Languages Other Than English - Frequently Asked Questions

The following FAQ provides clarifying information pertaining to languages other than English (LOTE) instruction in Texas.

General Issues

Graduation Requirements

Spanish for Spanish Speakers

General Issues

  1. Which languages are considered a language other than English (LOTE)?
  2. What are the requirements for students to enroll in LOTE? 
  3.   Do districts have to implement the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for LOTE?  
  4.   Is there a state curriculum guide for LOTE?  
  5.  Where can a district obtain credit by examinations for LOTE if the district has not developed their own district credit  by examinations?
  6.  What is required for a district to develop its own credit by examination?
  7.  What about credit by examination for less commonly taught languages? 
  8.  Can a student receive credit for LOTE courses offered in the elementary and middle school? 
  9.  Can students study abroad and obtain credit for the language studied?  

Graduation Requirements

  1. How many years of a language other than English are required for students to graduate on the minimum high school program (MHSP), the recommended high school program (RHSP), or the distinguished achievement program (DAP)?
  2.  Are there any exceptions for the language requirement for graduation on the RHSP or the DAP?
  3.  Are special education students required to complete the language requirement for graduation?
  4. If a district does not offer the third level of a language course, how can the student fulfill the requirement for the DAP?
  5.  Can a foreign student who studied his native language in his country apply his language credits towards the LOTE requirement for graduation?

Spanish for Spanish Speakers

  1. Many times native speakers of Spanish are placed in upper level Spanish courses because of their language ability. Do the students have to complete the lower levels? 
  2. For student who are placed in upper level courses, including native speakers of Spanish (or native speakers of other languages), how can they obtain credit for lower level course work? 
  3. For native speakers who decide to take credit by examinations for their language, what is the passing score

Responses

General Issues

 1. Which languages are considered a language other than English?  

Any world language other than English, including American Sign Language (ASL), is considered a language other than English. For out-of-country students who studied English as their foreign language, English cannot be counted for the purpose of fulfilling the LOTE graduation requirement.

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2. What are the entrance requirements for students to enroll in a language other than English (LOTE)?

The state has no entrance requirements for LOTE. LOTE enrollment is open to ALL students regardless of grade level.

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3. Do districts have to implement the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for LOTE (TEKS for LOTE)?

Yes. Texas Administrative Code, §§74.2 and 74.3 require that the TEKS for LOTE be implemented and taught to the extent possible in Kindergarten through grade 8. Districts must offer Levels I, II, and III or higher of the same language at grades 9-12.

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4. Is there a state curriculum guide for LOTE?

There is no state curriculum guide for LOTE; however, the TEKS for LOTE are the standards for what students should know and be able to do upon the completion of all of the courses in Chapter 114. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Languages Other Than English. Districts may also consult A Texas Framework for Languages other than English (TEA publication) which provides important information regarding LOTE instruction, TEKS implementation, sample course outlines, and other important information that will assist teachers in developing district documents.

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5. Where can a district obtain credit by examinations for LOTE if the district has not developed their own district credit by examinations?

The University of Texas at Austin and Texas Tech University are the two institutions of higher education authorized to provide credit by examinations. With local board approval, a district may also purchase or develop examinations that thoroughly test the essential knowledge and skills in the applicable grade level or subject area for the purposes of credit by examination.

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6. What is required for a district to develop its own credit by examination?

A district must have board approval to develop its own credit by examination. In addition, the credit by examination must cover all of the TEKS for LOTE.

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7. What about credit by examination for less commonly taught languages?

If a district wishes to offer a credit by examination for a language not taught in the district, the district may contract with an individual or entity to develop such a test or may purchase a test from a provider. In all cases, the CbE must meet the TEKS for LOTE.

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8. Can a student receive credit for LOTE courses offered in the elementary and middle school?

Yes. Texas Administrative Code 74.26 (b) Award of Credit states that courses designated for grades 9-12 may be offered in earlier grade levels. “A course must be considered completed and credit must be awarded if the student has demonstrated achievement by meeting the standard requirements of the course.” It is important to remember that the TEKS for LOTE are the same for elementary, middle school, and high school. The difference is the use of age-appropriate activities.

