8th to 9th Grade Transition Q&A

THE WORLD LANGUAGE DEPARTMENT Syosset Central School District

8th to 9th Grade Transition Q&A

1. What are my options for studying world language in 9th grade, if I am doing well in middle school world language?

Since learning a language requires many years of study, most students continue in French, Italian or Spanish all the way through 12th grade. This is the best option for building language proficiency. In addition to French, Italian and Spanish, we offer American Sign Language, Japanese, Latin and Russian at Syosset High School. Many students at the high school study two (and sometimes even three!) languages. Most students elect to take these languages in addition to French, Italian or Spanish. You can do this as a 9th grader, if you have time in your schedule.

2. What are my options if I have not been successful in middle school world language?

One option for students who struggle in world language is Exploring Latin, a course that includes learning about mythology along with vocabulary study and other literacy skills. Another option may be to take a level one course in ASL, Japanese, Latin or Russian. Switching from French, Italian or Spanish to a different language is usually not recommended and should be discussed with your guidance counselor or the World Language Coordinator. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn a language that interests you!

3. Would you explain the difference between honors and regular level?

The honors classes are a good fit for students who have a special interest in language learning. The pace is fast and the course is dense. The 9th grade honors curriculum covers double the amount of material compared to the regular class. Because of the fast pace, teachers do not spend a lot of class time reviewing material. Rather, honors students should expect to spend time studying and preparing for class independently. Another difference is that honors level classes are given a bonus point of +1 in calculating your weighted GPA, which translates to an increase of one step in your grade . For example, a grade of B+ is calculated as an A.

4. How much homework does each class get?

Learning a language requires effort, and doing work outside of class time is a part of that. Homework should be expected in both honors and regular level classes.

5. Can 9th grade students switch from honors to regular classes, and vice versa?

Generally, students stay in the same level throughout high school and do not switch from one level to another because the two programs are not compatible, in terms of the curriculum alignment and pacing. It may be possible to switch from honors to regular (and vice versa), but it can be disruptive to a student’s schedule. When in doubt, students should speak with their 8th grade teacher to select the most appropriate class. If a change needs to be made in 9th grade, students should speak with their guidance counselor and their teacher as early as possible.

6. How many credits in WL do students need to graduate from high school?

Most students in Syosset go beyond the minimum New York State graduation requirements and study World Language for all four years of high school.
World Language graduation requirements are: Regents Diploma: 1 credit, plus pass a Checkpoint A Exam Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation: 3 credits, plus pass a Checkpoint B Exam

7. What types of assessments does each class do?

Assessments are similar to those you experienced in middle school. This includes quizzes and tests, writing assignments, speaking activities, and reading. Language learning is cumulative, meaning each step forward depends on what you’ve learned before, so the level of difficulty increases a little bit at a time.

8. What is the advantage of taking honors?

Honors students reach high levels of proficiency over the years. The honors courses culminate in a college-level course in 12th grade, which gives students an opportunity to challenge themselves further. Additionally, more competitive colleges and universities look favorably on students taking the most challenging classes possible.

9. Will I be required to speak in the target language?

Of course! The only way to learn how to speak a language is by doing it. In all world language classes expect to spend a great deal of time speaking the language. Our goal is that all classes be conducted at least 90% in the target language. The more the language is used in class, the more you will learn.