In 2003, Germany instituted National Educational Standards (Bildungsstandards) for the lower secondary school system (grades 9 and 10) and in 2007 it decided also to develop National Standards for the upper secondary school system (Abitur). For foreign languages, both sets of standards are or will be based to a large extent on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This paper focuses on expected proficiency levels in speaking. The only large-scale study to date establishing proficiency levels at school is the DESI study which looked at scholastic achievement in German and English in grade 9 across all school types. The test used to evaluate speaking proficiency in English was the PhonePass Set-10 test. This paper discusses the validity of the results obtained and questions the rationality of some of the speaking profieciency expectations for foreign languages at German secondary schools.
The relationship between awareness and learning German was examined in project work undertaken with students of the degree course in International Media Studies at the University of Palermo. For many years now reflection upon and evaluation of learning processes have been regarded as an integral part of foreign language teaching. This article gives a detailed and differentiated account of research carried out over the last then years into the role of awareness in second and foreign language learning. Focusing on this aspect of consciousness in Richard Schmidt's definition and re-examining it in the light of Klaus Holzkamp's learning theory, a theoretical approach is worked out which links the concept of awareness at its three levels to interest in foreign language learning. This concept underlies the qualitative longitudinal research carried out in the academic year 2006/07, from which two cases and a decisive phase of the project have been chosen in order to exemplify individual levels of consciousness in relation to group learning of German.
The focus of this paper lies on the acquisition of the so called middle field (the space between the finite verb and its infinite constituents) and its representation in different German interlanguage varieties. To this end, we analyzed a corpus comprising 356 utterances, produced by eleven L2-speakers of German at different levels of proficiency. The analysis shows that, as can be expected, the length of the middle field grows gradually with the accumulation of linguistic competence. However, it seems that on lower levels of proficiency, the middle field can only be occupied by a certain type of elements, mostly particles or structurally simple adverbials whereas more complex structures such as prepositional phrases are not placed in the middle field. It is only at a relatively high level of L2 competence that speakers produce middle fields containing more complex structures.