Foreign language requirements increase difficulty for Honors diploma

By Ryan Benzing, Staff Writer — The foreign language requirements for an honors diploma can be exceedingly troublesome for many students.

If you are looking for an honors diploma, one of the requirements is that you will have to take either three years of a single foreign language or two years of two different languages. If not, there are no language requirements (other than English) for graduating.

These requirements give an extra edge for those people who achieve an Honors diploma. They make it harder to earn that special acknowledgement, and in turn make it all the more valuable.

The foreign language requirements work perfectly for the honors diploma. They can separate those who care greatly from the crowd, as few students want to take three or four years of another language. The third year of a language is much more difficult than the other two, and makes meeting the requirements a greater challenge. Students not wishing to take three years of one language can still get around it by switching to another language, and taking another two years of it.

There are also already ways around this requirement. If a student is in a two-year career tech program, they will find themselves exempt from any foreign language, while still being eligible for a diploma with honors.

Every student also has one “write-off”, which means they may exempt themselves from one of the eight requirements, including: four credits of English, math, science, or social studies, three credits of a foreign language, an art credit, a 3.5 unweighted GPA, or a 27 ACT or 1210 SAT score.

Since these ways around the foreign language exist, the requirements should stay put, not being increased or decreased. As known from personal experience, many students will take the difficult third year of a language their junior year, when they are introduced to more than one AP class, and the combined work loads will drive most to not take that fourth year. If four years of a language were required to graduate with honors, many more students would use their one exemption on the language requirement, when they might need it for another area.

Should a student not take a language their freshman year, a fourth year requirement would also immediately bar that student from graduating with Honors, unless they were willing to take two years of a language at once.

[Updated Aug. 20, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]