How will I share the AAPPL results with parents?

By Francesco L. Fratto, Director of World Languages, Language Immersion, & English as a New Language, LTI AAPPL Educator Panel

Francesco L Fratto

The Herricks Public Schools (NY) believes that monolingualism can be cured! Our small yet powerful district offers Chinese, French, Italian, and Spanish; in addition, we have a K-12 Spanish immersion program. The questions that parents often asked were how well can they speak Spanish and are they making progress? Academically our students do very well based on national, state, and local assessments; as educators we also knew that they were making progress with the Spanish language, but we needed more! AAPPL assisted us in answering the questions parents had! We tested all language immersion students grades three and above with the AAPPL Interpersonal Listening and Speaking. With very little to no preparation, our students responded appropriately to the online questions; the adults were more anxious than students! The friendly student format helped ease tensions. The results came in online and then I asked myself how will I share the results with parents?! Gregg Roberts, the architect of Utah’s Dual Language Immersion Model, shared what Kerrie Neu, Dual Language Specialist for the Granite School District (Utah), does in her district by offering parents a meeting to discuss proficiency and language acquisition. Out of her great idea, I scheduled our first Parent Proficiency Night; I too shared the process of learning a language, but I went above and beyond by including the data from the Interpersonal Listening and Speaking. We used Utah’s benchmarks to assist us in measuring our students’ growth. The AAPPL data was powerful! Parents were able to better understand the AAPPL measures of proficiency reports and left knowing what their children were able to do with the language. We can now speak with confidence about a student’s progress and the levels of proficiency we expect our students to reach at each grade level.

Overall the data has confirmed what we are doing right, but it has also challenged us to do things differently to strengthen the overall program. We are proud of our teachers, students, and parents who ask the right questions. We welcome the updated version of the AAPPL to help us dig deeper with respect to data.

What I Love about ACTFL

Iactft-2018-convention-logot’s always an exciting time right before Thanksgiving…not because of time off, yummy food, and time with family and friends (while those are exciting) but because it means that the Annual ACTFL Convention has arrived! As a district coordinator, my ACTFL week is a bit different from many; my learning starts on Tuesday afternoon. By the time ACTFL arrives, I’m ready to “relax” and take in sessions that I can immediately apply in trainings at home.

What I loved this year…

This year, learning more about the Intercultural Can-Do Statements was a huge theme. From listening to Frank Troyan lead us through how and why genre matters in lesson design to Ruta Couet and Jacque Van Houten sharing with us how the IC can-do’s should be the basis of curriculum. My biggest takeaways from these sessions were questions I could ask when I visit classrooms: what is the can-do? What is the evidence that students mastered the can-do?  How can students use the can-do tomorrow? Very powerful questions when working with teachers.

I am so very excited about the new Language Resource Center at the University of Maryland: Professionals in Education Advancing Research and Language Learning (PEARLL) led by Thomas Sauer. Being a one-person show in my district (i.e. no specialists), I have many ideas but not enough hours. PEARLL is going to be a huge asset to my work in helping teachers to be the best they can possibly be.

I always enjoy hearing Greta Lundgaard. Her session on tips for surviving curriculum revision was just what I needed to get me through the remainder of the school year. Being in the midst of keeping a team motivated while rewriting a framework to be proficiency-based is my daily reality. However, I am challenged by keeping the motivation going long-term and garnering the strength and energy to tackle the revision process once the rewrite is completed. Greta is always inspirational and spot-on with her observations and takeaways.

What I love year after year…

What I love about ACTFL is the generous, sharing spirit that most presenters have. It is such an opportune occasion to attend the sessions from the leaders in the profession. And, if you haven’t had a chance to meet them, it’s easy to go up and introduce yourself or ask a follow-up question. Almost without fail, every presenter is willing to engage in conversation either right then or a bit later. ACTFL is the place to make connections and build your professional learning network. Our work is hard enough; we don’t need to isolate ourselves from others but we need to build bridges so we can work together towards our common goal.

The other marvelous aspect of the ACTFL Convention is the variety of sessions offered. When I have the opportunity to bring teachers from my district, I always advise them to figure out ahead of time what sessions they wish to attend; to choose the sessions that have meaning to them; and, then if they are in a session that doesn’t “speak” to them, move somewhere else. If they leave ACTFL without gaining a lot, it is really their own fault. The sessions are there:  formal sessions, panels, papers, and unconference-type discussions. A variety of input to meet the needs of thousands of educators.

