French diplomas are the goal
A collection of Red Deer high school students will try to receive an official diploma from the national education ministry of France next spring.
The Canadian Parents for French, Alberta Branch (CPF Alberta) recently announced that 1,400 Alberta students received diplomas from France.
They ranged from language learning beginners in Grade 4 to Grade 12 students capable of taking post-secondary studies or working in French.
An estimated 25 to 35 students from Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools and Red Deer Public School District will take the exams, likely in late April, said Michael Tryon, executive director for Canadian Parents for French.
There is no existing tool to show students their proficiency in the French language. This helps students, as well as their parents and teachers, to know, Tryon said.
Diploma exams only ensure that students are meeting curriculum standards, he added.
Canadian post-secondary institutions are looking at officially recognizing the France diplomas, Tryon said.
“They are being recognized by institutions around the world and international corporations are looking at these diplomas, too,” said Tryon.
“It will help students down the line.”
Christine Whitney, president of the Alberta branch for Canadian Parents for French, said parents deserve to know what results French programs are achieving, and employers and post-secondary institutions deserve to know what graduates are capable of doing in French.
Recognized around the world, the Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF) is based on language proficiency benchmarks developed in Europe.
The benchmarks describe degrees of language knowledge for purposes of communication in specific, real-life contexts. They range from the ability to exchange simple, familiar information to the ability to use a language for the most demanding academic or professional purposes.
“Until made-in-Canada diplomas based on these internationally-recognized benchmarks are established, the DELF fulfils a critical need,” said Tryon. “Terms like ‘functional’ and ‘fluent’ and ‘bilingual’ are far too ambiguous.”
Assessments for the French language diplomas differ from Alberta provincial examinations in several ways. For one thing, they look at listening and speaking as well as reading and writing.