speech,” the goal is to make a child feel safe and wiling to comply to the directions you give them. It is a good idea to go over this with your teachers so that you know, for example how to address a child (often this will be, “小朋友” if it is a stranger, and a variation of their name with a diminutive, like “小” or “啊”). Notice that the language you use will be quite different if you are talking through a situation vs talking about what you would say in a situation. Also, there tend to be similarities between the types of role plays that students get, so it is a good idea to ask advice from your teachers on what they tend to be. DO NOT ask for specifics. We don’t want anyone to be accused of cheating. Still, knowing what kinds of situations you might encounter, hopefully months in advance, can help you imagine yourself in them and work on learning “survival” vocabulary that might not be covered in your textbooks. You’re also more likely to talk to your teacher about situational strategies and sentence patterns used to accomplish tasks while maintaining correct social relations. This can vastly accelerate your advances in cultural competence and help you switch from translation sentences in your head (usually literally) to translating entire situations (saying whatever is most fitting for a given context).

    OPIc Demo:
    http://opicdemo.actfltesting.org/


STAMP

 

  • Setup Instructions (review BEFORE coming to test site)

    Login info:

    STAMP

    Login Page: stamp4s.avantassessment.com
    Test Code: (summer 2019) 11404-2s-cs-2
    Password: [will be entered by proctor] Login Name: UM email handle (leave off @go.olemiss.edu, and do NOT use your UM ID)

    Once logged in:

    Test Taker ID: SAME AS LOGIN NAME; do NOT use your UM ID

    Grade: Freshman = 13, Sophomore = 14, etc. (use your chronological year in college, irrespective of your technical standing by credits earned)
    Language Background: [leave all irrelevant questions BLANK] Immersion Experience (studied or lived in a country…): do not include summers; only include if you lived in China for a semester or more, using Chinese all day long (going to an international school and just taking Chinese as your language course does not count). For a semester, put “.5”

    Taking the exam:

    Do Reading first and then Listening
    VERY IMPORTANT! DO NOT CLICK TO START WRITING OR SPEAKING.
    We are NOT doing Writing or Speaking. When you finish Reading, you can click to go on to the next test. This will bring you to the selection page.
    There, you will click on “Listening & Speaking,” which will begin with the listening portion. Do NOT click on Writing. After completing the listening section, click “go on to next section” in the middle of the page. Make sure it takes you back to Listening/Reading so you can start Listening and NOT on to Writing. Clicking “Stop Test” in the top right corner should have the same effect, but it may require you to login again.  

    If for any reason, you need to log back in, do as follows:
    In the Test Code box, hit the down arrow, and it should auto fill.

    For your Login Name, again, use your email handle.

    The proctor will enter your password.

    Then select Listening.  After the listening test, again, click Stop Test.  Do NOT go on to Speaking.

    At this point, you will have finished the STAMP test.

    Leave the browser open on the login page for the next student.

    We will give you the results when we have them.

    Don’t forget to take your headphones when you leave.

    For a description of the exam and suggestions on strategy, see the STAMP section below.


  • Test Preparation Info (review WEEKS BEFORE coming to test site)

    What it is: A computer-based proficiency exam that covers all four skills.

    What it tests: While this exam has 4 sections (reading, writing, listening, and speaking), we actually only use the reading and listening portions as an alternative to the American Councils Reading/Listening exam.  The AC test is restricted to use before and after Flagship funding is received (summer at Shanghai University and before and after Capstone).

    Duration: approx. 90 min. 40 – 45 min. for each section (can be shorter or longer, as this test is adaptive).

    Location: on campus, we administer these in the Weir computer labs with up to 15 students testing at a time

    Setup: a computer with an internet connection and headphones/earbuds.  If testing alone, a laptop is sufficient.

    Pros: This test is very inexpensive, and students find the questions more straightforward than the AC test.

    Cons: The scores tend to be lower than the AC exam.  Still, it can be a useful tool for tracking progress and giving students practice in preparation for the Capstone application, on which their AC test scores will carry a great deal of weight.

    Tips:

    • You can listen to questions a second time in the listening section
    • Since the test is adaptive, you do not need to feel rushed on harder questions.
    • You can and should make educated guesses even on difficult questions, but if the test goes well beyond 45 min., you may want to back off to prevent the exam from going on indefinitely (this has never happened to our students before, but just in case…)

    Docs:
    Test-Taker Guide
    STAMP Example Test

    NOTES FROM Test-Taker Guied
    Taking the Avant STAMP 4S Assessment

    Responses to test questions are submitted using the NEXT button, located at the bottom right of the screen. Scroll down, if necessary.

    A warning will appear if you spend too much time on one test item. However, the warning message allows you to add more time if needed. If no entry is given when this message is displayed, you will be logged out of the test and will need to resume when you have more time.

    Unless directed otherwise, complete all sections of the test until the Test Complete message appears.

