World Languages in High School

The SAS World Language program offers instruction in three different languages: Chinese (Mandarin, taught using simplified Chinese characters), French, and Spanish. In alignment with our K–12 program philosophy, we believe that the primary purpose of learning another language is to develop the ability to communicate effectively in real–life contexts. The goal of the World Language program, therefore, is to establish an understanding of the respective cultures and to develop language proficiency through a focus on communicative ability—in other words, a focus on what students are able to do with the language, beyond what they know about the language. Courses are taught in the target language beginning in all our Novice courses.

Interpersonal listening and speaking skills are a key component of our program and are the primary focus in our Novice and Intermediate courses, as these are the skills that are most important in the first stages of learning a language. In the Intermediate High and Advanced courses, while students continue to develop their interpersonal listening and speaking skills, increasing attention is given to the development and assessment of the interpretive skills (listening and reading), as well as presentational communication (speaking and writing).

Course names and design refer to the proficiency level being targeted by the end of each course (year–long or multi–year). It is necessary for students to reach the performance benchmarks before advancing to the next level because, as their language ability develops, their needs change, and, as such, instructional focus changes. The multi–year courses (e.g., Intermediate, Intermediate High) are designed to allow students to take the time they need to build greater confidence and consistency in their language abilities, while they experience new culturally–rich thematic units over a period of two to three years. Research and past practice have shown this to be the amount of time commonly required in order to achieve the performance targets indicated.

Students who have learned one of the three languages offered at SAS at home or as a second language in a target–language country will be assessed and may be advised to maintain the language on their own.

Two years of study of the same foreign language or the equivalent (e.g., Chinese/French/Spanish: Novice, Intermediate) proficiency is the minimum SAS graduation requirement. Since most colleges and universities include language study as an admission requirement, students are advised to attain at least an Intermediate–Mid level of proficiency. This level is generally acquired in three to four years of language study.


Seal of Biliteracy

Beginning with the graduating Class of 2019, the high school will offer the Seal of Biliteracy to qualified students. The Seal of Biliteracy serves to certify attainment of biliteracy for students and is awarded on high school diplomas. It is a formal statement of accomplishment and language proficiency, and it is awarded in the 31 US states that have already approved Seal of Biliteracy legislation as of February 1, 2018 (http:// sealofbiliteracy.org/). It will be awarded in the three languages that are taught at SAS: Chinese, French, and Spanish.

In order to earn a Seal of Biliteracy at SAS, students must demonstrate a minimum of Intermediate High proficiency in all four skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Proficiency will be gauged using school–determined standardized assessments. Families are responsible for paying any costs associated with taking these assessments. Students who are interested in pursuing the Seal of Biliteracy and who have completed the tenth grade may submit an application to the SAS Director of World Languages

World Languages Courses in 2018-19

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Course Descriptions

Novice

ID: 45040—Spanish
ID: 45050—French
ID: 45060—Chinese

Grade: 9–12 Length: Year
Credit: Language

This year–long course is for students who have little or no experience with the language. It provides them with the necessary skills to understand and create meaningful communication from early on in a supportive and rich environment. This course focuses on the development of listening and speaking through interpersonal communication, and the performance exit target is Novice–High.

Novice–High speakers can manage a number of uncomplicated communicative tasks in straightforward social situations. They can express personal meaning by relying heavily on learned phrases (memorized language) or recombinations of these, as well as respond to simple, direct questions or request for information.

The skills of writing, plus interpretive listening and reading, are also integrated into the course to the extent that they foster the development of students’ communicative ability as appropriate to the performance target.

Intermediate

ID: 45041 Spanish—Intermediate
ID: 45042 Spanish—Intermediate II
ID: 45043 Spanish—Intermediate III

ID: 45051 French—Intermediate
ID: 45052 French—Intermediate II
ID: 45053 French—Intermediate III

ID: 45061 Chinese—Intermediate
ID: 45062 Chinese—Intermediate II
ID: 45063 Chinese—Intermediate III

Grade: 9–12 Length: Year
Credit: Language

This multi–year course is for students who have reached at least a Novice–High level of performance in interpersonal listening and speaking. It is possible that students performing at the Novice–Mid level could be considered for admission with teacher recommendation.

With differentiation and new culturally rich thematic units each year, teachers engage and support students at whichever stage they are in the proficiency building process. This course focuses on interpersonal listening and speaking, and the performance exit target is Intermediate –Mid.

Intermediate–Mid speakers are able to successfully handle a variety of uncomplicated communicative tasks in straightforward social situations. They can express their own thoughts and maintain conversations by asking and answering a variety of questions, allowing them to exchange information about family, home, daily activities, interests, and personal preferences, as well as physical and social needs, such as food, shopping, and travel. This performance target is most commonly achieved over a period of two to three years.

The skills of writing*, plus interpretive listening and reading, are also integrated into the course to the extent that they foster the development of students’ communicative ability as appropriate to the performance target.

*Intermediate Chinese courses will also include development and assessment of presentational speaking skills.

All Intermediate courses require a recommendation from the student’s current language teacher. Students who are new to SAS will be assessed upon their arrival.

Intermediate High

ID: 45044 Spanish—Intermediate High
ID: 45045 Spanish—Intermediate High II
ID: 45046 Spanish—Intermediate High III

ID: 45054 French—Intermediate High
ID: 45055 French—Intermediate High II
ID: 45056 French—Intermediate High III

ID: 45064 Chinese—Intermediate High
ID: 45065 Chinese—Intermediate High II
ID: 45066 Chinese—Intermediate High III

Grade: 9–12 Length: Year Credit: Language

This multi–year course is for students who have reached an Intermediate–Mid level of performance in interpersonal listening and speaking.

With differentiation and new culturally rich thematic units each year, teachers engage and support students at whichever stage they are in the proficiency building process. While this course continues to emphasize interpersonal listening and speaking, interpretive listening and reading, and presentational writing*, are more formally developed and assessed. For French and Spanish the performance exit target for each of these skills is Intermediate High. For Chinese, while the performance exit target is Intermediate High in listening and speaking, the exit target for reading and writing is Intermediate Mid.

Intermediate–High speakers are able to successfully handle uncomplicated tasks and social situations requiring an exchange of information about their school, recreation, particular interests, and areas of competence. They also demonstrate an increasing ability to express their own ideas about some topics beyond themselves (current events/ issues, matters of public, and community interest), and to resolve problems they might encounter in their daily lives. They aim to narrate and describe in three major time frames—present, past, and future—and mostly in connected paragraphs. This performance target is most commonly achieved over a period of two to three years.

*Intermediate–High Chinese courses will also include development and assessment of presentational speaking skills

All Intermediate–High courses require a recommendation from the student’s current language teacher. Students who are new to SAS will be assessed upon their arrival.

Advanced

Advanced–level courses are for students who have reached at least an Intermediate–High performance level in interpersonal listening and speaking, interpretive listening and reading, and presentational writing. They should be able to express themselves orally and in writing in three major time frames—present, past, and future—and mostly in connected paragraphs. As well, they should be able to handle some topics beyond themselves (current events/issues, matters of public and community interest). These courses focus on all modes of communication— interpersonal, presentational, and interpretive and the performance target is at least Advanced Low for each.

Advanced–Low speakers are able to handle a variety of communicative tasks. They are able to participate in most informal and some formal conversations, including some topics related to current events, and matters of public and community interest. Advanced–Low writers can meet basic academic writing needs and compose texts of paragraph length and structure.

All advanced courses require a recommendation from the student’s current language teacher. On students’ transcripts, advanced courses are designated as being equivalent to an honors level course. Students who are new to SAS will be assessed upon their arrival.

Spanish: Advanced

ID: 45047 Grade: 9–12 Length: Year
Credit: Language
Prerequisite: Current teacher recommendation

Advanced Spanish is a one–year advanced– level course offered as an opportunity to further develop language skills. This course will continue to focus on spoken and written expression, including presentational speaking, while developing higher–level comprehension skills through culturally rich thematic units. It will also allow students to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Hispanic language and culture (products, practices, and perspectives). On students’ transcripts, advanced courses are designated as being equivalent to an honors level course.

Chinese: Advanced

ID: 45070 Grade: 9–12 Length: Year
Credit: Language
Prerequisite: Current teacher recommendation

Advanced Chinese is a one–year advanced– level course offered as an opportunity to further develop language skills. This course will continue to focus on spoken and written expression, including presentational speaking, while developing higher–level comprehension skills through culturally rich thematic units. It will also allow students to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Chinese language, history, and culture. On students’ transcripts, advanced courses are designated as being equivalent to an honors level course

AP Spanish Language

ID: 45029 Grade: 11–12 Length: Year
Credit: Language
Prerequisite: Demonstrated proficiency levels of Advanced Low or higher in all four skills.

This AP course is comparable to a fourth-semester college course in Spanish. The course prepares students to demonstrate their level of Spanish proficiency with a higher degree of accuracy and fluency across the three communicative modes: spoken and written interpersonal communication; audio, visual and audiovisual interpretive communication; and spoken and written presentational communication. Students will also hone their ability to comprehend and communicate in formal and informal contexts reflective of the richness of Hispanic language and cultures. Instructional materials and activities are carefully and strategically adapted from authentic sources to support the linguistic and cultural goals of the course. Students will be prepared for and strongly encouraged to sit for the AP exam in May.

AP French Language and Culture

ID: 45023 Grade: 10–12 Length: Year
Credit: Language
Prerequisite: Current teacher recommendation

Note: Beginning in 2019–20, students who have completed at least one year in the IntermediateHigh course will be able to select this course in twelfth grade without a teacher recommendation. A teacher recommendation will still be required to select this course in tenth and eleventh grade.

This AP course is comparable to a fourth-semester college course in French. The course prepares students to demonstrate their level of French proficiency with a higher degree of accuracy and fluency across the three communicative modes: spoken and written interpersonal communication; audio, visual and audiovisual interpretive communication; and spoken and written presentational communication. Students will also hone their ability to comprehend and communicate in formal and informal contexts reflective of the richness of Francophone language and cultures. Instructional materials and activities are carefully and strategically adapted from authentic sources to support the linguistic and cultural goals of the course. Students will be prepared for and strongly encouraged to sit for the AP exam in May.

AP Chinese Language and Culture

ID: 45025 Grade: 10–12 Length: Year
Credit: Language
Prerequisite: Current teacher recommendation

Note: Beginning in 2019–20, students who have completed at least one year in the IntermediateHigh course will be able to select this course in twelfth grade without a teacher recommendation. A teacher recommendation will still be required to select this course in tenth and eleventh grade.

AP Chinese is designed to be comparable to fourth semester university courses in Mandarin Chinese. The course prepares students to demonstrate their level of Chinese proficiency across the three communicative modes (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational) and the five goal areas (communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities). Students are provided with ongoing and varied opportunities to further develop their proficiencies across the full range of language skills within a cultural frame of reference. Materials and activities are adapted from authentic sources to support the linguistic and cultural goals of the course. Both contemporary and historical Chinese culture are explored. Students will be prepared for and strongly encouraged to sit for the AP exam in May.

AT Chinese Language: History

ID: 45025 Grade: 10–12 Length: Year
Credit: Language
Prerequisite: Current teacher recommendation

This inquiry and project–based course will provide students with the opportunity to gain deeper understanding of the significance of key historical periods in Chinese history, while developing their advanced Chinese language proficiency. The course is also designed for students to identify their interests in specific areas of Chinese history and culture and delve into the process of researching, analysing, and reevaluating existing perceptions or stereotypes, to draw their own evidence–based conclusions of the significance of some historical phenomena. Students will be expected to complete a comprehensive project related to their own areas of interest each semester. The course will include an extended essay and oral presentation based on their research to demonstrate the final learning outcomes. The course was collaboratively developed and endorsed by a professor at East China Normal University in Shanghai, China. The AT designation indicates a course is at university level, putting it at or above the level of a traditional AP course. The course requires rigorous study and emphasizes in–depth research. Like an AP course, this course has a grade point weighting of 0.5.