A steady move toward a world language program review is underway as universal foreign language come to some schools. It’s a move toward not only teaching languages, but also encouraging fluency.
In Kentucky the state board of education voted to proceed with a world language program review for high schools. They also voted to direct elementary and middle schools to begin planning for competency in languages
Within the next few years, all public schools will be teaching foreign languages and preparing them for global competency. The Kentucky Department of Education defines global competency as a combination of international awareness, appreciation of cultural diversity, proficiency in languages and competitive skills.
School districts, especially those in rural areas, will have to grapple with finding the resources to make that happen, according to an area Spanish teacher who was involved in developing standards for the program review.
A program review is an analysis by a district of the ways it teaches certain subjects. Schools collect in-depth data including curriculum, student work samples and test results and submit them to the state.
The state board called for implementing the review process in high schools in the 2014-2015 year. High school would move to full accountability the following year. Elementary and middle schools would start planning for a language and global competency program and would implement reviews in 2016-2017.
The ultimate goal is to start language instruction early so that by high school students will be ready to achieve true proficiency, said Catherine Del Valle, a Spanish teacher at Greenup County High School and interim vice president of the Kentucky World Language Association.
By the time they graduate from high school students should be able to communicate effectively in a foreign language, according to Del Valle. “Because what’s the use of studying a language if they can’t use it to communicate,”?she said.