Yet Another Change in the Language Department

Sujan Garapati The language department is changing in a big way, and here’s what you need to know. Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, there will be no honors language classes for all students at Latin. Already, some languages have fazed out honors language class, but in two years the complete overhaul will occur. A couple of days ago, I met with Ms. Hellenbrand and Ms. Landis, two teachers of the Latin language, to discuss this change. When asked why they were discontinuing honors language classes at Latin, Ms. Landis replied, “The language department is getting rid of honors language classes for a couple of reasons. One is being that these placements are decided in 8th grade, which is too early to tell whether a student is going to be on an honors track.” With honors classes, students are additionally supposed to be learning at a faster pace than non-honors students. This, as the language department believes, is wrong because placing a student in an honors class is saying they will learn faster when you really have little or no idea. The language department has already changed a lot in the last couple of years. Before, students would be placed in classes such as Honors Latin 3 or Spanish 4. Instead, we now have proficiency-based classes, such as Intermediate High, Advanced Mid, and Novice Low. These classes allow teachers to place students individually, instead of moving the class as a whole through the levels. Additionally, as Latin teacher Ms. Hellenbrand said to me, “It allows teachers to place students based on their skill level instead of just moving them up a level every year.” This means that students are placed at the level that most matches their proficiency instead of placing them in honors or non-honors classes. What does this mean to colleges, though? Ms. Landis replied, “Colleges will know that we [Latin] do not have honors classes and will instead look at how far you got through our proficiency-based classes. For example, if you got into the Latin language class Superior; colleges would see that you got into our school’s highest-level Latin class, which means that you clearly had a good grasp on the language.” This means that having no honors language classes will not affect how colleges look at our proficiency of a language. ]]>