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Mandarin Immersion Program

Mandarin Immersion Program

Mandarin Immersion Program Title Banner
Mandarin Immersion
At Capistrano Valley High School, Mandarin Immersion students continue to increase the language proficiency that they have been developing since kindergarten. Students have the opportunity to take classes in Mandarin through all four years of high school.  They will take one year of World History in Mandarin, in addition to one year of Mandarin Language Arts (MLA9), one year of AP Chinese Language and Culture, and up to two years of IB Mandarin (IB Standard Level and IB Higher Level).  All courses meet high school and college (UC/CSU) requirements.
Course 1
Course 2
World History**
IB Mandarin (SL)*
AP Chinese*
IB Mandarin (HL)*
                           *   Indicates a grade-weighted class
                           ** Weighted only if taken in 9th grade (can also be taken in 10th)
While Traditional Chinese characters were taught to students in the elementary years to provide a solid foundation, high school focuses on Simplified Chinese characters in order to expand the students’ learning and provides access to more resources and future career opportunities.
To assess students’ language proficiency growth, the Mandarin STAMP 4S test is conducted toward the end of each grade level.  This test is based on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) standards that use interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational benchmarks for communication, in addition to intercultural skills components. 

Further information about these standards can be found HERE.

High School Mandarin Immersion Program (MIP) Goals for Students:
  • Listening: Understand the main message and most supporting details in conversations and discussions.  Sources will become more varied as students progress in their abilities.
  • Speaking: Exchange information and ideas in discussions on a variety of familiar and concrete academic and social topics.  Maintain extended conversations by supporting, reacting to, and comparing preferences and opinions and expressing advice and emotions in detail, and by asking probing questions.
  • Reading: Understand the underlying message and most supporting details in descriptive informational texts, and also follow the main story and most supporting details in fictional texts.  The length and complexity of texts will increase compared to those used in middle school.
  • Writing: Deliver detailed and organized presentations on concrete topics, in paragraphs and using various time frames.  Explain historical events and trends that require clear understanding of time frames and logical thinking.  
  • Culture: Explain diversity among cultural practices, products, and perspectives throughout the Chinese-speaking world. Share an understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons of Chinese culture with the student’s own.  Demonstrate awareness of subtle differences among cultural behaviors and adjust one’s own behavior accordingly.
The goal is for students to reach the Intermediate High to Advanced Low proficiency level by the time they graduate from the K-12 Mandarin Immersion Program in CUSD (for listening and speaking, they will most likely reach the Advanced Low to Advanced Mid proficiency level).  At the beginning of the 9th grade they should be at the Intermediate Mid to Intermediate High proficiency level. 

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

ACTFL Hierarchy Chart
IB vs. AP
IB Mandarin
International Baccalaureate (IB) classes put a strong emphasis on encouraging students to develop intercultural understanding, open-mindedness, and the attitudes necessary for them to respect and evaluate a range of points of view.  IB Mandarin reinforces and extends a student’s knowledge of Mandarin vocabulary and grammar by understanding audience, context, purpose, meaning, and variation.  Students are exposed to authentic text types in relation to the prescribed themes, and they produce a variety of oral and written presentations.  Students describe situations, narrate events, make comparisons, and state and support their personal opinions on topics relating to course content.  
IB is organized into five prescribed themes (shown below, in addition to some optional topics within each theme):
  • Identities - lifestyles, health and well-being, beliefs and values, subcultures, language and identity
  • Experiences - leisure activities, holidays and travel, life stories, rites of passage, customs & traditions, migration
  • Human ingenuity - entertainment, artistic expressions, communication and media, technology, scientific innovation
  • Social organization - social relationships, community, social engagement, education, the working world, law and order 
  • Sharing the planet - the environment, human rights, peace and conflict, equality, globalization, ethics, urban and rural environment
Standard Level (SL) IB Mandarin is taught in 10th grade, and Higher Level (HL) IB Mandarin is taught in 12th grade.  AP Chinese falls somewhere between these two IB classes on a difficulty scale.  In IB Mandarin HL, students are required to study two literary works originally written in Mandarin.  They will extend the range and complexity of the language they use to communicate, compared with SL and AP levels.  An IB exam is offered at the end of each IB year, which consists of reading, writing, listening and speaking components.  Both IB classes qualify for the IB Diploma Program at CVHS, but students who enroll in these classes are not required to complete the full IB diploma. 

Get more information about the full IB diploma program at CVHS.

AP Chinese
AP Chinese is taught in 11th grade, and it covers six main course themes - Personal and Public Identities, Science and Technology, Global Challenges, Families and Communities, Beauty and Aesthetics, and Contemporary Life (see graphic for examples of topics in each theme).  It is based on a prescribed curriculum that prepares students to take the AP Chinese Language and Culture exam, which is given in May of each year.  Many colleges and universities will grant college credit for a score of 3, 4 or 5 on the AP exam (higher scores generally equal more credits).
AP Chinese Language Culture Recommended Contexts Chart
CA Seal of Biliteracy
MIP students are eligible to earn the CA Seal of Biliteracy at high school graduation by doing one of the following:
  • Pass the AP Chinese exam with a score of 3 or higher
  • Pass an IB exam with a score of 4 or higher
  • Successfully complete a 4-year high school course of study in a foreign language and attain an overall GPA of 3.0 or above in that course of study
  • Pass the SAT II foreign language exam with a score of 600 or higher
In addition, students must have completed all English language arts class requirements for graduation with an overall GPA of 2.0 in those classes, and also pass the English portion of the CAASPP test (administered in 11th grade).
Recognition at Graduation
In addition to the CA Seal of Biliteracy, language immersion students who complete the entire K-12 immersion program will be honored with a special cord to be worn with their cap and gown at graduation.  

Learn more about Capistrano Unified School District’s Mandarin Immersion Program.