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Overview of Changes in the 2009 World Languages Standards

Principles of the Standards Review Process

The Colorado Model Content Standards revision process was informed by these guiding principles:

  • Begin with the end in mind; define what prepared graduates need to be successful using 21st century skills in our global economy.
  • Align K-12 standards with early childhood expectations and higher education.
  • Change is necessary.
  • Standards will be deliberately designed for clarity, rigor, and coherence.
  • There will be fewer, higher, and clearer standards.
  • Standards will be actionable.

Notable Changes to the Colorado Model Content Standards in World Languages

The most evident change to the Colorado standards is replacing grade-band standards (K-4, 5-8, and 9-12) with range level expectations. These are explained here in addition to other changes that are apparent upon comparison between the current world languages standards and the proposed changes.

  1. World languages versus foreign language. The current Colorado Model Content Standards in foreign language have been revised and renamed World Languages. The World Languages Subcommittee explains that world languages is a term that connotes an international, focus encouraging students to become competitive citizens of the world.
  2. Impact of standards articulation by grade range. The original Colorado Model Content Standards for world languages were designed to provide districts with benchmarks of learning for grades 4, 8, and 12. The standards revision subcommittee was charged with providing more of a specific learning trajectory of concepts and skills across range levels, from early school readiness to postsecondary preparedness. Articulating standards by range level from novice-low to intermediate-mid in each area affords greater specificity (clearer standards) in describing the learning path across levels (higher standards), while focusing on a few key ideas at each grade level (fewer standards).
  3. Standards are written for mastery. The proposed revisions to standards define mastery of concepts and skills. Mastery means that a student has facility with a skill or concept in multiple contexts. This is not an indication that instruction on a grade level expectation begins and only occurs at that grade level. Maintenance of previously mastered concepts and skills and scaffolding for future learning are the domains of curriculum and instruction, not standards.
  4. Intentional integration of technology use. The proposed revisions to standards encourage using appropriate technology to allow students access to concepts and skills in ways that mirror the 21st century workplace.
  5. Intentional opportunities for integration. The subcommittees in world languages worked within content area and also within multi-content area grade level groups. The purpose was to create a viable document for P-12 to provide a long-range, sequential program. In addition, the subcommittees were focused on the consolidation of standards.

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