NWCA Competes and Sweeps PSU Confucius Institute Speech/Talent Contest

This past Saturday, students from a number of Portland-area schools gathered at Portland State University’s Karl Miller Center for Business to compete in the Confucius Institute’s annual Speech and Talent Contest. Northwest Chinese Academy students in first through fifth grade, alumni, and even our Head of School, swept the competition and took top honors in three categories: a Mandarin Bee, a Mandarin Speech Contest, as well as a Chinese talent show.

First up was the Speech contest: fifth graders Ciena Harmon, Nicholas, Scarlett Stebbins and Ana Sofia Contreras represented current NWCA Students. Elliot Ma ‘17, a current student at the International School of Beaverton, participated as an alumnus, and our very own Head of School Martha Ortiz also participated in the Adult category.

Ciena Harmon opened the competition with a speech about her best friends, a topic Ana Sofia Contreras also spoke about. Ciena, speaking mile-a-minute Mandarin, set the tone for an impressive NWCA showing in the speech competition. Nicholas gave a passionate speech about Southern Song Dynasty poet Yang Wanli’s poem “舟过安仁”, describing two fishermen with child-like easy going personalities. To the surprise of much of the audience, our own Head of School competed in the speech competition, discussing her favorite chengyu, a Chinese four character idiom. Scarlett Stebbins talked about her hobbies.

Upstairs in the Mandarin Bee, 17 students showcased their Mandarin vocabulary, starting with simple words like numbers and colors before progressing to phrases and sentences. NWCA students represented more than half of those participating in the Mandarin Bee, and the final five students competing were all NWCA students. These five students’ level of Mandarin was so high that they exhausted all of the Mandarin words and phrases that the organizers had prepared for the bee. These students were then quizzed from high-level Mandarin textbooks, being asked to translate sentences that became longer and more descriptive as the competition progressed. In the end, there were two students, Summer Wu, and Alana Iglesias, who were both declared winners of the Mandarin Bee due to the fact that the organizers could not stump these girls with Mandarin sentences they did not know! Genevieve Kwong, who came in right behind them in third place in the Bee, also did particularly well.

The talent show featured a diverse lineup of acts, including singing, shadow puppetry, Chinese folk dancing, and one participant who sang, played piano, played trumpet, and did a gymnastics routine all in one act! Ciena Harmon sang a Chinese song, while Audrey Perkins and Ethaniel Travis performed Chinese ethnic minority folk dances that our Confucius Institute teacher intern, Xiaogui laoshi, had taught them.

At the awards ceremony, NWCA students took first place in all three categories of competition. As previously mentioned, Alana Iglesias and Summer Wu shared top prize in the Mandarin Bee. Audrey Perkins and Ethaniel Travis took first place in the talent show category, and Ciena Harmon was deemed the winner of the speech contest.

Placing second in their respective categories were Head of School Martha Ortiz, Nicholas, and Scarlett Stebbins in the speech competition and Ciena Harmon in the talent competition. Ana Sofia Contreras and Elliot Ma placed third in the speech competition, while Genevieve Kwong came in third in the Mandarin Bee.

Congratulations to all who participated and let’s repeat the sweep next year!

Thank you to Jingzi Zhao for your photography!

NWCA Performs at Lan Su Chinese Garden’s Chinese New Year Celebration

猪年大吉!zhū nián dàjí! 

Happy Year of the Pig!

Tuesday was 元宵节 (yuánxiāo jié), known in English as the Lunar Festival, signaling the end of Chinese New Year.  However, Before the New Year festivities wrapped up, our NWCA students had the chance to perform as part of the Lan Su Chinese Garden’s Chinese New Year celebration!

Our preschool, pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten classes performed together, singing the songs “New Year Gives Me Another Year”( 新年送给我们一岁),  the popular Chinese song “Meow Meow Meow like a cat” (你不说爱我我就喵喵喵) and a Mandarin rendition of “When We are Together”

In addition to the songs sung by our young students, our fourth and fifth grade students graced attendees with a dance medley consisting of the traditional dances for several of China’s Ethnic minorities (少数民族), of which China has more than 50! Thank you to NWCA parent Jingzi Zhao for these amazing photos of the performances!

NWCA 2016-2017 Test Results

Chinese Proficiency Testing: 

STAMP 4Se is a national exam we use to impartially evaluate our students against a larger cohort of Chinese immersion students. Students are tested from 2nd to 5th grade.

This test allows us to rate students’ language proficiency against the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

These charts show NWCA class average scores compared against the national average for the STAMP 4Se Assessment test (Mandarin).



STAMP Scale numbers 1-6 represent the following levels which can be mapped
to the ACTFL Standards:

1 = Novice-Low,  2 = Novice-Mid,  3 = Novice-High,  4 = Intermediate- Low,
5 = Intermediate-Mid,  6 = Intermediate-High

English & Math Proficiency Testing:

Smarter Balance is a test that measures our students against students in Oregon and other states on Common Core standards in math and English.  

Students who score Level 3 or 4 have met the standard of the grade level in that subject.  

Our students consistently outperform national and state averages for subject matter proficiency.

Science & Social Studies Proficiency Testing:

OAKS is an Oregon based standardized test that measures our students in the 5th grade in the subjects of Science and Social Studies.  

Students are given a score based on grade level and subject area, and is a pass/fail test assessed by Oregon Education Standards.

Our students consistently outperform the state averages for subject matter proficiency.