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2020 CAS - Family and Community Guide for High 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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World Languages

The world languages standards in high school create a roadmap to guide Grade 9-12 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, comparing both the nature of language and the nature of culture with their own language and the one being learned and with 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:

  • Exchanging text messages with my friend to suggest an activity for the weekend.
  • Asking and answering questions and carrying on discussions related to various subjects (history, math, science, art, business, language, or literature).
  • Using knowledge from science and health classes to compare healthy eating recommendations using food pyramids or the equivalents from different countries.
  • Responding to simple questions based on graphs or visuals that provide information containing numbers or statistics.
  • Using authentic resources to plan a trip to countries where the target language is spoken.
  • Writing the sequence of events from a story either read or viewed.
  • Orally describing a simple process such as how to solve a math problem.


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 a series of connected sentences through spoken, written, or signed language in the Presentational Mode.

Throughout the Intermediate-Proficiency Ranges, You May Find Students:

  • Discussing information about career pathways and research on how knowing more than more language enhances career possibilities.
  • Begining to adjust language, behaviors, and messages to acknowledge audiences from different cultural backgrounds.
  • Developing or proposing solutions to issues and problems related to school, community, or world events (orally, signed or using a written document or multimedia tool).
  • Asking and answering questions and carrying on discussions related to various subjects (history, math, science, art, business, language, or literature).
  • Comparing how different time frames (present, past, future tenses) are expressed in the target language and their native language.
  • Describing the main themes and details on topics from other subjects and products of the targets cultures as presented on TV, radio, podcast, videos, news or live presentations.
  • Comparing attitudes, cultural perspectives, and/ or reactions to current events of global importance in countries where the target language is spoken.
  • Understanding the directions of a GPS to a familiar location.
  • Recognizing that significant differences in behaviors exist among cultures, using appropriate learned behaviors, and avoiding major social blunders when using the target language.


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:

  • Exchanging, supporting, and discussing personal opinions and individual perspectives with peers/and or speakers of the target language on a variety of topics dealing with contemporary or historical issues.
  • Explaining issues of public and community interest, including different viewpoints.
  • Writing a critical analysis of a film or novel from the target country where the language is spoken.
  • Interacting and negotiating to resolve an unexpected complication in a situation that is generally unfamiliar.
  • Researching an issue of global importance in order to provide insights from the perspective of the target cultures.
  • Adjusting language, behaviors, and messages to acknowledge audiences from different cultural backgrounds.
  • Delivering cohesive presentations on a variety of complex concrete topics related to community interests and some specialized fields.