Program Success for District Students

Language Test Scores Translate Into Program Success for District Students
Posted on 07/25/2018
Last year, 56 Okeeheelee Middle School’s International Spanish Academy students were given the opportunity to take the Advanced Placement (AP) exam in Spanish Language and Culture. Not only did all of the students pass the exam, the majority of them received a 5 on the exam, the highest score possible.

After the success of the program during its first year, Okeeheelee Middle saw that as an opportunity to expand the program to a larger population beyond their International Spanish Academy, one of the best dual language programs in the nation offered at select schools throughout the County.

This year, which is only the second year that Okeeheelee students have taken the exam, 26 students received a 5, 25 students received a 4, and five students received a 3 on the exam that is considered very difficult, even for high school students.

According to the Advanced Placement Program Website, AP Spanish Language and Culture emphasizes communication (understanding and being understood by others) by applying interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational skills in real-life situations. This includes vocabulary usage, language control, communication strategies, and cultural awareness. The AP Spanish Language and Culture course works to ensure that grammatical accuracy is not emphasized at the expense of communication. To best facilitate the study of language and culture, the course is taught almost exclusively in Spanish.

The AP Spanish Language and Culture course engages students in an exploration of culture in both contemporary and historical contexts. The course develops students’ awareness and appreciation of cultural products (e.g., tools, books, music, laws, conventions, institutions); practices (patterns of social interactions within a culture); and perspectives (values, attitudes, and assumptions).

About the International Spanish Academy:
The International Spanish Academies (ISAs) are Dual Language Programs that have signed a collaborative agreement with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of Spain. The program is a Spanish two-way immersion program that allows students to develop proficiency in two languages by receiving classroom instruction in English as well as Spanish. Okeeheelee Middle School was the first International Spanish Academy in the United States. The School District now has five ISAs (three elementary, one middle, and one high school).

About the Advanced Placement Program® (AP®):
The Advanced Placement Program® has enabled millions of students to take college-level courses and earn college credit, advanced placement, or both, while still in high school. AP Exams are given each year in May. Students who earn a qualifying score on an AP Exam are typically eligible to receive college credit, placement into advanced courses, or both.
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