Fourth level languages redesignated as Honors classes

Anna Brinkhuis, Opinion Editor

At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, the FCPS World Languages Office made the decision to make every Level 4 Language an Honors class. Because of the increased difficulty of such classes, students, including those who have already completed a Level 4 language, will be awarded a 0.5 boost to their GPA.

While only three years of a language are necessary for an Advanced Diploma, many Madison students decide to continue their study of French, Spanish or Latin beyond the required amount. The change in policy has, for that reason, been met with overwhelming positive feedback from both students and teachers.

“I am totally in favor [of the change],” said Spanish teacher Maria Sanchez. “I believe the level of sophistication of topics, the expectations in writing and reading and the pace of the class merit an Honors label.”

Students, too, are happy about the decision. After dedicating so many years to studying a language, many feel as though they have earned the 0.5 grade point average boost that comes with an honors designation.

“I take Spanish 4, which I think is as challenging as an honors class,” Erin Spalding (’19) said. “The people who take level four languages deserve to get a 0.5 boost.”

Overall, teachers of all three languages at Madison hope that making Level 4 classes honors will encourage students to continue their study of the subject, although they would prefer it be for love of the language and not just the grade boost.

“The expectation of rigor is much clearer when a class is labeled as Honors, and I believe if students are going to be expected to work on advanced material at a more rigorous pace, the extra 0.5 is well deserved,” said Nicole Curran, a Spanish 4 and AP teacher and a strong advocate for the change. “It’s a really dynamic class and students who love the Spanish language and are intrigued by other cultures should consider taking it.”