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NCSSFL and ACTFL Announce Publication of Can-Do Statements

CONTACT: Marty Abbott
(703) 894-2900

Alexandria, VA — The National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL) and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) collaborated to create a new document to help language learners know “how” and “how well” they should be able to use language in an instructional setting (classroom, online, or independent learning) across five major levels (Novice through Distinguished). For language educators the document provides a clear guide for designing curriculum and units of instruction, for creating classroom assessments of performance, and for teaching daily lessons. For both, the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements are a roadmap for the language learning journey.

The new document builds on NCSSFL’s LinguaFolio®, which pioneered the use of statements starting with “I can …” to describe how learners demonstrate use of language as they move along the continuum to higher levels of proficiency.  The collaboration clearly and definitively described the performance shown at each of eleven proficiency sub-levels from Novice Low through Distinguished, in each mode or type of communication:  Interpersonal Communication, Presentational (both writing and speaking), and Interpretive (both reading and listening).  The linking of LinguaFolio® with the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines aligns language learning with national and international standards for language competence, emphasizing that language learning needs to focus on communication and functional language in a cultural context.

Desa Dawson, President of NCSSFL, said, “Bridging the Standards with the Proficiency and Performance Guidelines, the Can-Do Statements make language learning transparent for everyone. Now, learners and learning facilitators have a user-friendly guide to help them set goals and chart progress in the development of functional language skills.”

“The new NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do publication is a valuable tool both for the teacher in preparing effective instruction and for the student in establishing personal learning targets. Congratulations to both the NCSSFL and ACTFL teams for creating a document that will definitely impact student learning,” Toni Theisen, ACTFL President, remarked.

Download the complete document at: http://www.actfl.org/publications/guidelines-and-manuals/ncssfl-actfl-can-do-statements. Access an online version at: http://www.actfl.org/global_statements. Print copies will also be available for purchase at the ACTFL online store.

NCSSFL and ACTFL acknowledge the generous contributions of the following:

  • Project Directors: Jacqueline Bott Van Houten (NCSSFL) and Elvira Swender (ACTFL)
  • Contributing authors and editors: Adriana Melnyk Brandt, Ruta Couet, Helga Fasciano, Anne Marie Gunter, Cynthia Martin, Ali Moeller, Debbie Robinson, and Maureen Weissenrieder
  • Initial collaborators: Maria Antonia Cowles, Gregory Fulkerson, Robert Vicars, and Shuhan Wang
  • Project coordinator: Natalie Boivin

The National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL) is an organization of education agency personnel across the United States who have the responsibility of foreign/world language education at the state level.  The mission of NCSSFL is to provide leadership in facilitating and promoting policies and practices that support language learning. Additionally, the NCSSFL works to affect state and national policy and practice in language education by identifying and advocating positions on key issues in support of the vision of the organization; collaborating with other organizations to advance and support quality teaching, learning and leadership; communicating best practices across international boundaries; and fostering and promoting the establishment, maintenance, and effectiveness of state-level positions in languages. The membership of the NCSSFL envisions a nation in which all individuals will be prepared for the demands of an interdependent world by attaining competence in more than one language and culture.

About ACTFL:
The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) is the national association for language education professionals from all levels of instruction and representing all languages. With more than 12,500 active members, ACTFL provides innovative professional development opportunities, acclaimed training and certification programs, and widely cited books, publications, scholarly journals, research studies and language education resources, including Foreign Language Annals and The Language Educator magazine. As part of its mission and vision, the organization provides guidance to the profession and to the general public regarding issues, policies, and best practices related to the teaching and learning of languages and cultures. ACTFL is a leading national voice among language educators and administrators and is guided by a responsibility to set standards and expectations that will result in high quality language programs.

Thursday, January 2, 2014