by Mischa Antonio, French
Each year, Eighth Grade French students take part in ‘Le Grand Concours’, an annual national French contest sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French, and this year was no different with Grace students earning accolades in the national event.
In spite of the pandemic and the difficulties it brought for students and schools, nearly 30,000 students in all 50 states competed in the 2021 event, including Grace eighth graders who did exceptionally well.
Students of French in grades 1-12, in all 50 states and abroad, take a written test and compete against students with similar educational backgrounds.
Eighth grade students participate in the contest each March. That in mind, there is no specific preparation that takes place. Instead, students continuously prepare for the test throughout their education in the French language. ‘Le Concours’ is designed to test the cumulative learning that has taken place during the years of study and the ability the students have to apply their knowledge to a variety of contexts on the spot.
As a class we discuss the vocabulary, topics and grammar points that are likely to present themselves. But with no definitive list of prerequisites for the exam, students are very much required to demonstrate their language skills in real time and in real world situations. Students do have access to previous contest papers and so I encourage them to practice in the weeks before so that they are familiar with the format.
There are two parts to the contest : Part A is Listening Comprehension and Part B is Reading Comprehension. Students have an hour to complete the contest online, selecting the correct answers from multiple choice answers.
This year there were 2,257 students enrolled in Level 01. 521 of these students received an award. The awards are allocated for the following achievement:
- Platinum award: Highest score in level/division (National rank 1)
- Gold Award: Students in 95th percentile
- Silver Award: Students in 90th or 85th percentile
- Bronze Award: Students in 80th or 75th percentile
- Mention d’Honneur award: Students in 70th, 65th, 60th, 55th, or 50th percentiles
Grace students did exceptionally well with four students achieving Gold Awards and two achieving Silver Awards.
Sylvie F-E, Elizabeth G., Josephine R. and Tenley S. earned Gold Awards and Juliette R. and Javier C. earned Silver Awards.
In the New York Metropolitan Division, only eight Silver and 8 Gold Awards were awarded in their level; Grace Students made up over one third of the recipients.
At the end of 8th grade students achieve a very high level of French at Grace and are able to communicate very effectively in written and spoken French. They demonstrate excellent comprehension skills and a considerable knowledge of Francophone culture and language.
Grace language students leave Middle School as competent and confident linguists who continue their language journeys in High School and achieve excellent results.
I am very proud of the work the students do at Grace and I am constantly impressed by their achievements.
I would like to congratulate this year’s Eighth graders on their success in the most difficult of years, and I look forward to working with the new 8th graders next year!