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I asked ds's German teacher how they compare and this is the scale she gave...the German she is teaching is the OSU program. I don't know if that translates with all other language programs as there can be vast differences in high school language programs...

 

"I (teacher speaking) would equate the levels about like this:

 

German 1 = A1 - A2

 

German 2 = A2 - B1

 

German 3 and 4 = B1 - B2

 

AP German = B2 – C1"

 

Joan

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I asked ds's German teacher how they compare and this is the scale she gave...the German she is teaching is the OSU program. I don't know if that translates with all other language programs as there can be vast differences in high school language programs...

 

"I (teacher speaking) would equate the levels about like this:

 

German 1 = A1 - A2

 

German 2 = A2 - B1

 

German 3 and 4 = B1 - B2

 

AP German = B2 – C1"

 

Joan

 

These are high school levels, right?

 

I took German in high school and in college, lived in Germany and took the B1 exam. I think that second year probably covers most of the gramatical constructs tested on the B1 exam, except for a high comfort level with subjunctive. However, there is a presumption of a wide vocab knowledge and a fluency with speaking (especially with conversing on the fly in the speaking part of the exam) that is beyond the comfort zone of most high school students who have completed their second year. So her estimate that B1 fits with German 3 and 4 is probably closer. I think this would be especially true with students who haven't taken other languages and are having to learn that verbs have conjugations, nouns have gender and adjectives have endings.

 

The other thing I remember from the B1 exam is that there was a section that required you to write a letter. I think most German 2 students are still writing exercises and that writing a paragraph or a letter would be challenging.

 

I'm not so familiar with the AP German exam. I looked over a sample once and came away thinking that it was easier than the level of all around scrutiny that the B1 exam entailed. I also remember that the C level exam had a reading list. I'm not sure if the AP exam has students reading a lot of standard works in German or not.

 

Of course, ymmv. I just remember that it wasn't until I'd take a couple of college level courses and traveled in Germany a couple times that I felt like I had much speaking fluency. And I'm still running into words that I find I should know but don't know.

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Sebastian - thank you. It is good to get a better understanding of what these tests entail. I think you are right about vocab development, ease of speaking, etc....

 

I also realized that I had left out the info that I'd discussed on the high school thread. So the subject of the title of this thread was not even discussed. :sleep:Just waking up I guess.:)

 

Here is the other info from which we can extrapolate...for her courses anyway.

"The SAT II German subject can be taken after only two years of German. It measures mostly the ability to understand written German and has some questions that can be answered by students at that level. Most of the questions on the SAT are equivalent to what we expect students to be able to do in German III and IV."

 

so would it be ?

 

SAT II = B1? Where the student would be able to do B1 if they were ok with SAT II as there is a little less oral emphasis with the SAT (nonlistening)?

 

Or is my brain still going around in circles? Maybe I should post after waking up more...

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German 1 = A1 - A2

 

German 2 = A2 - B1

 

German 3 and 4 = B1 - B2

 

AP German = B2 – C1

You either have a very, very good and motivated professor, either a bit unrealistic one. Differences also tend to be quite huge in high school programs, so it's a bit hard to generalize, but...

 

From what I saw in the States, it's usually more like 1 = A1, 2 = A1+ / A2, 3 = B1, 4 = B1 + / B2 and AP being somewhere at B2 +, maybe C1 in some cases.

 

C1 and C2 are levels of an educated native speaker and are highly unlikely to be reached in a high school setting only (without travel, immersion, extensive reading, etc.). Maybe some immersion schools, or schools in which all 4 years of high school are foreign language with literature, reach C-levels, but those are exceptions rather than the norm. In most of the cases students seem to end up with a very solid B2 after AP.

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Thanks Ester Maria...

 

I think I've read some of your posts where I got the idea that you have European roots or experience - but don't know all the details at all...

 

I'm also trying to figure out how much variation there is among the different languages for the AP's or if there is no variation?

 

At some level it seems hard to compare as some of the grammar is so different...like with all the cases and then their endings in German...so you couldn't check a box between French and German that said all cases covered and have it mean the same amount of work at all.

 

Could I ask which languages you have been able to look at the AP exams for?

 

I'm asking this out of curiosity about an AP grade of 5 in different languages - if it really means the same thing?...Not sure if I'm phrasing these questions/thoughts correctly...

 

And the same could go for the European levels...it does seem that some languages are easier...so if you reach fluency...it means something different...to me, German seems the hardest to reach fluency (people with more experience can correct me here)...

 

Thanks,

Joan

Edited by Joan in Geneva
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Could I ask which languages you have been able to look at the AP exams for?

I skimmed AP exams for Romance languages, APP for Italian, SAT IIs for Romance languages, Latin, modern Hebrew.

I'm asking this out of curiosity about an AP grade of 5 in different languages - if it really means the same thing?...Not sure if I'm phrasing these questions/thoughts correctly...

I get what you mean, nope, it might not mean the same thing, given that if you come from an anglophone background, you will not learn all those languages with the same ease. But the basic distribution of upper levels is still similar. While it might be true that a course 3 for different languages will be A2+ and B2, based on how quickly the material is covered and how far the language is from English, it's still HIGHLY unlikely that a good C1, let alone C2, is going to happen in a regular high school setting (speaking of the American school model here, with late start; in Europe it's a bit different in some places). Exceptions only confirm the norm in that aspect.

 

So, while some languages are easier for English speakers in the initial stages of learning, usually due to lexical similarities (Romance languages), it's still hard to outperform B2, as C-levels are quite demanding in themselves.

