The AP Chinese Language and Culture course provides students with opportunities to achieve intermediate- to advanced-level proficiencies as described in the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines. According to surveys of comparable curricula at four-year colleges and universities, it is comparable to fourth semester (or the equivalent) college/university courses in Mandarin Chinese.
The course engages students in an exploration of both contemporary and historical Chinese culture. Because the course interweaves language learning and culture, this exploration occurs in Chinese. Students learn about various aspects of contemporary Chinese society, including geography and population, ethnic and regional diversity, travel and transportation, climate and weather, holidays and food, sports and games, current affairs and societal relationships. The course introduces students to significant persons, products and themes in Chinese history. This introduction may touch on such topics as Chinese contributions to philosophical thought, government institutions and artistic pursuits.
Students apply their growing cultural knowledge to communicative tasks: cultural knowledge informs communicative ability and vice versa. Throughout the course, students hone their language skills across the three communicative modes: interpersonal, interpretive and presentational.
The interpersonal mode involves spontaneous two-way interaction and an active negotiation of meaning between two or more people, such as conversing face-to-face or exchanging written correspondence.
Students interpret a broad range of written and oral texts. Students develop their aural proficiency through exposure to contextualized language and written materials.
Students develop the speaking proficiency to be able to create a level-appropriate speech or report, produce a newscast or video, and narrate personal experiences and current events in a coherent fashion with comprehensible pronunciation and intonation.