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National Standards


National Standards for Learning Arabic K-16

The Standards publication is guided by the generic Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century. It is a collaborative effort of the Arabic K-12 Materials Development Project, the National Capital Language Resource Center, the National Standards Collaborative, the American Association of Teachers of Arabic, and the National Middle East Language Resource Center. In addition, the publication reflects the sound and careful advice from many others who commented on various drafts and generously gave of their time to this effort.

The Task Force is also extremely grateful to the National Foreign Language Education Project for its generous financial assistance for Task Force meetings and its sustained support through the development of the Standards for Learning Arabic K-16.

In order to make the Standards more widely available to Arabic teachers, we have translated the Arabic-related portion of the Standards into Arabic. While we prefer that teachers buy the entire standards in English, we do have a limited number of Arabic Standards which we can give to Arabic teachers. If you would like us to send you a copy, feel free to contact us.

Below is a link to a power point show of the National Standards.


This is a brief audio recording of the Five Cs and the Goals of the National Standards:



The Five Cs:

There are five goals:

Goal One - Communication

This standard focuses on interpersonal communication.  In most modern languages, students can quickly learn a number of phrases that permit them to interact with each other. 

Below is a Sample Progress Indicator for grade 8:

  1. Students follow and give directions for participating in age-appropriate cultural activities.  They ask and respond to questions for clarification.
    Example: Use directional words to ask and clarify direction.

اذهب إلى الأمام خطوتين ثم التفت يساراً وامش خمس خطوات، قف على يميين السبورة، إلخ 

  1. Students exchange information orally or in writing about personal events, memorable experiences, and other school subjects with classmates or peers in Arabic-speaking communities and/or members of the Arabic cultures. 
    Example: Interview classmates, eating at an Arabic restaurant, planning an Eid party, etc.
مرحباً ياصديقي، ماذا ستفعل في العيد. سَـأصنع كعكاً وأزين الغرفة وأحتفل مع أسرتي وأبناء أعمامي وعماتي
  1. Students use Arabic to acquire goods, services, or information through developmentally appropriate oral communication, writing, or technology.
    Example: Practice frequently-asked questions for a field trip, or ordering at Arabic stores or restaurants
  1. Students work as a class or in small groups to discuss, propose, and develop school or community-related activities.
    Example: Discussing a plan for an Arabic cultural display for a school carnival, singing Arabic songs at different celebrations, etc.
  2. Students extend, accept, and refuse invitations, formal and informal, using expressions and behavior appropriate to varied situations.
    Example: Invite friends to a birthday party.

Goal Two - Culture

This standard emphasizes social interactions. Students interpret cultural patterns demonstrated by social interactions of native speakers of Arabic to identify cultural attitudes and values. 

Below is a Sample Progree Indicator for grade 8:

  • Students identify and explore the function of utilitarian products (household items, clothing, musical instruments, etc.) from various Arab countries and analyze how these products reflect the life style and norms of people in various Arab communities.
  • Students analyze expressive products of Arab cultures (music, films, puppet theaters, television series, etc.) that reflect the perceptions and norms of various Arab societies (Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian, Moroccan, etc.).
  • Students learn and appreciate the artistic contribution of Arab civilization to architecture, literature, music, dance, fashion, tapestry, art, and cuisine and understand Arab cultures through these items.
  • Students recognize the Arab’s contributions to science, agriculture, economics, medicine, astronomy, astrology, mathematics, chemistry, numerals, and social sciences and analyze the factors that led to the advancement of sciences in the world.

Goal Three - Connection

Connect with Other Disciplines and Acquire Information. Students can relate the information studied in other subjects to their learning of the Arabic language and cultures. Students can expand and deepen their understanding of and exposure to other areas of knowledge.

Below is a Sample Progree Indicator for grade 8:

  • Students discuss topics of other school subjects, including language arts, geographical terms and concepts, historical facts and  famous people, mathematical concepts, and scientific concepts.

Examples: Word problem solving in mathematics, recognizing historical people and important dates.

  • Students comprehend through illustrated story books and short videos topics that have been studied in other classes.
    • Students elaborate on their study of classroom geography by studying the various countries, cities, and major geographical elements of the Arab world.
      • Students recognize the contributions of Arab historical figures to the arts, sciences, mathematics, and literature.

Goal Four - Comparison

A comparison between English and Arabic will demonstrate for students both the similarities and differences of the two languages and cultures. Students from varied language and cultural backgrounds bring to the class knowledge and abilities that teachers can use as a starting point for making observations about the diverse ways in which languages and cultures meet the needs of all people. 

 Below is a Sample Progress Indicator for grade

      • Students hypothesize about the relationship among languages based on their awareness of cognates in both languages.

    ;    television

      • Students demonstrate an awareness of ways of expressing respect and communicating status differences in their own language and Arabic, for example, conversation with children vs. with adult.

    حضرتك، حضرتكم، أنت

      • Students demonstrate awareness that the Arabic language has distinctive sounds that must be mastered to communicate correctly.  

    صار سار، تاب طاب، كلب قلب

      • Students recognize differences in word order between Arabic and English.

    الصفة والموصوف: باب كبير، جملة قصيرة  

        • Students compare the organizational principle in the Arabic language of “general to specific” with that of their own language.
          Example: Compare and contrast dates/time written in Arabic and English.

Goal Five - Community

Participate in Multilingual Communities at Home and in the world. Students will use Arabic both within and beyond the school setting.

        Below is a Sample Progress Indicator for grade 8:

        • Students use Arabic to talk to or write to peers and other members of the local or international Arabic-speaking community about daily life, various experiences and special events.
        • Students use Arabic to write illustrated stories and reports to present to others.
        • Students interact with Arabic-speaking members of the community to learn about community relations and employment opportunities.
        • Students present information about the Arabic language and cultures through school or community assemblies and exhibits.
        • Students participate in special performances that demonstrate an understanding of Arab cultures. Examples: Dance, song, music, drama, poetry, etc.
        • Students use Arabic to participate in activities that benefit the school or community.
        • Students invite community members to participate in Arabic language or culture related school events. Examples: Career exploration, speakers, demonstrations, tutoring, clubs, etc.
        • Students participate in before-and-after school activities related to the Arabic language and culture.
        • Students participate in communication activities and projects with Arabic-speaking peers outside of school.