Wisconsin - Content Standards: World Languages
Wisconsin's Model Academic Standards for Foreign Languages were first published in 1997. They have changed local curriculum design and classroom instruction. Our work with the foreign language community has led to this first revision. The content standards remain unchanged, but we move from the original description of performance standards for elementary, middle, and high school students to a "four-step-model": beginning, developing, transitioning, and refining. These standards still describe what is possible to achieve in a K-12 program of foreign language instruction. Only when students begin to learn a foreign language in elementary grades will they be able to achieve the “refining” level of these standards. However, because at the beginning of the 21st century very few students in Wisconsin study foreign languages at the elementary level, describing four levels of performance will help districts set their own appropriate targets for a sequential program, whether it begins in elementary grades, middle school, or senior high. The most critical factor in developing higher levels of proficiency in a second language is time. These four levels describe what students can do in a second language when they begin in elementary school.