Rochester Public Schools is joining Minneapolis by offering seniors with bilingual ability the opportunity to earn a world language certificate that will count toward foreign language requirements in college and enhance their job prospects. About 80 different languages are spoken in the Rochester school district.
District officials say they initially intend to make certificates available for five languages: Chinese, German, Spanish, French, and probably Cambodian for seniors, but may be expanded to include juniors. Those students who demonstrate proficiency in one of those languages would receive a certificate at the time of their graduation that also would be reflected on their transcript.
To earn a certificate, students will have to pass one of two computer-based exams, and to pass either one, students will have to show a high degree of proficiency in all aspects of a language, including speaking, reading, listening, and writing.
There are also plans to introduce a bill that would create a seal of biliteracy for graduating seniors that would be recognized by all Minnesota state colleges and universities institutions.