A Current Hot Topic in Michigan: World Languages and High School Graduation

GR Coffee Breaks2nd Tuesday of the Month10:30 am

From December’s Parent Coffee Break

“What are the requirements [for foreign language to graduate]? Can middle school credit count in place of high school credit?”

world with flags istock

From the Michigan Department of Education (MDE):

students entering the 3rd grade in 2006 (graduating class of 2016) will need to complete two credits of a language other than English in grades 9-12; OR an equivalent learning experience in grades K-12 prior to graduation.  

The next question, naturally, is what does that “equivalent learning experience” mean? The MDE  has a 107 page FAQ (frequently asked questions) document on their website along with the complete graduation expectations document. The portions pertaining to World Languages is pasted below for accuracy.

 Q: How can students meet the World Language requirement? 

A: Students can meet the requirement in one of three ways:

  • Completing two credits at the high school level in the same world language.
  • Completing formal instruction in the same world language provided by their school district over the course of the K-8 experience or a combination of a K-8 experience and 9-12 experience.
  • Through learning beyond the K-12 classroom: formal study abroad, study abroad programs, college coursework, home or heritage languages, online courses, or other life experiences.

Q: What is an “equivalent learning experience in grades K-12″?

A: Students are required to complete two credits of the same world language prior to graduation or demonstrate a two-year equivalent proficiency; that is, Novice High proficiency on the ACTFL Proficiency Scale.
Q: What characterizes Novice High proficiency?

A: The Novice High proficiency level is characterized by the ability to function in highly predictable situations using words, phrases, and complete sentences. At the Novice High level, students can What the Michigan Merit Curriculum Law Says
Sec. 1278a(2)Beginning with pupils entering grade 3 in 2006, the board of a school district or board of directors of a public school academy shall not award a high school diploma to a pupil unless the pupil has successfully completed during grades 9 to 12 at least 2 credits, as determined by the Michigan Department of Education, in a language other than English, or the pupil has successfully completed at any time during grades K to 12 course work or other learning experiences that are substantially equivalent to 2 credits in a language other than English, based on guidelines developed by the department.

Schools must consider American Sign Language (ASL) to be a language other than English. A student may meet all or part of 102 communicate with people who are accustomed to interacting with non-native speakers. Students can communicate in a variety of contexts relating primarily to oneself, family, friends, home, neighborhood, community, and country and carry out a variety of language functions including socializing, identifying and describing, exchanging information and exchanging opinions. For a more detailed list of contexts and functions appropriate to the Novice High level, see the Michigan World Language Standards and Benchmarks.
Q. How is Novice High equivalency demonstrated? 

A: Students, who fulfill the requirement by successfully completing two credits in the same world language at the high school level, do not need to demonstrate Novice High equivalency through any formal assessment. Students who intend to fulfill the requirement by completing formal instruction in the same world language in a K-8 experience will need to be assessed prior to their entrance into high school. The
assessment will need to determine a proficiency level.

  • If a student demonstrates at least Novice High proficiency, he/she has completed the equivalent of the two credit requirement.
  • If a student demonstrates Novice Mid proficiency (the equivalent of one credit), he/she will need to complete a second credit at the high school level.
  • If a student does not demonstrate at least Novice Mid proficiency, he/she will need to complete two credits at the high school level.

Students who intend to fulfill the requirement through learning beyond the K-12 classroom (formal study abroad, study abroad programs, college coursework, home or heritage languages, online courses, or other life experiences) will need to provide formal documentation of equivalent proficiency in the language being used to fulfill the requirement.

Paste this link in to your browser to see the entire FAQ document:   http://www.mi.gov/documents/mde/FAQ_-_Entire_Document_12.07_217841_7.pdf

or visit  http://www.mi.gov/mde/0,1607,7-140-38924—,00.html and click on Complete FAQ

 

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