While I am always ready to come home at the end of ACTFL, it’s bittersweet. I have a convention family that I am able to spend time with and learn from for a week out of the year.  That is what I look forward to the most every year.

The Importance of Language in Patient-Centered Care

stock-photo-mother-and-daughter-talking-to-consultant-in-hospital-roomAmerican medical systems face challenges as demographic shifts result in a growing number of patients with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). The commonality of language and cultural sensitivity are key elements that can facilitate the implementation of diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. It is vital that healthcare providers offer translation services in order to respond to patients’ concerns and needs most effectively.

Medical organizations that receive federal funds are required by law to have interpreters and translated documents in place, but there are still gaps in the provision of language-specific treatment and care. For example, within the Latinx community, several dialects of Spanish are used depending on the country of origin. Multilingual staff members give care providers not only a competitive advantage, but also the ability to maximize the quality of care received by patients.

The advantages of same language service provision ultimately focus on the quality of care. This is because patients can explain their symptoms clearly, ask questions, and experience an enhanced comfort level. Health care personnel can better understand patient needs and concerns; additionally, they can clearly explain the course of treatment, the need for additional procedures, dosages of prescriptions, and dietary concerns. Essentially, every aspect of the doctor-patient dynamic is optimized. Patients who may be apprehensive dealing with unfamiliar people in an unfamiliar setting with emotionally-charged potential can be put at ease by means of effective communication and a sense of inclusion.

In response to the growing number of LEP patients at all levels of healthcare across the country, several states now require healthcare interpreters to be certified in the language of their patients. This is an excellent reaction to changing demographics; however, high-quality proficiency testing is critical in meeting these requirements. As one Language Access Specialist recently stated, “My research showed that Language Testing International (LTI) had the best test available.” LTI stands ready to provide the necessary testing and certification to ensure that LEP patients have the most qualified interpreters possible throughout the healthcare industry. A proactive stance on the part of the medical establishment will be beneficial to both the industry and the patients it serves.

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Since 1992, Language Testing International (LTI) a Samsung Company, and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), have been offering valid and reliable reading, writing, speaking, and listening tests in more than 120 languages, in more than 60 countries.

LTI administers language assessments to hundreds of thousands of candidates every year and is one of the largest and most respected foreign language proficiency test providers in the world. We offer the highest level of client service as well as convenient online test scheduling and reporting over secure client networks.

Contact us today to get started!

Mi casa es su casa

stock-photo-hispanic-couple-outside-home-with-sold-sign

The American Dream, a key piece of which is home ownership, is flourishing in Latinx communities all across the nation. By every economic measure, the buying power of Spanish-speaking Americans is skyrocketing to the tune of over $2 trillion. That buying power is most especially manifesting itself in home ownership, evidenced by the statistic that over 6 million new homes will be purchased by Latinx consumers within the next few years. As a prominent executive with the National Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) remarked, “With a growing Hispanic population and the highest rate of workforce participation, Hispanics are expected to drive growth in the housing market for decades”. While this is certainly good news for the real estate business, it also presents a series of unique challenges that will need to be met as this industry adapts to a Spanish-speaking customer base.

NAHREP recommends that the first step would be “to address the incredible shortage of Spanish-language speaking, culturally competent real estate agents (7%) and mortgage professionals (4%)”. The lack of bilingual professionals in this key area is a drag on the market. Many Latinx homebuyers express a preference for agents who can explain complicated transactions in a readily understandable format. Cultural sensitivity is also important, introducing upwardly mobile people into neighborhoods that might not reflect their ethnic identities and helping people select areas where they feel at home. As one homebuyer commented, “The (Spanish-speaking) agent was able to tell us if we would feel comfortable around the neighborhood.”

Given the economic projections for the future, improved language skills and cultural sensibilities will play important roles in the world of real estate for some time to come. There will be an increased need for multilingual professionals in both real estate and financial services, and these will surely create ripple effects in the banking and insurance sectors as well. Local government officials and educators will need to respond as demographic shifts alter the social landscape of communities. The need for certified, proficient Spanish speakers has never been greater and will only continue to grow as America becomes more diverse and prosperous.

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Since 1992, Language Testing International (LTI) a Samsung Company, and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), have been offering valid and reliable reading, writing, speaking, and listening tests in more than 120 languages, in more than 60 countries.

LTI administers language assessments to hundreds of thousands of candidates every year and is one of the largest and most respected foreign language proficiency test providers in the world. We offer the highest level of client service as well as convenient online test scheduling and reporting over secure client networks.

Contact us today to get started!