Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte - Gobierno de España

Estados Unidos

Spanish as a foreign language

Compared to other countries, the U.S. puts less emphasis on foreign language education than other subjects.
On a national scale a foreign language curriculum does not exist in which objectives, teaching methodology and evaluation methods are detailed. There are no federal mandates that require foreign language studies.

K-12 Education System

More than 90% of school age children attend public K-12 schools, which are run by local county or city school districts. Due to this type of Management there exists a great amount of fluctuation of curricular content between states and even between neighboring school districts

One must note that foreign language courses are not part of core curriculum courses, math, science and language arts, and therefore are not included in State standardized tests. Due to the establishment of the No Child Left Behind Law the aforementioned core courses are especially emphasized in the classroom.

However, the presence of the Spanish language in the education system has become more and more noticeable due to a constant influx of Hispanic heritage students enrolling in the school districts.

Thus, the three main approaches that address this demographic and linguistic trend are the following:

  • Spanish as a Foreign Language: especially in secondary schools. The courses are organized by language competence more than by grade level or age, including Spanish for students of Hispanic origin or AP (advanced placement) courses for advanced students. The AP courses in many cases provide college credits.
  •  Transitional bilingual programs: "transitional-bilingual": Programs are offered both in primary and secondary schools to recently enrolled students coming from a Spanish speaking country. The system incorporates instruction both in Spanish and in English on a graduated basis that is adjusted according to the progression of the student's English skills with the final objective being to mainstream the students into an all English classroom.
  • Programas bilingües o de inmersión: also known as "dual immersion". These programs pursue pure bilingual students and are targeted to both English and Spanish dominant speakers. Generally speaking, dual programs combine instruction in both languages at different gradual pre-established percentages that vary with grade level.
    The "total immersion" variety addresses the whole curriculum in both languages, whereas the "partial" one addresses only a part of it. 

College Level (data from the Spanish Ministry of Education’ El Mundo Estudia Español)

The statistics from MLA (Modern Languages Association) for the 2002-03 year course shows a clear preference for Spanish by American college students against other foreign languages.
As for the Degrees in Spanish, according to the National Institute of Education Statistics as much as 57 per cent of foreign language fields students earned their degree in Spanish or Hispanism related disciplines.
 

 

© Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte

Logotipo W3C/WAI doble A (WCAG 1.0)