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Family and Community Guide for Middle School World Languages

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Working Together: To support families, communities, and teachers in realizing the goals of the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS), this guide provides an overview of the learning expectations for students studying world languages. This guide offers some learning experiences students may engage in at school that may also be supported at home.

Why Standards? Created by Coloradans for Colorado students, the Colorado Academic Standards provide a grade-by-grade road map to help ensure students are successful in college, careers, and life. The standards aim to improve what students learn and how they learn in 12 content areas while emphasizing critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, and communication as essential skills for life in the 21st century.

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Where can I learn more?

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World Languages (adopted 2018)

The world languages standards in the middle school years create a roadmap to guide Grade 6-8 students in the process of learning a new language and understanding diverse cultural perspectives, as well as developing insights into their language and culture at the appropriate developmental stage, The standards reflect a performance-based discipline which emphasizes communication skills (interpersonal speaking and writing; interpretive reading, listening, and viewing and presentational speaking and writing) in a new language to navigate real-life situations. Students use the newly acquired language while making connections with other academic disciplines and investigation and interaction of cultural practices and products to better understand multiple perspectives. These standards prepare students to participate more fully in the interconnected global community and the international marketplace.

Why are world language standards organized in language proficiency range levels? Language proficiency refers to the degree of skill with which a person can use a language to understand, speak, read, write, and listen in real-life situations. Colorado’s standards provide guidance for the introduction of a new language (novice-low) through the minimum proficiency range deemed postsecondary and workforce ready (advanced-low). Progression through levels of proficiency is influenced by program design such as grade levels, competency-based programs, time for language instruction, and immersion programs. Language programs in many schools districts have multiple entry points. Both the length and the type of program design impact both language acquisition and proficiency level for students.

Expectations for Novice-Proficiency Ranges Students:

  • Communicate in spontaneous spoken, written, or signed conversations on both very familiar and everyday topics, using a variety of practiced or memorized words, phrases, simple sentences, and questions in the Interpersonal Mode.
  • Identify the general topic and some basic information in both very familiar and everyday contexts by recognizing practiced or memorized words, phrases, and simple sentences in texts that are spoken, written or signed in the Interpretive Mode.
  • Present information on both very familiar and everyday topics using a variety of practiced or memorized words, phrases, and simple sentences through spoken, written or signed language in the Presentational Mode.

Throughout the Novice-Proficiency Ranges You May Find Students:

  • Communicating on a personal level with native speakers (face-to-face and/or via email, video chats, social media or shared video clips).
  • Role-playing simple situations from the target culture such as buying a snack, getting directions, ordering food at a restaurant, etc.
  • Reading signs and asking for or giving detailed directions to get from one place to another in order to get around in a city or area in the target country, especially if the words look like English words.
  • Singing or listening to a song in the target language from the target culture and comparing it to a song in their language and culture.
  • Learning math skills to convert American dollars to the currencies of other countries in order to understand the prices of meals, tickets, clothing, etc.
  • Creating a shopping list for a traditional meal prepared in the target culture.
  • Locating key information from announcements and messages connected to daily activities in the target culture.
  • Identifying how to get to the next level when playing a video game in the target language.


Expectations for Intermediate-Proficiency Ranges Students:

  • Participate in spontaneous spoken, written, or signed conversations on familiar topics, creating sentences and series of sentences to ask and answer a variety of questions in the Interpersonal Mode.
  • Understand the main idea and some pieces of information on familiar topics from sentences and a series of connected sentences within texts that are spoken, written, or signed in the Interpretive Mode.
  • Communicate information, make presentations, and express personal thoughts about familiar topics, using sentences and series of connected sentences through spoken, written, or signed language in the Presentational Mode.

Throughout the Intermediate-Proficiency Ranges You May Find Students:

  • Contributing to a conversation about a story or event identifying who, what, when, where or why.
  • Reading, listening to, viewing, or talking about age-appropriate school content such as social studies, sciences, the arts, physical education, and health.
  • Expanding vocabulary for working with school content through illustrated visuals (e.g., planets, anatomy, timelines, and maps).
  • Using technology to present examples of contemporary culture (such as music, the arts, technology, architecture, etc.) from countries where the target language is spoken.
  • Describing the main idea and significant details about cultural practices or products (found in online newspapers and magazines, websites, TV, radio, video, social media, and other print and online sources).
  • Participating in a conversation with a partner to identify the information needed to plan a trip or to learn about a service project.
  • Comparing and contrasting different mapping apps with partners in an international online partner school.
  • Interacting with others to ask for clarification by asking specific questions.

Expectations for Advanced-Proficiency Ranges Students:

  • Maintain spontaneous spoken, written, or signed conversations and discussions across various time frames on familiar, as well as unfamiliar, concrete topics, using a series of connected sentences and probing questions in the Interpersonal Mode.
  • Understand the main message and supporting details on a wide variety of familiar and general interest topics across various time frames from complex, organized texts that are spoken, written, or signed in the Interpretive Mode.
  • Deliver sophisticated and articulate presentations on a wide range of global issues and highly abstract concepts, fully adapting to the cultural context of the audience, using spoken, written, or signed language in the Presentational Mode.

Throughout the Advanced-Proficiency Ranges You May Find Students:

  • Comparing and contrasting life in different locations and at different times.
  • Stating a viewpoint with supporting evidence on some concrete academic, social, and professional topics of interest, using paragraphs across major time frames.
  • Finding and using the information for practical purposes.
  • Reading a movie review to choose what to watch.
  • Understanding a video conferencing session where participants are talking about upcoming projects.
  • Explaining how a variety of products and practices of public and personal interest are related to cultural perspective in one’s own cultures and other cultures.
  • Responding to a social media post in a culturally appropriate manner.
  • Analyzing and presenting information on a topic presented in another class.