World (Foreign) Language study benefits all students. The study of another language leads to higher scores on standardized tests (reading, math, SAT), greater cognitive development in the areas of mental flexibility, creativity, divergent thinking and higher-order thinking skills, a broader English vocabulary, a better understanding of one’s own language and culture, and enhanced career opportunities.
The North Carolina Second Language Standard Course of Study from 2004 established competency goals and objectives directing the teaching and learning of foreign language, heritage language, and classical language learning in North Carolina. It was comprised of three Second Language curriculum sections: Modern Foreign Languages, Spanish for Native Speakers, and Latin. This document set high expectations for all students, supported extended sequences of language learning, and was based upon national standards for foreign and classical language learning.
The World Language Essential Standards, which were implemented starting in 2012-2013, recombined and expanded the curriculum sections into three program areas:
- Classical Language Programs (formerly Latin, but now expanded to include Ancient Greek and classical studies).
- Dual & Heritage Language Programs: Dual Language/Immersion, according to gradespans of K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12; and Heritage Language (formerly Spanish for Native Speakers, but now expanded to include any language being taught this way, such as Chinese for Native Speakers, French for Native Speakers, etc.).
- Modern Language Programs: Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES)/Early Start; Middle School; and High School Credit Courses Levels I-VIII, with details for alphabetic, logographic, and visual languages.
These documents set high expectations for all students, support extended sequences of language learning, and are based upon national standards for world language learning.
The North Carolina World Language Essential Standards (WLES) can be downloaded from http://www.ncpublicschools.org/curriculum/worldlanguages/scos/. The standards are also available on the WLES wiki at http://wlnces.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/, along with a number of other resources such as the Instructional Toolkit components and professional development materials.