The U.S. online Portuguese exam, part of the National Examinations in World Languages (NEWL), had its highest number of registrations (345) this year. “Despite the restrictions and constraints arising from the current pandemic situation and the fact that many schools are in hybrid or distance education, 345 registrations were recorded nationally (the highest number ever),” reads a statement from the Coordination of Portuguese Education in the U.S. (CEPE-USA) sent to Macau Business News.
Of 345 registrants, 279 from 29 schools in 13 U.S. states reached the final phase. The NEWL exams are computer-based tests for reading, writing, listening, and recording spoken answers to assess knowledge in Portuguese, Arabic, Korean, and Russian and are aimed at students from the ninth year of schooling, or aged 14 years or over.
The NEWL exams are accepted as credits for applications to higher education in the U.S. and represent a certification of Portuguese language skills as an advantage for entry into some universities.
According to CEPE-USA data, in the current school year there are 20,000 pupils of Portuguese and 386 teachers, in 189 schools all over the U.S. The fact that the overwhelming majority are in state schools is a positive point, the secretary of state for Portuguese communities, Berta Nunes, told Macau Business News, “because it increases the awareness of the language” and broadens the promotion of Portuguese in the U.S.
Interestingly, 130 registrants, almost half of those who took the final exam, were from Utah, where there are 18 schools that include Portuguese in their curricula.
According to the CEPE statement, 109 of those who took the NEWL exam are Lusodescendants who are beneficiaries of financial support under a memorandum of understanding between the Camões Institute, the Luso-American Development Foundation (FLAD), and the American Council for International Education.