Survey of Y8/9 Languages Students to shape option choices

Results of Y8 and Y9 Language Classes Option Survey 2015

280 students completed the survey, however only 100 results are shown here as we do not have professional version of Survey Monkey. Hence also the screen shots used here to show results.

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Analysis of results:


Only 50% of students felt learning a language was important, with the majority choosing not to continue, despite two thirds saying they enjoyed it.  Thus only 31% plan to carry on with this option choice through secondary school.


Less than half students (42%) feel that some subjects should be compulsory, with only 26% saying the four core subjects should be.  This indicates a need for change from the status quo and the desire from client students for more choice in their education.


Surprisingly, 34% would have chosen a language if it ws not compulsory at Y9, more or less the percentage that plan to continue studying language through college.  Most preferred the option of a half year course, while nearly one third expressed the desire for the choice of half or full year.  This would not be difficult to timetable – optional courses – but would need some rejigging of higher level courses to accommodate different levels of pre learning. This is not impossible, as motivation is the key rather than prerequisites, as shown by the Y11 student who began Japanese at Y11 in 2015 and consistently gained Excellence level grades.


The reasons rankings for learning another language are evenly spread, clearly demonstrating that students do understand the different benefits, but rate travel over career.  This reflects the national attitude that learning another language is not an essential, an attitude which fails to reflect the growing impact of globalization, immigration and TTPA agreements on New Zealand’s culture and economy.  We are failing if we cannot ensure that students are better equipped for an international workplace.

From this small number surveyed, the conclusion is that making language not compulsory at Y9 will have no impact on numbers, as the same number of students say they would choose it anyway as would choose to continue the option through college.  This would mean less Y9 classes to staff, enabling just one teacher to take Y9-13, and thus provide a better retention rate and more predictable class sizes for higher levels. Making language non compulsory at Y9 would also mean reducing three taster courses to one.


This should be considered in conjunction with the possiblity of combining the two remaining taster courses at Y7 and Y8, with students having one language taster over the two year period.  Y7 enthusiasm has too often disappeared by Y8 due to overexposure.  Bearing in mind that retention has steadily decreased from the time of induction of Y7 and 8 into the languages program, it is increasingly clear that it is important to manage taster courses to ensure they are effective.



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