Washington State: High-school language classes now count for UW credit

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Mon Mar 2 14:02:44 UTC 2009

High-school language classes now count for UW credit

By Rachel Solomon
March 2, 2009ShareThis

A chorus of “ayes” from a room in Mary Gates Hall Friday heralded a
shift in university policy regarding language requirements. At its
biweekly meeting Feb. 27, the Faculty Council on Academic Standards
(FCAS) unanimously approved a proposal that will offer students an
alternate way to meet the foreign language requirement for the College
of Arts and Sciences. “Basically, there’s an admission requirement for
students to complete two years [of a foreign language] before coming
in,” said FCAS chair John Schaufelberger.

Once students arrive at the UW, they are then required to either pass
a proficiency test or take a language through the third quarter.
Beginning autumn 2009, three years of a language in high school will
satisfy the requirement. “The proposal changed from its earlier
stages,” said Kevin Mihata, assistant dean of educational programs for
the College of Arts and Sciences. The plan originally mandated that
students earn a 3.0 GPA in high-school language classes; it now
accepts any passing grade. UW Director of Admissions Philip Ballinger
mentioned that close to 80 percent of UW students have taken three
years of a language before entering the college, so the change is
essentially seen as pragmatic.

“Now we’re connecting something done in high school with a graduation
requirement at the university,” Ballinger said, explaining that the
policy may encourage students to take a third year of a language in
high school. “A lot would prefer to do it that way.” The proposal was
the final item on the council’s agenda and was met with 20 minutes of
debate from the 12 voting members in attendance. It passed through the
Subcommittee on Academic Programs last week after quite a bit of
discussion as well. Some council members wondered how passing a
103-level class at the university is comparable to three years of
high-school language courses, questioning how to measure equivalency
between the two.

This new policy may hurt business at the Office of Educational
Assessment, which administers language proficiency tests. FCAS member
John Sahr said that up to $40,000 could be lost. However, the proposal
was ultimately passed without objections.  There is one last signature
the policy must obtain before it is made final. “Now it goes to the
president,” Schaufelberger said, “which he will approve.”


N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to
its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner
or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who
disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal. (H. Schiffman, Moderator)

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list