Articulation of a Mosaic: The Western PA German Day Competition at Washington & Jefferson College

Cathy Altmeyer on May 26th, 2011    

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Each spring, the relatively small campus of Washington & Jefferson College is host to nearly 500 middle and high students, there for the day to compete in academic competitions in German. The campus of 1500, smaller than many area high schools, is noticeably busier, louder, and best of all more lively on this date each year. Although such a complex event can be a daunting task, the benefits to the German program, the college, and the community allow programs to showcase the importance of German, sustain momentum, and articulate the connection between high school language programs and college preparation.  This essay will focus on three areas of benefit for holding such a large scale event: giving back to the community, public relations for secondary and post-secondary German programs, and providing connections to the relevance for serious study of the German speaking world.


Town-gown relations continue to be a priority on many campuses in the U.S. The fact that the campus serves as an academic center to the community should not be forgotten and should be exploited whenever possible. Using the campus for community related academic events is a great way to bring large numbers of people to campus and expose them to the academic culture of the university. Therefore, it is in both a community service and a service to the institution when the campus donates its space and facilities to host such events. It is also one of the main factors that makes holding a large event like this financially possible. Annually, Washington & Jefferson College provides the space and supporting personnel free of charge to the area’s educational community. The college works with facilities management, the dining service, security, the Theatre program, and the modern languages department to leverage the existing personnel necessary to make such an event happen.  Students volunteer their time in preparation and the good will of the campus to have hundreds of students roaming the grounds for the day are fundamental aspects to hosting such an event.

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Connecting High School to College: New Directions for Advanced Placement® (AP®) German

Keith Cothrun on October 24th, 2010    

(CC Licensed Photo by Anna Z.)

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The Current State

Courses in Advanced Placement (AP) German Language are intended to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of a third-year college course in German language with instructional materials, activities, assignments, and assessments that are appropriate to this level. In 2010, 935 secondary schools in the United States and 21 schools abroad have AP German courses authorized by the College Board, a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity. The AP German Language Exam was administered in May 2010 to 5,389 students, an increase of 8% over 2009.

Figure 1 The number of AP German Exams has increased 30.9% during the past decade.

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Between Quantity and Quality: High Schools and the Iowa State University German Program

Kevin S. Amidon, Kris T. Vander Lugt on January 8th, 2009    

By Kevin S. Amidon and Kris T. Vander Lugt

While anecdotal evidence has accumulated that high school German programs have suffered over the past twenty years and that this has had an impact on post-secondary German programs, little substantive qualitative or quantitative data supports these claims. The authors, who teach at Iowa State University, therefore designed and carried out a survey of their first-, second-, and third-year students to explore high school articulation with their program. Results suggest that strong high school German programs remain important as feeders for their program, but that it is possible to motivate students who have not had high school German to take on a major or minor in German. German is also primarily a secondary credential for their students, who generally have professional primary fields (especially Engineering and Business). Conclusions for recruitment, retention and outreach are further drawn.

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College in the Schools: Connecting the University of Minnesota and High Schools

Virginia Steinhagen on January 8th, 2009    

By Virginia Steinhagen

The University of Minnesota’s College in the Schools (CIS) German program is a concurrent program currently in its nineteenth year. The CIS program is accredited through the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships. CIS offers high school teachers the opportunity to teach the U of M’s second year German curriculum in their high schools. It has grown from two schools in 1989 to 28 schools and more than 400 students in 2008.
The design of the program, with shared curriculum, on-campus workshops, and classroom observations helps to ensure consistency in teaching between the high school classes and the on-campus classes. The high school teachers’ willingness to share ideas, to mentor new colleagues and to help plan on-campus field days, helps strengthen the program and the connections between the University of Minnesota German program and Minnesota high school German programs.

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