Canberra Academy of Languages – Programs

Languages offered to ACT students in Years 11-12 and early access students

Now enrolling for 2023

On this page

Languages offered | Implementation pattern | Courses and course levels | Curriculum | Scope of curriculum | Program of learning | Resources | Session times and venues | Staffing | Learning principles | Assessment | Reporting | Policies | Quick links

Languages offered sequence

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The Canberra Academy of Languages was established in September 2016. We have delivered senior secondary courses in French from 2017 to the present. At the start of Term 2 in 2019, we commenced delivery of a German program; and in 2020, we introduced programs in Spanish and Tamil. We introduced Japanese to our range of programs in 2021, and Korean in 2022, bringing to six the number of languages offered as of last year.

Additional possibilities for future years include Arabic, Indonesian, Hindi, and Italian. For Chinese, a viable central delivery program already exists and it is CAL policy not to duplicate existing provisions. Our long-term plan is to offer senior secondary programs in all accredited languages, other than those for which there is already a specialist education provideer.

Our programs complement existing senior secondary provisions in languages in the ACT and we maintain regular communication with students' day schools.

ACT BSSS logo Our curriculum from 2020 is based on the Modern Languages courses endorsed by the ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies (BSSS), which were implemented from the start of 2020. For details, see the list of courses on the BSSS website.

Implementation pattern for units offered

The implementation pattern for units offered by the Canberra Academy of Languages follows a two-year cycle so that the four units for a standard languages major are delivered over four semesters. The cycle then recommences. In enrolling, it is important to ensure that a student is not undertaking duplicate units. For this year and next year, the sequence is as follows:

Courses and course levels

Beginning courses under BSSS language eligibility guidelines are intended for students with minimal prior experience in the target language, taking account of three criteria: prior participation in school-based language studies; residency in a country where the target language is used; and use of the target language outside the classroom (for example at home).

Courses in languages at continuing level build on prior language learning, generally from high school language courses. They consolidate communication skills so that students can understand and use French in a wide range of familiar contexts.

Courses in languages at advanced level build from a broader set of capabilities, generally from experience gained through bilingual and immersion programs or family language background. They refine and extends communication skills so that students can understand and communicate key information and ideas in a broad range of contexts and can interact with a degree of ease and spontaneity.

ANU logo A sequence of semester units in ACT senior secondary studies leads to a minor (comprising two semester units) or a major (comprising at least 3.5 units, essentially a two-year sequence). A major in Languages is recognised for bonus points by the Australian National University, under the ANU Awards National Access Scheme.

ULPA logo For students interested in further studies in languages after Year 12, there is also information on options for studying languages at universities on the University Languages Portal Australia.

Basis of decisions on classes to run

We finalise decisions on classes to run each year on the basis of four criteria:


For information about our enrolment process, please follow this link to the details provided our home page.

Curriculum sequence

Modern Languages Framework

Scope of curriculum

Current curriculum options offered by the Canberra Academy of Languages encompass existing courses in languages, developed under the ACT BSSS Modern Languages Framework, for which there is sufficient demand. This complements opportunities that are available through the school system for students to continue studies in languages that they have undertaken in Years 7-10. For details about resources in each of our languages programs, see our companion website Languages.Org.Au.

Program of Learning

The program of learning for each course delivered by the Canberra Academy of Languages consists of four components: the CAL implementation of the BSSS Program of Learning; the unit outline; the term overviews; and the weekly modules. Unit outlines and term overviews are published on Languages.Org.Au and weekly modules are published on Languages.Org.Au and/or Google Classroom. For details about each program of learning, see the relevant pages for your selected language at

Documents for the CAL implementation of the BSSS Program of Learning are available via the links below:

Indigenous languages

In May 2017, the CAL Convener contacted the Executive Director of the ACT BSSS to propose the writing of a course for Indigenous languages of the Canberra region, supported by comparative study of a more fully documented language such as Yolngu matha. At this stage, a course in Indigenous languages per se has not been accredited, but a course in Aboriginal culture and languages has been approved.

Resources sequence


Languages.Org.Au logo General information about learning languages, as well as annotated resources for learners of selected languages, and some of the reasons for learning each of them, are available on our resources website Languages.Org.Au.

  • Our resources repository located at Languages.Org.Au. For each language taught, there are class pages with unit outlines, term overviews, assessment task descriptions, and links to our other in-house information such as assessment rubrics.
  • Online resources and guides. Suggested external resources are listed with annotations, such as guides, online courses, reference materials and news sites for each featured language.
  • Languages currently featured in our languages resources website (listed alphabetically by SIL ISO 693-3 codes):

    Google Classroom

    Resources and communications for each class are posted to Google Classroom. Students use their Canberra Academy of Languages accounts to access this resources space. Below are listed selected resources for support with access.

    Session times and venues sequence

    Ainslie School Classes are conducted after school hours at Ainslie School. Scheduling outside day school hours enables participants to commute from their day schools after completing other classes. Students have a two-hour session of face-to-face instruction each week during teaching weeks and they have two hours of programmed offsite work per week, supported by online resources.

    Days and times for programs of the Canberra Academy of Languages planned for 2023 are listed below.

    Ainslie School is at 33 Donaldson Street, Braddon 2612, and is centrally located, close to the City Bus Interchange and the Elouera Street Light Rail station.

    Ainslie School location

    Staffing sequence

    Teaching staff

    We are fortunate to have highly qualified teachers with a command of the target language that enables them to use it with confidence in routine classroom discourse. As we commence 2023 programs, our teachers are Beth McArthur (Japanese), Eleanor Body (Spanish), Uma Ramiah (Tamil), Selina Jaeck (German), Stella Lee (Korean), CĂ©cile Michels (French, Term 1), and Baba Alhadji (French from Term 2). Beth McArthur is Director of School. Orion Lethbridge is Director of Studies.

