COPA Introduction

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COPA (Computerized Oral Proficiency Assessment)


As a major international language training center, CLC offers language-related services such as proficiency assessment in both Cantonese and Putonghua, in addition to its major tasks of teaching and publication of teaching materials and dictionaries.

COPA format, scales and explanations

The COPA is an adaptation of the Chinese Speaking Test (CST) developed by the Center for Applied Linguistics in the United States. The examinee hears the test instructions and questions in their mother tongue (English, Japanese or Korean) from a master tape and then responds in the foreign language he or she is learning (Cantonese or Putonghua). Responses will then be evaluated by two specially trained COPA raters. The test lasts for approximately 30-45 minutes, with tasks covering a wide range of topics and speech functions. The rationale in scoring the COPA is to find the level at which the examinee consistently fulfills the speaking functions.  Each COPA task presents the examinee with a speaking task of a defined level of difficulty on the Proficiency Guidelines developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). The ACTFL Guidelines describe aspects of speech, which characterize speakers at different levels of proficiency. These guidelines were developed in response to a movement in the language teaching community, stressing meaningful communication in the foreign language classroom.

Targe/ Testing field



English speakers



Japanese speakers



Korean speakers



Cantonese speakers



COPA Operational program評核項目

Proficiency assessment is one of the research areas pursued by CLC to better serve the growing needs of proficiency-oriented language teaching.  All assessment tools used by CLC are made available to the public so that learners who want their speaking proficiency assessed may obtain an objective evaluation based on testing and linguistics principles. Currently, the COPA is available in Cantonese and Putonghua for English speakers. Students will be notified when the Japanese and Korean versions are available.

Language Proficiency Certification

A certificate issued by CLC, with a description of the proficiency level attained by the examinee, will serve as an indication of his/her speaking ability and be used for various purposes, such as a supporting document for credit evaluation or proof of language ability for employment.

Score reporting

The official reports will be sent to the examinee two months after the testing date. Two additional reports will be sent free of charge to institutions designated by the examinee at the time of the evaluation. All subsequent requests to send the official report directly from CLC will be charged HK$50 per copy. (Please made cheque payable to “Chinese University of Hong Kong”)


Application fee: HK$100
Examination fee: HK$800 

The following groups can take the exam at special rate at HK$600 以下人士可以優惠價格HK$600報考

CUHK and CLC current students

Students from CUHK university division Advanced Putonghua course

Current CLC TCFL Advanced Diploma Programme students

Application fee will not be refunded once the application is accepted

Testing dates available for the public

The test date is scheduled for the 15th of each month, or the following working day if the 15th day happens to be weekend or a public holiday.

Application procedure

Download application form from CLC website and return together with the cheque of the corresponding examination fee amount (payable to “Chinese University of Hong Kong”) to defray administration  costs.  

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