World Languages

Piedmont Middle School  World Language Program FAQs

What is the standard progression for the PMS World Language Program?

Seventh grade students can select to take World Language A in the following languages: Mandarin, French, or Spanish. World Language A is offered as a one semester class in 7th grade. It is an academic elective providing an introduction to the basic structures and vocabulary necessary for comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing the language. Students also learn about traditions and customs of the country.

As a continuation of World Language A course that students took in 7th grade, 8th grade students may take World Language BC in Mandarin, French, or Spanish. The BC course builds on the fundamentals learned in World Language A. The course emphasizes active involvement of the student in all areas of communication (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). Conjugation of verbs and cultural activities are also integral parts of the course.

If a student completes World Language BC successfully in 8th grade, then he/she has the option of taking World Language, level 2, in 9th grade. World Language A & BC are advanced courses, equivalent to the World Language, level 1, course in high school.

Can any student, who completes World Language A as a 7th grader, automatically take World Language BC as an 8th grader?

Completion of a final grade of B- or better in World Language A is recommended for a student to continue with World Language BC in 8th grade.

Can any student, who completes World Language BC in 8th grade, automatically take World Language, level 2 in 9th grade?

Eighth grade students should maintain a grade of B- or better in semester 1 to continue taking World Language BC in Semester 2. Students, who complete World Language BC successfully in 8th grade, may be considered to take World Language, level 2, in 9th grade. They should complete Semester 2 of the BC course with a grade of C- or better.

Are there any exceptions to the standard progression of the PMS World Language program?

When a 7th grade student already speaks the language, parents can request that he/she be assessed in skills necessary for the comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing of that language. Parents must make arrangements with the principal and the World Language teacher to be assessed.The World Language teachers will offer a placement test once in the Spring for the following school year and at the beginning of the new school year.

If the student passes the assessment, the 7th grade student will take World Language BC with 8th grade students.

Are there any logistical and administrative limitations involved if a student takes World Language BC as a 7th grader?

There are no logistical and administrative limitations at PMS during the 7th grade year. Assuming the 7th grade student passes World Language BC (minimum C-), he/she would qualify as an 8th grader to move to World Language II at PHS. However, it is at this point that logistical challenges/limitations arise. It is always difficult and sometimes not possible to mix the schedules at Piedmont High School and Piedmont Middle School. Specifically:


What if a 7th grade student qualifies to skip both World Language A and BC?

Sometimes, the school assesses a 7th grade student and decides that the student qualifies to skip both World Language A and BC. In that case, he/she could either try a third language in 7th grade, or take another elective in 7th grade in anticipation of taking World Language Level II in 8th grade at Piedmont High School. (He/she would be assessed by a World Language teacher at the high school to determine if he/she is eligible to take Level II as an 8th grade student.) However, the same limitations concerning merging the two schools’ schedules would apply.

Can my student use an outside tutor for World Language Study during school hours?

At PMS we recognize that it is sometimes not possible logistically to offer advanced language students the in-school opportunity to continue their language study at the level that fits their ability. Some parents choose to pursue outside tutoring before or after the school day as a solution. Students who are tutored privately will still need to be assessed by the World Language teachers for placement at the appropriate level.

Please note that time dedicated to private tutoring (for language study or any other subject) cannot in any way impinge on the student’s daily attendance at PMS from 8:20 to 3:13. PMS and parents are both constrained by the California Compulsory School Attendance Laws that dictate the requirements for school attendance in very specific terms.

A Comment about the Value of Middle School Electives

The PMS faculty and staff feel strongly that the breadth of experience gained by students in diverse electives contributes meaningfully to building the foundation of intellectual curiosity and resilience that allows a student to reach his/her full academic potential in the long term. As professionals, we ask that parents consider the importance of a broad elective study when considering the various available options for advanced language study.