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 Q&A: Helping students to see their language success at Leeming Senior High School

Q&A: Helping students to see their language success at Leeming Senior High School

Feature 4 minute read

We had a chat with Joanne Sgro, Japanese Specialist Teacher at Leeming Senior High School in Perth, about the Japanese language program at her school and how she utilises the Assessment of Language Competence (ALC) to support her students.

Could you share a bit about the Japanese Specialist Program at Leeming Senior High School?

The Japanese Specialist Program is one of only 31 Approved Academic Specialist Programs with the Department of Education, WA. Specialist students have the opportunity to be part of an innovative and challenging languages program designed to equip them with essential communication skills, an intercultural capability, and an understanding of the role of language and culture in human communication.

Students who are part of the Japanese Specialist Program attend two hours of Japanese classes per week, and can participate in the following extra-curricular activities:

  • a 2-week Immersion Program at Leeming Senior High School (LSHS) with visiting Japanese high school students
  • a 2-week Japan Tour (running biannually, applications open to Year 9-11 students)
  • after-school Enrichment Workshops
  • various incursions and excursions arranged throughout the year exclusively for Specialist students.

Why does your school use an assessment like the ALC to support language teaching learning?

LSHS is using the ALC as a tool to monitor our students’ language learning, and to promote, celebrate and encourage the learning of languages in and around the school, especially in our Japanese Specialist Program.

ALC awards are presented at Year Group assemblies and at our Year 12 final awards assembly. Our teachers at LSHS are able to identify strengths and weaknesses of their students especially in the macro-skills of listening and reading, and they can compare the achievement levels of their students with all participating students of the ALC assessments.

Students are also able to receive recognition for their language learning ability by receiving the ALC certificates and use these in their portfolio or resume.

How have ALC results helped you to understand how your students have progressed?

The different levels of the assessment (Certificates 1, 2 and 3) are a great indicator for me as a teacher of the students’ ability and whether or not they are capable of continuing on to a language course in Year 11/12. Their results as a percentage also gives individual students a reason to continue their language studies and is a good motivator for them.

How do you use the data provided by the ALC useful when planning the next steps for students in their language learning?

At the moment, I use the data to show students how good they are at the language, and to help them see that they are capable of studying a language in the future.

Can you describe a highlight of your language program this year? 

In my Japanese class, eight students achieved a High Distinction in the ALC Japanese Certificate 3.


Find out more

Learn about the Assessments for Language Competence

ACER Assessment of Language Competence (ALC). Recognise achievement & optimise language teaching. Learn more. Stock image of teacher and students next to graphic treatment of foreign language characters.

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