By 2010, Kentucky high school students may have to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language to graduate.
The state board of education is slated to consider the foreign-language proposal next month. Currently, Kentucky students are required to receive instruction in a foreign language only if they plan to go to a state university or want an honors diploma.
According to the Denver-based Education Commission of States, few states require high school students to complete foreign-language courses to graduate. Rhode Island and the District of Columbia require two years of foreign-language instruction for graduation. New York requires one year, which can be taken before high school. Texas will require two units of foreign language and New Jersey will require one unit starting with the class of 2008.
Kentucky has not yet devised a system to measure language competency, but it would probably be defined as equal to what a student would be expected to do after about two years of instruction, said a spokeswoman for the state education department.
A version of this article appeared in the November 09, 2005 edition of Education Week