Minority language testing: the social impact of the Zhuang language proficiency test in China

Ying Wu, Rita Silver, Guangwei Hu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The Zhuang language test (Vahcuengh Sawcuengh Suijbingz Gaujsi, VSSG) is the first minority language test in the People’s Republic of China. It was designed with multiple goals including improving Zhuang language teaching, recruiting students for relevant majors of tertiary study, identifying proficiency for work-related applications, and piloting the standardisation of national minority languages. Informed by a use-oriented testing perspective that takes into account social consequences and value implications, we examine attitudes of stakeholders (i.e. testers in an official capacity and testees) toward the test and consider how well the VSSG meets its goals. Drawing on documents and interviews, our study suggests that the test falls short of its primary goals due to a mismatch between stakeholder attitudes, the social functions of the tested language, and the value attached to the minority language. As a result, the test is an ineffective agent for promoting the status of the Zhuang language in the ways intended by its designers and policymakers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • China
  • language assessment
  • minority language
  • Use-oriented testing
  • Zhuang language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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