Dear Dual Language Colleagues,Did you know that what we call our “dual language” world language courses in middle and high school matters? I did not.Last week I attended a session at the ATDLE Conference given by three university admission officers. The admissions officers shared that they think the numbering of the middle and high school “dual language” world language courses should be based on the language competency required for a course not when the course is taken.For example, a dual language middle school student’s proficiency in Spanish is not the same as a beginning Spanish 1 student who has never had Spanish at school and/or at home. The dual language student’s Spanish/French/Mandarin… competency is much, much higher. Therefore the admissions officers said we should not label the middle school DL world language courses “Spanish for Spanish Speakers 1” because by doing so we have now only given the students credit for one year of Spanish. They said that if the course was numbered based on the true competency of the dual language students and the high demands of their world language course, Spanish 3 for instance, 7th grade DL students could meet all three years of the a-g world language requirements in middle school. The presenters explained that a student is given credit for meeting all three years of the world language requirement by taking and passing a course that is “Spanish 3” or “Spanish for Spanish Speaker 3” but not by taking Spanish for Spanish Speakers 1.Some might worry that allowing 7th/8th graders to complete their world language a-g requirement in middle school might discourage them from continuing to take world language courses. The admissions officers, however, felt we might be doing DL students a disservice by mislabeling our courses. They said it would be like a middle school student taking calculus and only getting algebra credit. I too feel strongly that middle and high school students should continue to take target language courses but I also realize why the admission officers feel it’s important for students to receive credit based on the level of competency of a course. The presenters said that numbering our world language courses for DL students based on competency would not only show universities that the DL students have high levels of multilingual competence, it would also free up time for the DL students to take additional AP courses in other subjects if they wanted to.This past year we interviewed a panel of middle school students and asked about their plans in high school. Many stated they were interested in learning a third language in high school. Numbering our world language courses according to their true competency level would allow students do just that. They could meet their a-g requirement in middle school and take a 3rd language in high school.Please know that I am not an a-g high school expert and that I am sure a lot goes into numbering course. I did however want to pass on the information provided by three admissions officers (one UC, one CSU and one private non-profit) as something some of you might want to take into consideration; working of course with your districts and even local colleges before deciding to make any changes to world language course numbers!Below are links to two articles I thought might be of interest to some of you:The UK’s education system is failing to produce enough people with foreign-language skills to meet a growing need from business http://www.bbc.com/
news/education-27948049Oregon now has a Seal of Bilitearcy!Enjoy your long weekend!