And the same could go for the European levels...it does seem that some languages are easier...so if you reach fluency...it means something different...to me, German seems the hardest to reach fluency (people with more experience can correct me here)...

Not at all.

European levels aren't background-specific, they don't reflect the difficulty of the language in comparison with the X native language - they simply put you on a certain stage of learning a language. Grammars differ, but B2 in German, Hebrew and Russian will be approximately the same level overall linguistic competences wise. For speakers of some native languages, that level will be attained more quickly than the others, but there is no huge gap in abilities with a German on the B2 level and Hebrew on the B2 level.

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I can see C2 as being the level of an educated native speaker, but C1? Really?

C1 and C2 people should, theoretically, be able to use a language in any context (from everyday to academic; from slang and dialectal difference to highly specialized language of their field), perhaps not with the mastery that makes them indistinguishable from the native speakers, but certainly appropriately. The difference between C1 and C2 is essentially in nuances; of course that I generalize when I say "the level of an educated native speaker", that expression is more used to refer to the plethora of contexts one is comfortable with rather than to say that one cannot be distinguished from educated native speakers (that's quite an unreasonable goal in the first place :D). It's more along the lines, you can function in the same contexts they can function in.

 

So, both C1 and C2 should, for example, be able to follow any kind of spoken language (live or broadcast) at a fast native speed, but the difference would be that a C1 might need to "reconstruct" some of the gaps they have when following an extended speech on a complex topic which is not in their field of expertise, while C2 should not have the gaps in the first place; both C1 and C2 should be able to switch registers, but the difference is again in nuances.

 

The levels are put together because they describe the same general "place" - A levels are beginners, B levels are intermediate and C levels are proficient speakers; the "jump" from B2 to C1 is harder than the jump from C1 to C2. If you look at the descriptions of specific abilities per level (such as here), you will notice that; quite often expectations of C2 are the same as those of C1, since both levels already indicate mastery.

 

The leaps are actually from A to B and B to C, while 1 and 2 mean not so much different stages in the whole picture, but different stages of A, B or C.

That's why I say that C is rarely found in classroom context, because it's a huge leap to make. The leap from A to B usually is made in the school context (students generally do move to intermediate phases, study complex grammar and even finish grammar studies, etc.), but from B to C, unless the learning has started quite young, or those are very intensive courses and an immersion school, not so much. It's quite unreasonable to expect a C-level knowledge after average high school preparation for an average student with no previous knowledge of the language or additional input (immersion, stays in the country, family that speaks it, etc.). :)

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Thank you, Ester Maria, that makes so much more sense now. And thank you for that link - I'm going to read through it all.

 

I was wondering how you could be at C1 and be considered the same as an educated native speaker! It makes sense that it's how one can function in settings. I think I'm C1 in German, but I certainly don't sound like an educated native. My biggest issue is expanding my vocabulary.

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Thanks all of you for the discussion!

 

I just realized that the German books used in the public Jr. Hi. that my daughter will be using for 7th grade next year (they give them to her for her home study) start with A1. Previously, I'd thought that was just the publishers code. (Sometimes I'm a bit slow to figure things out when they are staring me in the face).

 

So now I realize that in 8th grade they're doing the A2 so that would be equivalent to two years of high school German...but then 9- B1, 10, B-2, 11 - C1, 12 - C2 and this level I know that people here are not reaching by 12 th grade...it seems like an enormous leap between B-2 and C levels somehow...as you said Esther Marie...

 

Thanks for the links, Ester Maria and Asta...

 

Joan

Edited by Joan in Geneva
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My son is following a Spanish program from Europe. His second year, which he just finished is labelled as A2/B1. Good students will reach B1 level by the end of the year, slow students (him!) will be A2. That's 2 years of high school level classes. My son will most likely go for the A2 evaluation in November (and so will I)

 

I consider that I was a good B2 Spanish speaker when I graduated high school, but not a C1. I had five years of Spanish, with native speakers in high school (we have 5 years of high school over here). I consider myself at C1 level in English. I found out the hard way I can't talk to a mechanics in English. I have no clue what he's explaining ;-) (Mind you I probably wouldn't know in French either!) But I can read English literature and I do have a good background in English Lit. I'm having fun practising the SAT questions as sent by the College Board (daily SAT question in email). I get more than 95% of the English ones right. Math questions sometimes throw me for a loop, but English ones never.

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I consider myself at C1 level in English. I found out the hard way I can't talk to a mechanics in English. I have no clue what he's explaining ;-) (Mind you I probably wouldn't know in French either!)

 

But does the C1 or 2 level really include what I would call "specialized" language? Many professions have their own specialized vocabulary which people in the profession learn. Doctors and nurses use a "medical dictionary", etc. How could the C levels include that when native speakers don't even know half the vocabulary?

 

Even in the various subjects...if you have not studied physics, there are lots of terms you won't know as a "native" speaker...Maybe Ester Maria, Asta, or another native European can address this question?

 

Joan

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I'm pretty sure the garagist used 'everyday' mechanics words. Apart from 'steering wheel' and 'transmission', there are almost no word in my English vocabulary.

 

I ran across another example yesterday. I was reading an English book, that used quite a few words I wouldn't be able to find on my own. Yet I knew what they meant when I read them, but if I were to write a similar story, I would not be able to come up with the words on my own. One example was a series of adjectives describing horses at a canter. 'Sluggish' was the only one I would know 'both ways', both input and output. The others, I knew if they meant fast, lazy, or vigorous, but I would never be able to recall them. I think that's one difference between C1 and C2.

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