World Languages

The study of world languages prepares students to be linguistically and culturally competent and to communicate, work and collaborate effectively with people of diverse backgrounds at home and abroad. Speaking the language of others is essential for understanding their culture, and perspectives and for the global competency  students need to be prepared for life and work in the 21st century.

Studies show that language learning improves cognitive development, develops transferable reading skills, reinforces other subjects, and develops cultural literacy and appreciation and understanding for diversity. Studies have also shown that students who learn a second language are better problems solvers and score higher on state standardized assessments, SAT and ACT tests.

The Minnesota Department of Education supports world language achievement for all learners by providing guidance and technical assistance on implementation of academic standards, current literacy best practices, multi-tiered systems of intervention, and world language policy administration.

Standards and Assessment 
There are no state standards for world languages in Minnesota, but school districts are required to develop their own standards. The Minnesota Department of Education provides a model that districts can use to develop local world language standards. School districts must use a locally selected assessment to determine if students have achieved standards in world languages.

Recognition and Awards Programs
World Language Proficiency Certificates are available to all students who achieve oral and written communicative competence in more than one language. The purpose of the certificate is to recognize, value and celebrate all students who achieve oral and written communicative competence in more than one language. Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.022, Elective Standards, defines the criteria for awarding the certificates to students.

Districts can award World Language Proficiency Certificates or Minnesota World Language Proficiency High Achievement Certificates to students who have demonstrated intermediate-low and higher ratings for reading, writing, listening and speaking on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) proficiency guidelines, using an approved validated assessment. View the guidelines on the ACTFL website.

Several language organizations sponsor programs that recognize students’ outstanding performance in world languages. The Minnesota Council on the Teaching of Languages and Cultures website provides links to these organizations.