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Foreign Language

Standards for Grades Kindergarten, 3, 5, 8, 1st year high school study, 2nd year high school study, and 4th year high school study

Approved by the Nevada State Board of Education, December 4, 1999.

These standards offer a vision of excellence for K-12 foreign language education in Nevada. Language and communication are increasingly essential in today's changing society. The need for all learners to become competent in their ability to communicate with people of other countries and cultures is now more apparent due to instantaneous world-wide communication networks and an economy that is globally interconnected. Nevada students must be able to succeed in the global community of the 21st century.

Foreign languages should be offered as part of the core curriculum, beginning at an early age and continuing through Grade 12. Programs which emphasize the development of communication skills will require schools to create long-term programs where students are actively engaged in listening, speaking, reading and writing for real purposes in culturally authentic contexts. Students should graduate from high school able to converse, read and write in a second language and to understand cultural diversities. The main purpose of these standards is to provide guidance for school districts as they develop high quality foreign language programs throughout Nevada schools.

The content standards were officially adopted by the State Board of Education on July 24, 1997, and replaced the former foreign language regulations contained in Nevada Administrative Code, Chapter 389, Nevada Course of Study. Some revisions were made to those content standards, such as adding 9th and 10th grade (or first and second years of high school study) plus new performance standards; these were officially adopted on December 4, 1999 by the State Board. Each school district and private school in the state of Nevada will base its curriculum and assessments on these new regulations, and will assist teachers in developing unit topics and lessons. The Nevada Administrative Code, Chapter 389, is on the Nevada Legislature webpage: http://www.leg.state.nv.us. Copies can be obtained from the Nevada Department of Education, Standards, Curricula and Assessments Team, 700 E. 5th Street, Carson City, NV 89701-5096; 775-687-9186.

The Nevada educators, parents and business representatives who produced these standards agree with the following assumptions about language and culture:

  • All students can learn about different cultures and be successful language learners.

  • Studying another language and culture enhances one's personal education.

  • Connections can be made with other disciplines through the study of foreign languages.

  • Sequential, K-12 foreign language programs that are based on communicative competence will improve the abilities of our students to be successful and productive citizens.

  • K-12 foreign language programs should reflect the developmental nature of language acquisition.

  • Nevada's students should be held to the highest standards of communicative competence.

  • Nevada's foreign language teachers must be fluent in the target language, be knowledgeable about the target cultures, and be skilled in second language teaching strategies, assessment procedures, and use of technology.

  • Nevada's foreign language programs should reflect these content and performance standards as well as each district's curriculum, not the coverage of textbooks.

The foreign language standards are benchmarked at the following grades: Kindergarten, 3rd, 5th, 8th, 9th (or first year of high school study), 10th (or second year of high school study), and 12th (or fourth year of high school study). For each Content Standard in 8th grade, 1st, 2nd, and 4th year of high school study, the task forces developed Performance Standards with four proficiency levels: Exceeds Standard, Meets Standard, Approaches Standard, and Below Standard. Only the "Meets Standard" is contained in the officially adopted regulations.

Multiple entry points are included in the Standards because students begin their foreign language study at various stages throughout the K-12 system. The Standards are arranged so that students in a K-5 program can be expected to achieve the standards at three grade levels, i.e., kindergarten, 3rd and 5th grades. Students beginning their foreign language study in middle school are expected to achieve the same levels as the K-5 program and then progress further, as shown in the 8th grade benchmark. Similarly, all beginning high school students must achieve the same proficiency levels, appropriate for their age, and then progress to higher levels as they reach the end of high school. New benchmarks for 1st, 2nd, and 4th years of high school study were added by the June 1999 task force because of the need to identify specifically what is necessary for promotion from first year to second year, from second year to third year, and for satisfactory completion of at least four years of high school study. One reasons for these new benchmarks is that Nevada law allows students to satisfy their one-credit requirement for Arts/Humanities by taking a 3rd, 4th, or 5th year of foreign language study, hence the rigor required for the upper level courses.


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