    Reading and Listening Sections

    The Reading and Listening sections of the test are multiple choice and computer-adaptive, meaning that each new question is selected based on previous responses. Because Avant STAMP 4S is used to determine language proficiency for test takers who are at Novice, Intermediate and Advanced levels, the Reading and Listening sections start out with questions at various levels. If you are at the early stages of language learning, the test may challenge you, but don’t be frustrated if you encounter a topic or words that are unfamiliar to you. Do your best, but keep in mind that an incorrect answer on an unfamiliar topic is okay and provides the system with valuable information needed for determining proficiency.

    As your test progresses, you may see easier or more difficult questions based upon your earlier answers. Each test taker will follow a unique path as he/she moves through the test. You will see approximately 30 questions in each of the sections. The Reading section takes, on average, 40 minutes to complete and the Listening section averages 45 minutes. Either section may take longer for test takers who are getting many higher-level test items, which feature longer reading or listening passages. The speed of your Internet connection can also affect the length of the test.

    Here are some tips:

    • Read the question and answers before you attempt to read or listen to the passage (this will help guide your reading/listening and help you move through the test more quickly)
    • Do not translate each word that you read or hear – translating each word is not reading or listening for comprehension and it will take more time that you can better use in later sections
    • In the Listening section, you can listen to each recording two times

Telephonic OPI

 

  • Setup Instructions (review BEFORE coming to test site)

  • Test Preparation Info (review WEEKS BEFORE coming to test site)

Reading & Listening Exam

 

  • Setup Instructions (review BEFORE coming to test site)

    Same as OPIc

    For a description of the exam and suggestions on strategy, see the R&L Test section below.

    Reading/Listening Login Page

    *** DO NOT REFRESH PAGE, RE-CLICK THE LINK or CLOSE BROWSER TAB/WINDOW ***
    Once the code has been entered, it can never be re-entered.

    do NOT give your UM ID
    Ole Miss considers your ID to be sensitive information and does not need to be given to 3rd parties.


  • Test Preparation Info (review WEEKS BEFORE coming to test site)

    What it is: A computer-based exam broken up into two parts: listening and reading.

    What it tests: in their respective sections, both reading and listening are tested using passages or recordings followed by multiple-choice questions.  IMPORTANT: All questions are designed to look like plausible answers, with the correct answer only standing out to students who have a clear understanding of the passage.  The passages and recordings are taken from real life, and the recordings are often intentionally low quality.

    Duration: up to 3 hrs. (90 min. max for each question, but the listening test often takes a little less).   Reading comes first.  You can start the listening early if you finish the reading early, but all students can take a break of up to 10 minutes between the tests.

    Location: on campus, we administer these in the Weir computer labs with up to 15 students testing at a time.  The only requirement is a pair of headphones.  You are encouraged to bring your own.

    Setup: a computer with an internet connection and headphones/earbuds.  If testing alone, a laptop with speakers is sufficient.

    Pros: ??

    Cons:  This test is long.  The battery of questions is fairly limited, so students cannot take it too often or they will recognize the questions.  American Councils has been working to improve this, but developing valid test items is a slow and costly process.

    Advice: WORK QUICKLY THROUGH THE BEGINNING SECTIONS. Many students have been surprised by the length of the later passages and wish they had gotten to them sooner. Also, be prepared for some traditional characters.

    -On both sections, you have 90 min. for 44 questions.

    -Some pages have 1 question, and some have 2 (both reading and listening portions), which can cause perceptual errors in how close you are to finishing in relation to your remaining time.

    -Reading: as you go, the prompts get longer, meaning that the questions take longer to answer. About halfway through the exam, you will start getting some questions in traditional characters.

    -Listening: as you go, the prompts get faster and more complex, meaning that the questions are harder and take longer to answer

    You are not penalized for guessing, but do NOT employ the same test-taking strategies you might have developed for the SAT/ACT.  Some students have tested much poorer than expected, presumably because they tried to identify the correct answer as quickly as possible without necessarily reading the questions in full.

    Listening/Reading Sample Test Questions:

    https://exams.americancouncils.org/access/samples.php

    or
    https://exams.actesting.org/samples/

G-L:


What do results mean?

Your goal as a Language Flagship student is to achieve ILR 3 in speaking, listening, and reading.

This is a very ambitious goal, and not everyone will reach it, but it is nevertheless the goal for both students to aim for and faculty to push you to.  This will earn you the classification of “Flagship Certified with Distinction.”

More realistically, all students who reach ILR 3 in speaking and at least ILR 2+ in both listening and reading will be classified by the national Language Flagship as “Flagship Certified.”

Here is the exact wording of Flagship’s nomenclature policy:

Flagship Undergraduate students can complete Flagship with one of five designations:

1. Disenrolled – students who join Flagship and later choose to not continue.
2. Alumni – students join Flagship but are unable to
complete/undertake Capstone prior to their graduation, but graduate in good standing.
3. Complete – students who successfully complete a Capstone experience, but do not demonstrate ILR 3/2+/2+ proficiency.
4. Certified — students who successfully complete a Capstone experience and demonstrate ILR 3/2+/2+ proficiency.
5. Certified with Distinction — students who successfully complete a Capstone experience and demonstrate ILR 3/3/3 proficiency.

 

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