International Education Washington

Mapping & Enhancing Language Learning Support

This project is funded by the 2008 State Innovations grant from Longview Foundation.

Purpose:  Provide critical policy information about the state of world language learning and teaching in Washington state to educational agencies, committees, and policy makers

Timeframe: Spring through December, 2008


  • Develop a series of policy briefs from the MELL data collected from high schools, e.g.,

    (1) High Schools that don’t offer World Languages
    (Contact the schools that reported NOT offering world languages and find out how their students are able to satisfy the 2-credit college admissions requirement. Do they take online courses or classes at the community college? What is keeping the schools from offering language classes (no available teachers)?)

    (2) Demographics of schools compared by number of languages offered
    (Do we have an equitable distribution of language programs in our state? Or do schools with a higher percentage of Caucasian students tend to offer more languages and/or for more years? Is there a difference between rural, urban, and suburban schools?)

    (3) Trends in languages offered
    (We can see that German is decreasing. Contact the schools that say they currently offer German and ask them what they expect to happen in the future. Will they continue offering it? Are the classes full? If the current teacher retires, will they hire a new one? What makes their program popular/successful (or not)? For newer languages, like Chinese, how many classes are they offering? Is there student demand? Do they see the demand increasing?)

    (4) Years of language study offered
    (For high schools that offer only 1 or 2 years of a language, what is keeping them from offering more? Is it lack of student enrollment? Teacher availability? What would happen if demand increased?)

    (5) Trends in World Language Endorsements
    (Between 2006 and 2007 there was a 68% drop in the number of world language endorsements issued by teachers’ colleges and university programs in Washington state. Why was this? How can these programs be ramped up to meet a growing demand for language teachers?)
  • Disseminate the briefs on the UW MELL website and distribute them to policy makers, legislators, and the education community.
  • Organize a World Languages Summit at the University of Washington to review the findings from the MELL project. Invite a leading expert in World Languages, such as Paul Sandrock from Wisconsin, to provide a national perspective.

Key Personnel:

  • Michele Anciaux Aoki, Ph.D., P.M.P., International Education Consultant; Project Director for 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2008 State Innovations grants and Project Manager for the Mapping & Enhancing Language Learning Project
  • Caleb Perkins, Supervisor for International Education and Social Studies, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction; 2004 State Team Member; member of the MELL Steering Committee
  • Deborah Warnock, Research Assistant at the University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies for the Mapping & Enhancing Language Learning (MELL) Project
  • Katy Armagost, Representative from WAFLT (Washington Association for Language Teaching) to the MELL project; teacher liaison to the University of Washington College in the High School program for world languages
  • Paul Aoki, Ph.D., Director of the Language Learning Center, University of Washington and Co-Project Director of the “Mapping and Enhancing Language Learning” project at UW
  • Steve Pfaff, Ph.D., Director of the Center for West European Studies, University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies and Co-Project Director of the “Mapping and Enhancing Language Learning” project at UW
  • Tamara Leonard, Associate Director of the Center for Global Studies, University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies; MELL Steering Committee

Status as of:  12/23/20088/31/2008

Status as of 12/23/2008

  • Five MELL Policy Briefs were published for the World Languages Summit and are available for dissemination from the MELL website:
  • MELL Policy Briefs were distributed to members of the Legislature during fall, 2008 and will be made available during the upcoming legislative session.
  • World Languages Summit: PK-20 Pathways to Language Learning was held at the University of Washington on November 6, 2008 and attracted over 170 people. Presentations are available on the MELL website:
    Paul Sandrock from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction was the featured keynote speaker.

Status as of 8/31/2008

  • MELL Surveys:
    • Completed calls and emails to elementary and middle schools
    • Writing & editing of MELL policy briefs in progress
    • Graphic design for policy briefs in progress
    • Hourly students collected info from public & private high schools
    • Survey sent to all high schools on August 25
  • World Language Summit:
    • Made calls to explore possible locations for WL summit and reserved space at the University of Washington HUB
    • Set basic agenda for World Language Summit

    • Confirmed Paul Sandrock as the keynote speaker and workshop presenter for November 5

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