Foreign Languages in Elementary and Secondary Schools: Results of a National Survey

Authors

  • Nancy C. Rhodes,

    1. Center for Language Education and Research Center for Applied Linguistics Washington, D.C.
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      Nancy C. Rhodes (M.S., Georgetown University) is a research associate at the Center for Language Education and Research, Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, D.C.

  • Rebecca L. Oxford

    1. Center for Language Education and Research Center for Applied Linguistics Washington, D.C.
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      Rebecca L. Oxford (Ph.D., University of North Carolina) is a senior research associate at the Center for Language Education and Research, Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, D.C.


Abstract

ABSTRACT  The Center for Language Education and Research (CLEAR), through funding from the U.S. Department of Education, sought to address the issue of the status of foreign language instruction by conducting a national survey of elementary and secondary schools. This article presents the results of questionnaires completed by principals and foreign language teachers at 1,416 elementary schools and 1,349 secondary schools. The respondents represented public and private schools, ranging from nursery school through grade 12, throughout the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The main purpose of the survey was to provide a national picture of foreign language education at the elementary and secondary levels in terms of specific categories, such as public and private schools. The survey questions covered six main areas: background demographics, amount of foreign language instruction, foreign language offerings, foreign language curriculum, teacher qualifications and training, and major problems. The results revealed that more than one-fifth (22 percent) of the responding elementary schools and 87 percent of the responding secondary schools taught foreign languages in the 1986–87 school year.

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