New Jersey Department of Education

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New Jersey Student Learning Standards

World Languages

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Is there a high school world language graduation requirement?

Yes.  N.J.A.C. 6A:8-5.1 requires that all students in New Jersey earn at least five credits in world languages to graduate from high school.  Districts can and many do require more than the minimum of five credits of world language study as part of local graduation requirements.

2.  Are schools required to teach world languages?

Yes.  All districts are required to have K-12 programs that ensure students meet the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for World Languages.  The 2014 Standard for World Languages has identified proficiency-level and grade-level performance benchmarks for students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.  The introduction to the 2014 World Languages Standard provides guidance to districts as it relates to the types of programs and the time and intensity needed to meet the standard.  The document can be accessed here:

3.  What are the characteristics of a high-quality world language program? 

  • Well-articulated program- District programs must be aligned to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for World Languages and provide students with the opportunity to reach grade-level and proficiency-level benchmarks across three modes of communication: interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational. See handout here for more information.
  • Time and intensity- Research shows that programs that offer a minimum of 540 hours of articulated instruction in classes that meet at least three times a week throughout the academic year produce a majority of students who can speak at the novice-high proficiency level or higher.
  • Opportunities for interpersonal interaction- Students must be provided with opportunities to speak and interact with an advanced speaker of the target language (i.e., teacher) as they negotiate meaning to develop linguistic and cultural comprehension.  Some examples of interpersonal interaction include students engaging in conversations with the teacher of the target language to ask and answer questions, make requests, and express preferences while using appropriate gestures and intonation of the target language and culture(s).

4.  What languages can a district offer?  Is the district required to offer a specific language?

Districts may offer any language(s) they feel meets the needs and desires of community members to prepare students for 21st Century careers.  For example, a 2014 study predicted that French would become the world's most widely spoken language by 2050.  In addition, the study noted that Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, and Indonesian will dominate much of the business world followed by Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, and Russian.  In New Jersey, classical languages (Latin and Greek) and American Sign Language (ASL) may also be offered as a world language.

5.  What is a "Model Program" and where can I find more information about districts that are offering excellent world language programs?

World Languages Model Programs are endorsed by the New Jersey Department of Education in recognition of the strong need for administrators, classroom teachers, parents, and board members to see in action the vision of standards-based teaching and learning in world languages and to provide ready access to clear and reliable practices in second-language education. Schools selected as model program sites serve as regional resource centers for other districts in the state. Information about current model programs can be found here:

6.  What are dual-immersion programs?

Dual-immersion programs are ones that include native English-speaking students and native speakers of a world language.  The goals of dual-immersion programs are to develop bilingualism/biliteracy, academic achievement, and cross-cultural competencies for all students.  The target language and English are both used to teach academic content in dual-immersion programs.