Department of Defense Education Activity

World Language Programs: FAQs

Is the DoDEA World Languages Program aligned to DoDEA’s Blueprint for Continuous Improvement?

The DoDEA World Languages program is aligned with DoDEA’s Blueprint for Continuous Improvement (April 2021 Revision), Goal 1: Student Excellence, which states that DoDEA educational programs will “challenge and prepare each student to maximize his or her academic growth and well-being for college, career, and life”. 

More specifically, the DoDEA World Languages program supports Goal 1’s Strategic Initiative 1.1: Data-Informed Instruction, which requires that DoDEA provide students with “instruction that is aligned to rigorous standards and that is differentiated based on an appropriate assessment system and the needs of individual learners”. 

The DoDEA World Languages Program courses and instructional materials and resources are aligned and correlated to the national World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages and the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements for Intercultural Communication

Additionally, DoDEA middle and high school students taking selected world language credit-bearing language and level courses participate in the annual administration of the ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL), an assessment of standards-based language learning across the three modes of communication (Interpersonal, Presentational, and Interpretive) as defined by the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages. The AAPPL is part of the DoDEA-CAS assessment system and yields student language proficiency and performance data on how DoDEA’s world language students make progress towards a language of study. 

The DoDEA World Languages program also supports the Blueprint’s Goal 1’s Strategic Initiative 1.2: Successful Transition to College and Career which requires that DoDEA develops “comprehensive programs to support students throughout their primary and secondary education for their transition into college and career.” 

By offering a variety of world languages and levels, which include both exploratory and credit-bearing options at the middle school level, but that also articulate with upper level, Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) world language courses in high school, the DoDEA World Languages Program provides opportunities to DoDEA students that want to add to their college or career portfolios the advantage of being proficient in more than one language. Learners who add another language and culture to their preparation are not only college- and career-ready, but are also “world-ready”—that is, prepared to add the necessary knowledge, skills, and dispositions to their résumés for entering postsecondary study or a career.

Is the DoDEA World Languages Program a Standards-Based Program?

The DoDEA Middle and High School World Language program courses are all aligned to the national (US) World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages, which are the world language standards adopted by DoDEA. The World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages create a roadmap to guide learners to develop competence to communicate effectively and interact with cultural understanding. “World-Readiness” signals that the Standards focus on the literacy developed and the real-world applications.

Additionally, DoDEA world language instruction is aligned to the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements for Intercultural Communication. The Can-Do Statements provide examples and scenarios that show how learners can use the target language and knowledge of culture to demonstrate their Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC).

A requirement for all world language instructional materials and resources procured for the DoDEA World Language program is that the materials must be aligned to the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages and the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements for Intercultural Communication.

The AAPPL, the DoDEA-CAS assessment system that yields student language proficiency and performance data on how DoDEA’s world language students are progressing towards communicative proficiency in a language of study, assesses language learning across the three modes of communication (Interpersonal, Presentational, and Interpretive) as defined by the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages Standards.

What is Language Proficiency?

Proficiency is defined as a person’s ability to understand and communicate in a language in a spontaneous and non-rehearsed context in four modalities: listening, reading, speaking, and writing. The American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), uses five levels of proficiency, ranging from novice to distinguished. The novice, intermediate, and advanced levels are further subdivided into three stages: low, mid, and high. 

The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines provide descriptions of what language learners can do with the language in the four modalities at each proficiency level. DoDEA has targeted proficiency levels for each world language course. For more information, please see DoDEA’s College and Career Ready Standards for World Languages document.

Another way to describe communicative proficiency is how learners use and interact with language in real-world contexts. The American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) describes three modes of communication: Interpretive, Interpersonal and Presentational: 

While using language in the Interpretive Communication Mode, students demonstrate comprehension of written, oral, or visual communication on a variety of topics without any active negotiation of meaning. In Interpersonal Communication Mode, students engage in two-way oral or written communication with active negotiation of meaning to share information, feelings, and opinions. Students using language in the Presentational Communication Mode, present spoken or written information that is prepared for an audience. 

The AAPPL, the DoDEA-CAS assessment system that yields student language proficiency and performance data on how world language students are progressing towards communicative proficiency in a language of study, assesses and reports language learning across the three modes of communication (Interpersonal, Presentational, and Interpretive).

What Is the DoDEA World Language Program at the Middle School Level?