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9. Can students study abroad and obtain credit for the language studied?

Yes. It is recommended that the student obtain permission from the school prior to doing the course of study and that the district and student determine in advance if the selected course includes the TEKS for LOTE. Ultimately, the district is responsible for awarding credit in accordance with 19 TAC, §74.26(a)(2).

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Graduation Requirements

1.  How many years of a language other than English are required for students to graduate on the minimum high school program (MHSP), the recommended high school program (RHSP) or the distinguished achievement program (DAP)?

Two levels of the same language are required for graduation on the RHSP and three levels of the same language are required for graduation on the DAP. A student cannot combine different levels from different languages to meet the LOTE requirement. There is no LOTE requirement for graduation under the MHSP. 

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2.  Are there any exceptions for the language requirement for graduation on the RHSP or the DAP?

No. There are no exceptions for the LOTE requirement on the RHSP or the DAP. Students must meet all of the requirements outlined for their graduation program. 

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3.  Are special education students required to complete the language requirement for graduation?

Special education students must complete the same graduation requirements as all other students, which includes the LOTE requirement for the RHSP and the DAP.  There is no LOTE requirement under the MHSP. Courses with modified content, including LOTE courses, apply to the MHSP only.

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4.  If a district does not offer the third level of a language course, how can the student fulfill the requirement for the DAP?

Students may enroll in a college course and receive high school credit. The district would determine the appropriate course that matches the level the student needs to complete. The college course must include the TEKS for LOTE. Students may also take correspondence courses or distance learning courses. The only two institutions approved for correspondence courses are UT Austin and Texas Tech. There is no restriction for distance learning providers. Both correspondence and distant learning courses must include the TEKS for LOTE. The Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN) Statewide Course Catalog also provides state-approved online courses for high school graduation available to students in grades 8 to 12.

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5. Can a foreign student who studied his native language in his country apply his language credits towards the LOTE requirement for graduation?

Yes. If the student’s native language is a language other than English and the transcript shows that the student studied his native language, the student can apply these credits towards the LOTE graduation requirements. The district makes the determination for applicable courses and allowable credits. The district may also award LOTE credit for the student’s native language based on the student’s demonstrated proficiency in the TEKS for LOTE, Levels I-VII.
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15. Many times native speakers of Spanish are placed in upper level Spanish courses because of their language ability. Do the students have to complete the lower levels through a CbE in order to receive credit?

No. Though the students may be placed in upper-level courses, the recommended plan requires two levels of the same language. A student could possible have levels 3 and 4 on his/her transcript.

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16. For native speakers of Spanish (or native speakers of other languages) who are placed in upper level courses, how can they obtain credit for lower level course work?

The students may take a credit by examination for each course skipped. Districts may develop their own credit by examinations based on TEC §28.023 (a) Credit by Examination or may offer students the examinations from the University of Texas at Austin or Texas Tech which are the only two institutions of higher education approved by the Texas Education Agency.

Districts may also develop “credentialing” policies allowing a student to receive credit for lower level courses when the student successfully completes the upper level course in which he is enrolled. This is possible in LOTE because the TEKS are very similar from level to level with the proficiency levels being the only difference. A student who successfully completes a level 3 intermediate proficiency course, automatically completes the novice level proficiency as the intermediate proficiency subsumes the novice level.

The CbE and “credentialing” policy is applicable to native speakers of other languages. Other examples include native Chinese speakers or Japanese speakers moved into higher levels because of their language abilities.

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17. For native speakers who decide to take credit by examinations for their language, what is the passing score?

If the student has never received prior instruction in his home language, the student will need to score a 90. If the student has had prior instruction such as having participated in a bilingual education or dual language immersion program, studied the target language in elementary school, studied the language in a foreign country, formal after school programs, etc., then the student will only need to score a 70 to pass. The largest group of students in this case is Spanish-speakers, but this rule applies to all native speakers with a different home language than English.

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