Topics Map > Policy
Topics Map > Courses
Policy - Course Attribute for Foreign Language
Policy on the course attribute for foreign language, including impact and benefits and implementation.
This is a summary of the policy detailing the Course Attribute for Foreign Language. Click here to view the official policy in its entirety in the UW-Madison Policy Library.
There are requirements in various degree programs across the University that involve the completion of courses that focus on the study of a language other than English. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a national leader in foreign language instruction and offers instruction in more than 40 languages.
Given the expansive offerings it is not always easy for students to understand what languages are offered, or which courses are at the introductory and sequentially higher levels. These courses also are eligible to award retroactive credits (“retro-credits”) that grant credit for previous language study when students complete an appropriate course at the University with a grade of B or higher.
The study of language involves vocabulary, grammar (morphology and syntax), phonology, pronunciation, culture, history, text interpretation, and other skills. This attribute proposal is intended to create a way of delineating language courses where the primary focus of the course is teaching students a method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way and to differentiate them from courses that focus on the culture, literature, history and polity or other aspects of language learning.
The implementation of this proposal will facilitate more effective communication with current and future students about courses that meet foreign language requirements and courses that are eligible to award retro-credit. It will also facilitate communication with the broad range of interested non-student stakeholders (e.g. degree audit programmers, advisors in departments, and student service units
B. Policy Statement
The proposal recommends the use of a course attribute and course attribute values that will be associated with courses in languages other than English that focus on the study of systems of human communication that include grammar (morphology and syntax), phonology, and vocabulary necessary for oral and/or written communication.The primary focus of the learning outcomes of courses that have this attribute involve:
- the ability to read and write a language other than English
- the ability to speak and understand a language other than English
- the advancement of communication skills in a language other than English
Level 1 First-semester language course. Course in a language other than English for students with no prior experience in the language. These courses are not retro-credit eligible.
Level 2 Second-semester language course. Course in a language other than English that requires a Level 1 course a requisite. These courses are retro-credit eligible.
Level 3 Third-semester language course. Course in a language other than English that requires a Level 2 course a requisite. These courses are retro-credit eligible.
Level 4 Fourth-semester language course. Course in a language other than English that requires a Level 3 course a requisite. These courses are retro-credit eligible.
Level 5+ Fifth-semester and above language course. Course in a language other than English that requires a Level 4 or Level 5 course a requisite. These courses are retro-credit eligible. Courses with a 5+ designation could be sequenced or non-sequenced language courses beyond the fourth semester, or literature or culture courses taught in the language that require a Level 4 or Level 5 course requisite. Because these are language courses, they are retro-credit eligible.
C. Impact and Benefits
Department faculty and staff who are responsible for a language curriculum should consider including this attribute if it is appropriate during the course proposal process.
The attribute will be included in the Course Guide and in the Guide.
The attributes can be used by the schools and colleges for degree audit encoding purposes in place of having to compile lists of hundreds of courses.
The attribute will clearly communicate to students and stakeholders which courses are eligible to award retro-credit.
Courses have had the levels 1-5 attributes added in the SIS course catalog and this information is included in the Guide and Course Guide and is being used by degree audits. While separate table in SIS determines what courses are used in awarding retro-credits, a business practice that the retro-credit table will be updated concert with foreign language attributes in the course catalog have been agreed upon, and auditing to assure that the two data sources remain in sync will be done.
Course Attribute = FLNG
FL 1 1st semester language course
FL 2 2nd semester language course
FL 3 3rd semester language course
FL 4 4th semester language course
FL 5 5th + semester language course
Official Policy Document
Foreign Language Course Attribute Policy, V2 (1 March 2018)
Foreign Language Course Attribute, Cover Memo (Milner) (26 March 2018)