On March 24, several hundred world language students will gather at the new Cathy and Don Jacobs Building at the University of Kentucky for the Kentucky World Language Association’s (KWLA) 2018 State Showcase and Competition.
This event is modeled after best practices in world language assessments, which allow students to show what they can do with language. It is open to late elementary, middle and high school students.
The showcase portion of the day will involve students being rated according to the proficiency levels from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Each participant will take a listening and reading assessment and an interpersonal speaking assessment the day of the showcase. The presentational writing assessment is completed prior to the event and is assessed by their classroom teacher. Each student will receive an overall score based on their performance in their language of study that day.
Students who participate in this event get to see how well they do speaking their language of study with a person other than their teacher. Virtually all students who attend want to return the following year to see how they have grown in their language study.
For the competition, students create a project, which may take shape as an art piece, food samples, a construction model, a costume, a dance, a dramatic monologue, a film, a poem recitation or a song. Students do research ahead of time on a subject they love related to the target culture of their language of study to create the project.
During the interpersonal interview, the student presents their project to a judge, who asks questions of the student in the target language. Students can receive awards for first, second and third place projects among Novice High, Intermediate Low, Intermediate Mid+ and Native Speaker categories.
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 and American Sign Language lessons, German fairytales and songs, Spanish folktales and more. Students are able to interact with faculty and students at the host institution, as well as learn how their language of study can enhance their future career.
The showcase also includes local businesses and organizations for which world language students are a vital part of their future workforce.
The guidelines, scoring rubrics and registration form are available on the KWLA website. Also, new this year is a brief video explaining what to expect from the showcase experience. Email questions to Lydia Kohler, showcase director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cost of the event is $12 per student to cover administrative fees and trophies. Registration deadline is midnight March 2, at midnight, with graded presentational writing pieces due to KWLA by March 16.
Lydia Kohler teaches French at George Rogers Clark High School (Clark County) and serves as the showcase director at the Kentucky World Language Association, and as the president of the Kentucky chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French.