SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education announced today that Illinois has adopted new learning standards for world languages. The Illinois Learning Standards for world languages promote cultural understanding, as well as language proficiency.
The updated learning standards guide teachers and students through five levels of language proficiency from novice to distinguished. Each level includes benchmarks for students to demonstrate their ability to use the language in a global and multicultural context and within other academic disciplines. The new standards also emphasize multiple modes of communication and interaction, from speaking, writing, and signing, to analyzing and presenting.
“The Illinois State Board of Education supports biliteracy, not only to prepare students to thrive in an increasingly global society and economy, but also to build stronger and more connected communities here at home,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “Exploring and interacting with different cultures and perspectives strengthens students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills.”
The standards prepare students to earn the Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy. School districts that participate in the State Seal of Biliteracy recognize graduating high school students who have attained a high level of proficiency in one or more languages in addition to English. Illinois was the fourth state in the country to adopt the State Seal of Biliteracy and remains a national leader in the program, with more than 5,700 students earning the Seal in 2018.
The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules approved the standards for world languages in February. Teachers can adapt their curricula and lesson plans to the new standards for the 2019-20 school year.
The American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages created the standards in collaboration with 17 organizations representing a variety of different world languages. The new Illinois Learning Standards for world languages replace the Illinois Learning Standards for foreign languages, which Illinois adopted in 1997.
Illinois has adopted statewide learning standards in 13 different subjects. The Illinois Learning Standards establish clear and coherent expectations for what all students should know and be able to do at each grade level as they progress in their learning in order to graduate prepared for the rigors of college and career.