US: National K - 12 Foreign Language Survey

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at
Sat Nov 15 15:16:32 UTC 2008

 Forwarded From: edling at

National K - 12 Foreign Language Survey

Funder: U.S. Department of Education, International Research and Studies Program

September 2006 - August 2009

The Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) conducts a national survey of
foreign language instruction in public and private elementary and
secondary schools every decade to provide an updated national and
regional portrait of foreign language instruction in the United
States. Working with Westat, a leader in survey research, we are
currently analyzing results from the third survey to be able to show
trends in foreign language education at three points in time (1987,
1997, 2008).

Survey questionnaires were mailed to a stratified random sample of
more than 5,000 elementary and secondary schools across the country in
October 2007. Data collection was completed in June 2008. The response
rate was 76%.

The survey was designed to help us understand, among other issues,
current patterns and shifts over time in these areas:

Foreign language enrollments

Number of schools offering foreign languages

Types of foreign language programs offered

Foreign language curricula and methodologies in use

Teacher qualifications and training

Effects of No Child Left Behind legislation on foreign language instruction

Survey data will be examined and presented according to various
factors that may affect language instruction, including these:

Type of school (public or private)

Location of school (urban, rural, or suburban)

Socioeconomic status of students

Percentage of minority students enrolled in the school

Geographical region (e.g., Northeast, Pacific Northwest)

The survey results will present national and regional data;
state-by-state data are not an outcome of this survey. Answers to the
following questions will also be presented in the final survey

How is students' language proficiency assessed?

Do teachers integrate national and/or state foreign language standards
into their instruction?

How much do teachers use the foreign language in the classroom?

The overarching theme in the analysis will be how the data can be used
to help our country increase and improve language teaching in
elementary and secondary schools over the next decade.

More information:


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at


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