Proficiency measures what learners can actually DO with language in real world situations, rather than the content covered in class. When language learners interact with individuals who speak the target language or found themselves in the country where the target language they’re studying is spoken, how would they get by? What could they do to communicate with the people who live there? Teaching and assessing for proficiency keeps the focus on the true goal of learning languages which is communication.
How is proficiency evaluated?
The American Council for the teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) has established a proficiency scale that articulates what learners can do at five broad levels: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Superior, and Distinguished. K-12 programs can realistically bring students to the Advanced level. Within each broad level, proficiency is broken down to Low, Mid, and High (ACTFL, 2012). DCPS measures proficiency through STAMP, ALIRA, and Integrated Performance Assessments.
At DCPS, the elementary program model offers language instruction from 45 (FLEX) to 90 (FLES) minutes per week in grades K-5. A number of schools also offer languages at the Pre-K level. Achievement of the targeted performance levels will be assessed using formative and assumptive integrated performance assessments (IPAs). It is recommended that students meet the below targets by the end of the course level.
Program models in middle and high school require at least 126 seat hours per school year. Achievement of the targeted performance levels will be assessed using formative and summative integrated performance assessments (IPAs), and the STAMP assessment in Grade 8 and Level 2. It is recommended that students meet the below targets by the end of the course level.
Classical Languages: Latin
Critical Languages: Arabic and Chinese
DCPS offers programming in both Chinese and Arabic language. The targets for these languages are slightly altered due to their complexity and difference from English language alphabet and structures.