Language other than English ("e")

Two units (equivalent to two years or through the second level of high school instruction) of the same language other than English (three units recommended) including:

  • Emphasis on speaking and understanding
  • Development of awareness and understanding of the cultural context around the target language
  • Practice with reading and composition
  • Instruction on grammar and vocabulary

Goals of the requirement

Learning a foreign language exposes students to new cultures and new horizons; as such, the study of languages is an essential element of preparation for a life lived within increasingly globalized communities. The successful course approved in the language other than English (LOTE) subject area expands the student’s view of the world, exposing her or him to diverse modes of thought. It improves knowledge of language structure as a whole, including the structure of English, while increasing cultural awareness and literacy. Similarly, the World Language Content Standards for California Public Schools [PDF] underscores the significance of students developing cultural and linguistic literacy in a second language in an effort to develop the global awareness necessary for success in an interconnected world.

Given that language acquisition develops over a time frame that differs from one target language to the next, specific communicative outcomes of LOTE (“e”) courses are not as important as the continued development of the following proficiencies:

  1. Language and Communication
    Effective communication requires focused effort applied to the structural components of the language: phonology, orthography, American Sign Language (ASL) parameters, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. Appropriate acquisition of these structures must be anchored in real communication that improves competence in listening, reading, viewing, speaking, signing and writing. The student should demonstrate an understanding of how linguistic choices depend on the setting, goals and participants in communicative interactions (e.g., choosing between familiar and polite forms). Achievement in language acquisition is measured in terms of comprehensibility, comprehension, language control, vocabulary use, communication strategies and cultural awareness.

  2. Culture
    An appropriate World Language curriculum will emphasize the relationship between language and culture, calling for a more complex view of communities that moves beyond “tokens” and isolated facts. Knowledge of cultures associated with the target language, including the shared perspectives, social institutions, practices, products and geographical factors affecting the relevant speech communities, is essential. Students should emerge from instruction with a developing knowledge of literary and cultural texts and traditions, including major literary figures, works and intellectual movements. These texts should, over time, fuel students’ understanding of the target culture, broadening their views on cultural difference.

  3. 21st Century Skills
    A World Language classroom should integrate the 21st Century Skills [PDF] jointly spearheaded by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. These practices ensure students develop language and communicative proficiency through real-life communication, authentic tasks and resources, a keen understanding of culture and language, and a strong emphasis on interpersonal, interpretive and presentational modes. Therefore, learning a language should not be confined to a decontextualized classroom space. Rather, World Language instruction should emphasize purposeful opportunities to use the language beyond the classroom. Current digital technology and communication tools can make such opportunities available, and should be integrated skillfully and purposefully. The effective use of technology can foster access to resources and information in the target language, as well as enable students to communicate and share with authentic audiences, rather than just producing language tasks for the teacher.

For a more in-depth discussion of World Language courses in the 21st century, please consult the 2007 Modern Language Association’s ad hoc committee report, “Foreign Languages and Higher Education: New Structures for a Changed World.”

Course criteria & guidance

Beginning with the 2015-16 submission period, the following course criteria is effective for courses seeking approval in the language other than English ("e") subject area:

A World Language, or LOTE, classroom should integrate 21st century skills for students to develop language and communicative proficiency that moves beyond a focus on listening, viewing, speaking, signing, reading and writing as mutually exclusive skills. True language proficiency is best measured in accordance with the guidelines established by the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language. Courses following such guidelines will be taking a substantial step toward meeting the goals of the "e" subject requirement. Regardless of the specific language, all approved LOTE (“e”) courses are expected to fulfill these criteria:

  • Courses will align with the goals described above, and will prepare incoming college freshmen to demonstrate competence in the three language modes as follows:
  1. The Interpersonal Mode is characterized by the active negotiation of meaning and stance among individuals. Participants observe and monitor one another to see how their meanings, stances and intentions are being communicated. Adjustments and clarifications can be made accordingly.

    Students will be given ample opportunity to express their own meaning and stances in the target language, working on speaking and listening in a variety of contexts. Additionally, these student interactions will provide opportunities for the acquisition of cultural norms associated with the target language and progress in difficulty as contact hours with the language increase.

    LOTE (“e”) course submissions should be sure to indicate how students will be encouraged to improve speaking and listening skills. Examples of methods and resources include: language lab, pair work, online activities, discussion with peers or instructor, call and response, total physical response (TPR), recitation or signing. In addition, courses must provide evidence of what students do to routinely practice these skills, and specify how listening and speaking will be evaluated, formally and informally, at levels of difficulty appropriate to the language level.

  2. The Interpretive Mode focuses on the appropriate cultural interpretation of meanings that occur in written, spoken and signed (ASL) form where there is no recourse to the active negotiation of meaning with the writer or the speaker. Reading, listening and/or viewing (ASL) comprehension will be incorporated into the proposed curriculum in keeping with the language level. These activities will be based on authentic source materials from the target culture, which might include poetry, screenplays, blogs, web pages, lyrics, advertisements, journalism, short stories and novels.

  3. The Presentational Mode refers to the creation of oral, written and signed (ASL) messages in a manner that facilitates interpretation by members of the other culture where no direct opportunity for the active negotiation of meaning between members of the two cultures exists.

    Language skills are interrelated. In keeping with the Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening [PDF], World Language classes must stress formal and authentic written, oral and signed (ASL) assignments as part of the curriculum.
  • LOTE (“e”) courses will provide a detailed account of what students are reading and writing. Specify the source of the authentic literature, its genre or topic, and include the length of the passages/texts as well as relevance to unit or lesson. Written assignments should also be described in terms of topic, length, type of composition (descriptive, reflective, interpretive, analytical, etc.) and intent of the assignment. Sentence writing, dictation, journal entries and paragraphs pertinent to the linguistic and cultural topics of the course would all be acceptable types of writing practice.
  • At the third/fourth-year level, students are expected to have some exposure to works of literature written and read in the target language. Literature taught at this level helps to demonstrate the rigor of the course. Associated writing assignments should also demonstrate appropriate levels of difficulty.

Other options for satisfying the “e” subject requirement

UC-transferable college courses or satisfactory scores on SAT Subject, AP or IB exams can also be used to fulfill the language other than English (LOTE) subject requirement.

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Proficiency in a language other than English

Generally, bilingual students are considered to have met the “e” subject requirement and may choose not to enroll in language other than English courses. Students who elect not to take courses in a language other than English may satisfy the “e” requirement by one of the following methods:

  • Formal schooling in a language other than English – Students who have completed two years of formal schooling at the sixth-grade level or higher in a school where a language other than English was used as the medium of instruction have met the LOTE requirement. A school transcript or other official document is required.
  • Assessment by a recognized test or University – Earning a satisfactory score on a SAT Subject, AP or IB exam, or a proficiency test administered by a UC campus or other university can demonstrate a student’s proficiency in a language other than English. Most language departments at universities will conduct an assessment and issue a statement of competency on official letterhead serving as certification.
  • Certification by high school principal In cases where the options above are not available, certification by the high school principal is acceptable. Principals should develop and maintain clear standards for providing this certification. Certification should be based on the judgment of language teachers, advice of professional or cultural organizations with an interest in maintaining language proficiency, or other appropriate sources of expertise. The principal notes the certification of competency on the student’s transcript with the language and level of proficiency.