Spotlight on Arabic
CAL activites and resources relating to Arabic
Standards for Learning Arabic in the United States
In response to the needs of the Arabic language teaching profession, a task force spearheaded by the National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC)—a consortium of The George Washington University, Georgetown University, and CAL—and a network of K–12 Arabic language teachers has developed standards for learning Arabic in the United States. The Arabic standards, informed by Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century (National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project, 1999), will serve as a guide for developing age- and culturally appropriate curricula and materials for Arabic teaching. The National K–12 Arabic Standards will be available on NCLRC’s Arabic K–12 Network. An Arabic translation of the standards will be available later this year. The project is supported by the National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project, the American Association of Teachers of Arabic, and the National Middle East Language Resource Center. For more information on the Arabic standards, contact Dora Johnson at CAL.
Arabic K–12 Teachers’ Newsletter
The NCLRC also publishes an Arabic K–12 Teachers' Newsletter for teachers and administrators of K–12 Arabic programs in the United States. The most recent edition is available online in both English and Arabic.
Arabic Teacher Professional Development
The National K–12 Foreign Language Resource Center (NFLRC), a partnership of Iowa State University and CAL, recently conducted a PreK–12 Arabic and Hebrew Professional Development Institute for teachers at UCLA. Read about the institute’s goals and successes on NFLRC’s Web site.
K–12 Arabic Language Immersion Programs in the United States
CAL's Directory of Foreign Language Immersion Programs in U.S. Schools contains searchable information about language immersion programs, including Arabic language programs such as those at the Academy of World Languages in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Rock Creek International School in Washington, DC. Please visit the directory to search our records or to add your program to the database.
CAL's Directory of Two-Way Bilingual Immersion Programs in the U.S. contains searchable information about two-way immersion (TWI) programs. Please visit the directory to add your Arabic TWI program.
The Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages is collecting profiles on heritage language programs in the United States. This online collection of profiles allows heritage language programs in community-based, K–12, and higher education settings to form a network to exchange ideas and resources. You can now view the online collection of profiles. If your program is not listed, please contribute your program’s profile.
Arabic Language Assessment
CAL is responding to the need for Arabic language assessments with resources and materials to assist language professionals.
CAL's Foreign Language Assessment Directory is a resource for language professionals to use in locating appropriate assessment resources. Use the search by language feature to find all Arabic language tests in the directory.
The Arabic COPE (CAL Oral Proficiency Exam) is an assessment for students in Grades 5-8 that uses oral interview and role play techniques with two students at a time to measure the student’s ability to understand, speak, and be understood by others in Arabic. The test measures academic and social language. The rater evaluates each student's proficiency in terms of comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, and grammar using a simplified holistic scale based on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines.
CAL offers training in the effective use of COPE. A typical COPE training is a 2-day workshop that familiarizes participants with the assessment and allows them to practice interviewing and rating students. For more information on COPE training workshops, contact Lynn Thompson.
The Arabic Speaking Test (AST) is a Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview (SOPI) that measures an examinee's speaking ability in Arabic. This valid, standardized test allows for oral proficiency testing in situations where it is not feasible to give an oral interview due to the unavailability of trained testing personnel or time or budget considerations. The tape-mediated proficiency-based performance assessment requires students to listen to directions to speaking tasks from a master tape while following along in a test booklet. Student responses to each task are recorded on a separate response tape that is later evaluated by a trained rater who scores the performance according to the proficiency guidelines developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Each examinee receives a proficiency rating on the ACTFL proficiency scale. The test includes a warm-up, picture-based tasks, topic-based tasks, and situation-based tasks and is available in three parallel forms. With funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the AST was developed by professional test developers at CAL working with leaders in the field of Arabic language education. The AST is designed to elicit a representative performance sample of the examinee's speech in a short period of time and is intended for students at proficiency levels from Novice-High to Superior. The AST may be administered in a language laboratory setting or individually. A Self-Instructional Rater Training Kit is available through the CAL Store. For more information, contact Laurel Winston, Coordinator, Speaking Test Administration.
CAL's Culture Profiles provide short introductions to the history and the cultural background of refugee populations and are a valuable resource for service providers, employers, educators, and others interested in learning more about other cultures. CAL has published several Culture Profiles of Arabic-speaking groups.
Refugees from Iraq (Enhanced Refugee Backgrounder)
Read it online. | But it online.
The Iraqis: Their History and Culture
Read it online. | Buy it online.
The Iraqi Kurds: Their History and Culture
Read it online. | Buy it online.
Muslim Refugees in the United States: A Guide for Service Providers
Read it online. | Buy it online. | Download the pdf.
Click here to see all available Culture Profiles.
Professional English for Arabic Speakers
Many sectors of the U.S. government have expressed an urgent need for individuals with high levels of proficiency in both English and any of several critical languages. In response, CAL’s English for Heritage Language Speakers (EHLS) project aims to help heritage speakers of critical languages, such as Arabic, develop their English proficiency to high levels, with a particular focus on language skills specific to the federal workplace. CAL assists in the recruitment of heritage language speakers to participate in the program, helps to develop the curriculum for specially designed intensive English programs at two universities, monitors the progress of the students, and evaluates the success of the programs and participants. This project is funded by the National Security Education Program. Visit the EHLS Web site or contact Deborah Kennedy for more information about the program.
Return to the About the Arabic Language page.