The DoDEA Middle School World Language Program has a variety of world language courses that fit the interests of students who want to either explore or learn a world language and the culture(s) of those who speak that language. Which world languages, levels or specific courses are offered by a school are determined locally. Guardians or parents of middle school students interested in these courses should consult their school’s guidance counselors or administrators.

World language courses offered in a middle school and designated with the letter “A”(9 week courses) or the letter “B” (semester courses) after the course name on the student’s transcript (e.g. Spanish I A, French I B, etc.)are exploratory courses. These courses are designed to introduce students in grades 6, 7 and 8 to the four basic language skill areas of the target language of study: speaking, listening, reading and writing, and to the culture(s) of the speakers of that target language. World language courses designated “A” or “B” are not high school credit-bearing courses. 

Middle school students in grades 7 or 8 who want to start world language study but are hesitant to participate in the rigor of a high school course, may enroll in a specially designed year-long course for the middle school student. These courses are noted with the letter “M” after the course name on the student’s transcript (e.g. Spanish I M, French II M, etc.). World language courses designated “M” are not high school credit-bearing courses.
 
Middle school students also have the option of taking world language courses for high school credit. These year-long courses follow the same curriculum, pacing, and end-of-course expectations as the courses taught in DoDEA high schools. World language middle school level courses offering high school credit are designated with the letter “C” after the course name on the student’s transcript (e.g. Spanish I C, French II C, etc.)

What Is the DoDEA World Language Program at the High School Level?

The DoDEA High School World Language Program has a variety of world language courses that fit the interests of students who want to learn a world language and the culture(s) of those who speak that language. By offering the study of world languages at a variety of proficiency levels, which include offerings of World Language Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses in high school, the DoDEA World Languages Program offers opportunities to DoDEA students that want to add to their college or career portfolios the advantage of being proficient in more than one language.

World language courses offered in a high school and designated the name of the language and the communicative proficiency level targeted for that course (example: Chinese Mandarin I, Chinese Mandarin II, etc.) DoDEA World Language Program’s high school courses are designed to align to the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages and the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements for Intercultural Communication. The instruction in these courses is focused on teaching communicative proficiency in the four language skill areas of the target language of study: speaking, listening, reading and writing, and learning about the culture(s) products and practices of the speakers of that target language. 

Which world languages, levels or specific courses are offered by a school are determined locally. Guardians or parents of high school students interested in these courses should consult their school’s guidance counselors or administrators. All world language courses offered at high school level are credit-bearing courses, and can be applied to fulfill the DoDEA world language requirement of two credits in world language studies for high school graduation.

How Many Years Should a Student Study a World Language?

DoDEA schools may offer a variety of world languages and levels, which include both exploratory and credit-bearing options at the middle school level, but that also articulate with upper level, AP and IB world language courses in high school. Therefore, DoDEA schools offer the opportunities to engage in an extended sequence of studies of a world language that will ultimately produce functional communicative proficiency in that language.

DoDEA requires two credits of the same language in order to graduate from high school. Some colleges or universities’ admissions require a foreign language, but most strongly recommend that students have at least two years of the same foreign language in high school. Many colleges and universities encourage even longer world language studies sequences of four or more years of study of the same language. A strong world language course sequence in the same language of study also shows to university recruiters and admission counselors that a student is capable of engaging in academic rigor and may help an applicant's chances of being accepted. 

Additionally, students who acquire communicative proficiency in another language by engaging in an extended world language course sequence will not only be college- and career- ready, but are also “world-ready”—that is, prepared to enter either postsecondary studies or a pursue a fulfilling career in the US or in other countries since many jobs require fluency in more than one language.

Does DoDEA Recognize American Sign Language (ASL) as a World Language?

DoDEA does not offer instruction in ASL. However, evidence of ASL credits earned outside of DoDEA as world language credit-bearing courses will be applied to fulfill the two-credit world language requirement for high school graduation. 

Does DoDEA Recognize Classical Languages (Latin and Classical Greek) as World Languages?

DoDEA does not currently offer instruction in Classical Languages. However, evidence of Latin or Classical Greek coursework earned outside of DoDEA as world language credit-bearing courses will be applied to fulfill the two-credit world language requirement for high school graduation. 


Contact Information:

DoDEA World Language Information Systems Specialists
4800 Mark Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22350-1400
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