Languages Discussion Summary

Conley’s Checklist

  • High school students think that they have met the requirements on the checklist, but when they get to college, they realize they have not.
  • There are language barriers at all levels of schooling which hinder student comprehension.
  • Checklist is unrealistic – there are many conflicts between checklist and state, city demands – the checklist is overly ambitious.  Students are not prepared.
  • Consensus: the checklist is accomplished at the end of the college courses.
  • The checklist is applicable to an ESOL Program, but not a foreign language program .
  • Perhaps students can accomplish some tasks on the checklist on a simplistic level, but realistically, they cannot really complete the skill on a sophisticated level – This disparity is due to HS time constraints.
  • MCC professor:  The purpose of studying a foreign language is to speak and to understand; and to participate in a new culture, so writing is not as important.
  • For an ESOL Program , students must be able to compete the checklist before entering college.
  • A huge chunk of this checklist is communication skills, but it’s not written communication .
  • The students view the checklist as an actual checklist – if they can check it off, then they can pass the test…BUT students should have already completed the checklist before entering into the dual-enrollment  program.


  • There are differences in goals between HS Language programs and College Language Programs.
  • Dual-enrollment teachers have to merge their curriculum their HS curriculum to college curriculum and because of the time constraints, there is not enough time to develop all of the topics.
  • Time is a huge problem, but there are ways to modify dual-enrollment curriculum, i.e. modify exams from Regents-based to college-based.
  • There are so many differences between state/college/city curricula, there should be alignment.
  • We should focus on the 5Cs and find out what students are doing in HS in order to make up learning gaps in college.

Common Core

  • CCSS implementation seems to be a problem: “We’re building the airplane as we’re flying”
  • Do we know enough about CCSS? We need to make a change and switch to new standards by there is a lack of training with revised curricula
  • Curriculum is up to the teacher in the way in which it will be implemented  – how a teacher teaches is up to the teacher (college level)
  • How do we implement CCSS without the appropriate tools?

Dual Enrollment & Advanced Placement

  • There’s a gap between the thinking behind dual-credit and AP credit: AP is viewed as more rigorous while dual-credit is seen as easier and more applicable for all learners, but that doesn’t mean that AP students are better prepared for college courses.
  • There is a huge push to get students into AP, but not a lot of conversation about how to prepare students for college: AP credit/courses offered does not mean a student will be better prepared for college.
  • Students taking AP Exams is not a sign that students are prepared for colleges.
  • Dual-enrollment is more manageable/useful for teachers and students.
  • The dual-enrollment renders tangible credit for a college, whereas AP credit is more intangible .
  • HS students want the MCC credit.
  • There is much more of a push for dual enrollment in the fall, but not in the spring – and you can see this through students enrollment numbers (fall is high; spring is low)  – but this also due to the fact that students realize that it’s harder than they thought once they begin classes in the fall, so some students drop out.

Learning Gaps & Areas of Concern

  • Some HS do not offer college-level foreign language courses.
  •  Students need to know that they are more marketable with language experience: teachers need more of an opportunity to show this to students.
  • Students need more knowledge of grammar before college; they need to be made aware of college rigor and expectations.
  • How are the parents helping in this transition to college life? If the parents are instilling the value of education, how are we supposed to do this?
  • There must be more parent involvement – open communication is essential.
  • Many students do not have a support system at their homes …
  • There is a respect issue in HS classrooms .
  • The maturity of students must be considered – teenagers are still changing cognitively and we have to be sensitive to the shock of transitioning from secondary to postsecondary.
  • Rigor is lacking in HS classrooms, but it may not be the teachers’ fault  – we have to be careful where we place the blame.
  • APPR expectations, accumulation of data (that no one does anything with…)
  • There is a devaluing of educators in that HS teachers cannot even grade their state exam.
  • HS teachers are bullied by politicians.

College Entrance Policies & Expectations

  • There is always issues of placement in college classes – most students have had some language classes, so the question is; what class do they take now?
  • It’s  hard because there is no placement exam but there are guidelines that must be followed – some students do self-place and will then take easier classes so that they have a guaranteed A, but they still may not do that well (dedication comes into play).
  • Gen Ed requires just 3 credit hours of language, which is only one class.
  • There is an opposite problem in ESOL – there is a placement exam but students are shocked to see that they are at a lower level than expected .
  • Students do visit MCC and other colleges but they go to walk around, to eat in the cafeteria, they don’t experience the academic programs at all – we need to create these opportunities for students (HS students to college classes ; college Profs to HS classrooms).
  • In HS, there are excuses that are accepted; in college, there are no excuses and students will either learn to succeed or move on to something else in life.
  • Students have to realize that the relationships between college prof and students is very different from the relationship between HS teachers and students – from providing pencils, tissues to decorating a classroom.
  • HS Teachers may not want to accept late work or provide students with pens, but the administrators say different – they dictate many of these policies.
  • Teachers are evaluated on everything from providing late work to decorating classrooms – APPR.
  • Students are under the impression that everything is given to them (in HS) and when they go to college, they realize that the students and prof must meet each other halfway.
  • There is also a disparity between this mindset of “educational welfare” in America to the educational mindset of other countries – it comes down to expectations.
  • Students should be more familiar with the college application process; FAFSA

Solutions to Facilitate Student Success

  • Students have to learn about the expectations of a college setting – this can be done through a peer exchange between college students and HS students, with a focus on the culture of college/college life.
  • The HS have a college day, but there needs to be more than that – come to the college, follow a schedule for a day, etc.
  • Is it feasible to do this? Logistically, it’s difficult for HS teachers to plan field trips (money, buses) ; from the college perspective – these trips happen occasionally, but it’s not common.
  • A solution: college provosts collaborate with school district officials.
  • One HS teacher does share unit tests and exams with a college prof – they use the same assessments for the dual-credit courses.
  • HS teachers should watch the college prof instruct to get a better idea of expectations and material.
  • The design of a HS classroom should be changed to mimic the circular design of a college classroom – you learn from each other by watching each other in a language classroom.
  • The dual-credit program is almost a model for the college readiness program, and can provide a learning model for where to go with college readiness.
  • A summer program should be put in place in order the bridge the gaps between HS and college life/expectations  – There is a Global Union Club on MCC that could help to bridge the gaps between HS and college.
  • There is an Awareness Week that is beneficial to college students on many levels.
  • Students receive new information better from one another rather than always listening to their teachers.

Two or Three Changes

  • ASL should be taught in all schools.
  • When possible, HS students need to sit in on a college class one day (not just tour campus).
  • We need more college professors and students visiting high schools.
  • There was deep discussion with the Inter Groups Dialogue Program where we passed yarn around from one person to another and by the end, there was an intricate web created between us all.  The attitude that the students have at the beginning of a course changes by mid-semester because they start talking to different people and reach a new comfort level.  The Prof and students start interacting more and by the end of the semester, the dynamics have changed dramatically and the students have come a long way – a close-knit family. It takes this whole semester for students to move from HS mentality to college mentality.