Students test language skills

Jacob Clanton, Print Editor-in-Chief

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While many students at Manhattan High are learning foreign languages, the chances to put that language into practice are few. For 12 German students, Thursday’s German Language Diploma 1 exam (DSD1) was that perfect opportunity.

“I think it’s a very exciting thing to give to the students,” German teacher Elke Lorenz said, “because it will really show that they can do something with the language at level three already. If they didn’t pass, they can take it again next year. If they did pass it, they can even go to the next level next year.”

The DSD1 is a multi-faceted test that took more than just one day to complete.

“They had a presentation to do,” Lorenz said, “which they did on March 30, where they had to talk about a topic of their choice that has to do with everyday life. They had to speak about that for four minutes, and then we just had conversations with them. [Thursday], the students did a writing, a listening and a reading [test]. It took almost three and a half hours to get the whole test done.”

Though the test is open to all students, very few are at a high-enough level in German to take the test.

“It’s just for German 3 and AP basically,” sophomore Elizabeth Hohn said. “Anyone can take it, but they probably won’t pass it if they haven’t had a few years of German.”

The test shouldn’t require too much from the students.

“The test is free of charge,” Lorenz said, “so it does not cost the students anything. It shouldn’t cause the students any stress because if they do not pass the test at the A2 or B1 level in accordance with the European Framework of Learning Languages, they still can put it on their resume that they took the test.”

According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, the B1 level means students can conduct conversations in all regularly-encountered situations.

For those who pass the DSD1, there is the option to take the DSD2 next year. If they pass that test, at the B2 or C1 level, they could study in Germany.

“They could get access to the German university system and study abroad for free,” Lorenz said. “It would be easier for them to get access. It’s not the only way they can get access to the university system, but it’s a very good option for them.”

To prepare for the test, the students use a textbook from the German Cultural Ministry. However, that’s not enough.

“You have to have a rigorous program from level one or no book will help prepare them,” Lorenz said. “They are familiar with the format before they go into the test.”

Much like Advanced Placement tests, the students will not know how they did until June.

“I have to send all the exams to Germany now and they will be graded over there,” Lorenz said. “That test we took [Thursday] was taken worldwide basically, and so it’s all graded in Germany. It is a lot of students taking the test, and so it will take a while.”

Even though they will not know the results for a while, the students are still glad they took the test.

“It was a good experience,” Hohn said. “[It was] a good way to practice my German.”

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Students test language skills