Publication Date

Summer 2017

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Antony D. Norman (Director), Sam Evans, and Randall Capps

Degree Program

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


This case study provides a historical overview of foreign language development (especially Chinese) in the United States and the growing number of Confucius Institutes (CIs) established in the U.S through Hanban, China’s National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. This case study specifically captures the growth of the Western Kentucky University (WKU) CI from its inception in 2010. According to Hanban’s annual assessment reporting guidelines, since the conception of CIs sheer quantity of teachers and students has always been the primary focus. Therefore, the growth in the numbers of Hanban Chinese teachers and number of students enrolled in the Chinese language classes has been the primary metric for the success of the WKU CI with little evidence related to concrete standards such as those outlined in the World Language Program Review document.

As the CI programs continue to mature, factors to measure quality of delivery and impact of services have surfaced. This study explores these alternative quality indicators toward the goal of offering recommendations and options in which all stakeholders can more effectively measure success. Additionally, this study is unique in analyzing Kentucky student outcomes on the Youth Chinese Test (YCT) Level I as a possible metric for the quality of the WKU CI Chinese language and cultural program. Test results indicate that it might be a useful metric for students in middle or high school level;however, YCT Level I performance may not be representative of students’ learning of Chinese at the elementary school level.

The study concludes with recommendations regarding YCT testing improvement and suggestions to overcome the Hanban Chinese teachers’ self-reported classroom challenges in order for this measure to serve as possible defensible quality metrics for the WKU CI Chinese language program. It also provides recommendations regarding other potential quality measures of CI programs as a whole.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods