The Middle School World Language Program is a proficiency-based model that uses the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) framework.
Making connections and comparisons to other languages and cultures also helps students better understand their own language and culture. Students build higher-level thinking skills through language learning; through rich communicative, cultural, and cross-curricular experiences balanced with a study of formal aspects of language, students come to express themselves and interact appropriately in authentic cross-cultural contexts.
At ASD we believe that the acquisition of a language requires a commitment to one language over an extended period of time. Changes between different/new languages are detrimental to learning. Student-initiated requests to change a language will not be considered. Parent-initiated requests which provide a clear rationale will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
How We Measure Proficiency Using ACTFL Guidelines
The term “heritage learner” is used to describe students who speak the target language at home. There are many levels within this term. As part of the transition to High School, 8th graders who are heritage French and Spanish speakers are placed based on their assessed proficiency in the language whether or not they had been enrolled in that language in Middle School. The objective of this placement is to appropriately place students in the course that would best suit their needs as learners. In some cases, this can mean that students are placed in Spanish/French Literature and Civilization, a course designed to meet the needs of students who have exceeded the proficiency level required for success in AP. This may mean that, while students will not be eligible to take the AP course, they will be supported if and when they choose to take the AP exam for that language.