By Lucas Gravitt
On April 23, several hundred world language students will gather at Centre College in Danville for the Kentucky World Language Association’s 2016 State Showcase and Competition.
A revised and updated version of the organization’s former Regional and State Foreign Language Festivals, the current event is modeled after best practices in world language assessments, which allows students to show what they can do with language.
The showcase portion of the day will involve students taking a variety of interpretive assessments, such as listening and reading. The presentational writing assessment is completed prior to the event and is proctored by the teacher. The scores determine a proficiency rating for each student – either novice, intermediate or advanced, with each category having three levels: low, middle, high. The proficiency ratings are based on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages proficiency scales.
For the competition, students create a project in art, construction model, costume, dance, dramatic monologue, film, realia or singing. Students give their presentation to a judge, who asks questions of the student in the target language about the project, hitting both presentational speaking as well as interpersonal communication. Scores are combined from all modes of communication, at which time students can be ranked first, second or third in the proficiency level and language.
To complete the students’ schedule during the event, there are a variety of cultural and language lessons offered, including such things as a Chinese tea ceremony, Russian language lessons, German fairytales and songs, Spanish folktales and more. Students also are able to interact with faculty and students at the institution.
The guidelines, scoring rubrics and registration form are available here. Email specific questions to Lydia Kohler, showcase director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost is $15 per student, which includes lunch and all materials on site. Registration deadline is March 25, with presentational writing pieces due to KWLA by April 8. We hope you will consider bringing your students so they can show what they can do with language!
Lucas Gravitt teaches German at Scott County High School and serves as the president-elect of the Kentucky World Language Association.