FAQ - Middle School

Middle School - Chinese Studies FAQ

The HKIS Mandarin language program develops students' language skills based on their linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Whether this is their first exposure to Mandarin or it's their native language, our two-track approach caters to all learners. Learn more about our program below.

Placement + Assessment

What is the difference between MSL + MNN?

MSL: Mandarin as a Second Language
MNN: Mandarin for Near-Native Speakers

The MNN program and classes are designed for students who already possess a communicative fluency which enables them to learn other content areas in Chinese.

How is a student’s level assessed?

Placement in the different levels of MSL and MNN follow a logical path.  Students go from level 1 to 2, the 2 to 3 etc and this is reassessed at the end of each year, based on teacher's recommendation and student's results.

Our goal when it comes to level placement is identical to the one presiding to stream placement: ensuring that students are within a class that is right for them in term of progress and motivation.

In Middle School, formal assessments take place and throughout the year, the students' level is checked using multiple tools, in order to assess:

  • listening comprehension
  • reading comprehension
  • oral skills: interpersonal and presentational speaking ability
  • writing skills 


How are placement levels decided during transition years?

At the end of each transition year, placement level in the next division is decided.

From Grade 5 to 6 and Grade 8 to 9, an external assessment takes place, the AAPPL (ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages) which addresses the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages through the measure of the following modes of communication:

  • Interpersonal Listening/Speaking
  • Presentational Writing 
  • Interpretive Reading and Listening

What is the criteria for placement in MNN classes?

When making the decision regarding MSL or MNN classes, our goal is to ensure that the students are placed at a level which is just right for them: challenging enough to enable good and steady progress, while remaining on par with their current level to foster confidence and maintain motivation.

Is it possible to move from MSL to MNN?

Yes.  Based on fluency and ability and following teachers' recommendation, it is possible for students to move from MSL to MNN.

How much Chinese language instruction will my child receive per week?

This depends on grade level and class scheduling.  However, the table below roughly shows the instructional minutes per division per week.


Who can I contact if I have questions about my child’s placement in Chinese Studies class?

The first person to speak with should be your child’s current Chinese teacher through Unified Classroom/Schoology.  Placement is never an exact science and an open discussion about the student’s demonstrated strengths and skills with their teacher should be a first start.

Chinese Studies contacts: click here.

Learning Support + Resources

Is outside tutoring the only way to maintain and improve my child’s Chinese?

Under no circumstances, no student should be in a position to require additional tutoring to be able to learn Chinese. However, there are students and families who wish to strengthen one or two skill areas by securing structured tutoring. At the end of the day, these choices are personal and should be made based on the family’s values and vision for their child. However, it should never be the case that a tutor is necessary to complete homework.

Are Chinese Studies teachers available after school?

Yes, homework club is available for all Middle School students.

They can stop by anytime, to any teacher between 3:00-4:00 p.m. every day except for Thursday.

Who can I contact if I have questions about my child’s Chinese Studies class?

Please contact your child's teacher through Schoology or Unified Classroom.  

Chinese Studies contacts: click here.

Chinese Studies Slideshow