French Second Language Commission

Changes recommended to French second-language programs and services (anglophone sector) (08/02/27)

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Feb. 27, 2008

FREDERICTON (CNB) - Beginning French second-language programming at Grade 5 with Intensive French for all students within the anglophone school system is among 18 recommendations released today by the French Second Language Commission.


The report was undertaken and completed between July 2007 and February 2008 by Dr. Jim Croll and Patricia Lee. The review is one of the key actions under the government's plan, When Kids Come First, to build the best education system in the country .

"Our work during the past seven months saw us review current models of French second-language instruction; engage students, teachers, educators and stakeholders; and analyze previous reports and data relative to the topic," Croll said. "The discussions and research guided us in advancing recommendations to the minister of education to assist in developing French second-language programs that will help students develop the skills needed to function effectively in their second language."

During the commissioner's review of second-language instruction, several key issues emerged:

  • Between 1995 and 2006 (from the start of Grade 1 to start of Grade 12), the dropout rate of students who registered for early immersion in Grade 1 is nearly 72 per cent (down to 414 in 2006 from 1,469 in 1995)
  • Of the 1,469 students who entered into an early immersion program in 1995, only 234 or 15.9 per cent achieved the Policy 309 goal of advanced or above by the spring of 2007.
  • Over 93 per cent of children with Special Education Plans are in the Core French Second Language Program. This number represents over 23.5 per cent of all 53,339 students in the core program.

  • Of the 4,063 students who enrolled in the FSL core program at Grade 1 in 1995, only 4.6 per cent remained in FSL in 2007 and less than 0.7 per cent attained the Policy 309 minimal goal of intermediate proficiency.

  • After four years of Core French, students prior to taking the piloted Intensive French program tested at the novice low level (students could only use isolated words or memorized expressions). Following the five-month Intensive French program, the average Grade 5 student advanced from novice low to a post-test of basic low; an increase of four levels (students gained the ability to use simple sentences and maintain very simple conversation with some spontaneity).

"During the course of our review we heard from parents, teachers, students, superintendents, official language commissioners, stakeholder groups, district education councils, and university representatives," Lee said. "Each had no shortage of opinions and views on learning French as a second language. We greatly appreciate the time everyone took to provide input during the review process and want to assure them that their views have been given full consideration."

Other recommendations made by the French Second Language Commission include:

  • Late immersion, beginning in Grade 6, be adopted as the sole French Immersion program for anglophone students in New Brunswick.

  • All students, core or immersion, will continue their French second-language programs until grade 12.

  • After grade 10, students who have chosen to study through Late Immersion, will not be required to study their Science and Mathematics courses in French and that schools shall have the option of offering Science and Mathematics courses for Late Immersion students in either French or English between grades 6 through 12.

  • An Enriched Core Program continue to be developed as a follow-up of Grade 5 Intensive French. This program will commence in Grade 6.

  • That every child, regardless of perceived capability, be equally encouraged to continue their education from Grade 5 onwards in the Late Immersion program.

  • That all other existing French Second Language programs in New Brunswick schools be 'grandfathered' out, commencing with the introduction of the two French Second Language programs recommended.

  • The 'target of ensuring that 70 per cent of all high school graduates will function effectively in speaking their second official language' continue to be the goal for French Second Language acquisition throughout New Brunswick.

"As the commissioners of this report, we believe we have provided Minister Lamrock and the Government of New Brunswick with a comprehensive review of French second-language programming and services," Croll said.

"We wish to take this opportunity to state publicly how honoured we have been to play a part in improving how French second language instruction is provided in New Brunswick's anglophone school system," Lee said.

The Report of the French Second-Language Commission on French-Second Language Programs and Services within the anglophone sector of the Department of Education is available online at


MEDIA CONTACT: Jordan O'Brien, Communications New Brunswick, 506-470-1537.