The authors of CCALT started the project with one goal in mind: to develop an effective, easy-to-use assessment tool for listening comprehension of Mandarin Chinese. The authors also hoped that it would, in the long run, promote Chinese language learning.

Toward that end, every effort was made to ensure that CCALT would accurately test Chinese listening comprehension (validity) and generate proficiency ratings consistent with those derived from known and tested methods (reliability). The test items in CCALT were compiled by Chinese language instructors with ACTFL training, rated and calibrated by certified ACTFL raters, and extensively pilot-tested on target-group students. Moreover, multimedia was selected that situates questions within both their cultural contexts and demographic and test data was collected to help Chinese language teachers with making curriculum-related decisions.