    CAL Staff 2021

    Teacher qualifications

    To ensure effective delivery of the curriculum, teaching staff members are required to have: TQI logo * To obtain TQI registration, teachers who did not complete all of their teaching qualifications in English in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the USA or Canada may need to provide TQI with certified evidence of either an IELTS or ISLPR assessment as described below (based on information from TQI website, current as of October 2019).

    Learning principles sequence


    The learning principles of the Canberra Academy of Languages provide a framework for staff members, students and families to promote a positive context for learning. These learning principles also support the purposes of the academy, as outlined in the statement of intent. ACT BSSS logo

    Underpinning beliefs

    The first three of these underpinning beliefs are quoted from the ACT BSSS Modern Languages Curriculum Framework. The fourth is based on the CAL rationale for learning languages. CAL logo

    Learning principles

    These learning principles are based on and adapted from those cited in the ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies Course Frameworks.
    1. Prior knowledge
      Learning builds on existing knowledge, understandings and skills and these also contribute to the collective capacity of the learning community.
    2. Deep knowledge and connectedness
      When learning is organised around major concepts, principles and significant real world issues, within and across disciplines, it helps students make connections and build knowledge structures and promotes authentic learning and student enterprise.
    3. Metacognition
      Learning is facilitated when students actively monitor their own learning and consciously develop ways of organising and applying knowledge within and across contexts. In a dynamic context of continuing social, technological and economic change, learning how to learn is an important focus of educational programs, alongside content knowledge.
    4. Self-concept
      Learners' sense of self and motivation to learn affects learning. A sense of self-efficacy among learners is a significant facilitator of progress in learning.
    5. High expectations
      Learning needs to take place in a context of high expectations. It is essential that these expectations are framed in the context of positive, respectful relationships among students and staff members. (For a discussion on the relationships aspect of this learning principle, see the Stronger Smarter Institute Position Paper on High-Expectations Relationships.)
    6. Individual differences
      Learners learn in different ways and at different rates. The role of the academy is to ensuring that there is a positive learning effect, reflected in measurable progress for each student. For students with disabilities, reasonable adjustments are required to facilitate equity in access and participation (refer to the Disability Standards for Education).
    7. Socio-cultural effects
      Different cultural environments, including the use of language, shape learner' understandings and the way they learn. These also enrich the learning setting by bringing contributions from different perspectives to collaborative learning processes.
    8. Collaborative learning
      Learning is a social and collaborative function as well as an individual one. This learning principle is closely related to each of the preceding learning principles and is directly connected to the second underpinning belief listed above..
    9. Explicit expectations and feedback
      Learning is strengthened when learning outcomes and criteria for judging learning are made explicit and when students receive frequent feedback on their progress. While summative assessment, or assessment of learning, is required as evidence in delivering senior secondary qualifications, formative assessment, or assessment for learning, is essential in informing and adjusting the delivery of learning programs.

    Assessment sequence

    Formative vs Summative Assessment - Future Focussed Learning Infographic

    Assessment procedures follow the guidelines provided in BSSS-accredited courses for Years 11-12 and in other BSSS publications as described below. As outlined in the Statement of Learning Principles, there are two key dimensions of assessment. These are formative assessment and summative assessment.

    Formative assessment

    Formative assessment, also described as assessment for learning, is designed to provide students, teachers, families and educational leaders of the academy with information in real time about progress towards learning goals outlined in the course documents. Formative assessment strategies are to be used in gauging whether expected progress is occurring, so that adjustments can be made if necessary in the delivery of learning programs and opportunities can be taken that reflect the capacities of particular classes and individuals.

    Formative assessment is undertaken within the first fortnight of each year as a benchmark indicator and is compared with summative assessment outcomes at the end of each semester, to inform ongoing teaching programs. Data from these processes is shared with individual students, their families, their home schools and educational leaders of the academy.

    Summative assessment

    Generally, our schedule for each unit comprises assessments in each of the four key "macro skills" in languages: listening, speaking, reading and writing. For details of the schedule in the current semester, please refer to the Events page on CAL website. For descriptions of the assessment tasks, please see below.

    Students' teacher-allocated unit scores are scaled either through a small-group moderation process by BSSS small-group moderators in the case of a small cohort within CAL, or across all CAL language groups when the CAL cohort is of sufficient size to generate meaningful rankings in the cohort. The resulting course scores from courses completed with CAL contributes to students' ATAR if they are one of their best four course scores, along with course scores from courses they undertake at their home schools.

    Teachers participate in BSSS Moderation Days and prepare moderation portfolios as required under BSSS processes.

    Assessment task descriptions

    Assessment task description Assessment task descriptions on the links below should be read in conjunction with unit outlines, term overviews, topic focus areas on class pages on Languages.Org.Au, and information provided via class portals on Google Classroom.

    Assessment rubrics

    Assessment rubrics These are the updated assessment rubrics for assessment tasks in 2023. Each macro skill (listening, reading, speaking, writing) is assessed in alternate semesters through an enquiry-based assessment task in one semester and in test conditions in the other semester. Enquiry-based assessment tasks are assessed out of 20, while assessment tasks in test conditions are assessed out of 30. Rubrics will be added here progressively for each assessment task during the semester.

    The rubrics below were last updated on 21 August 2023. If you have recently viewed a rubric, please refresh your browser page to ensure you are seeing the current version.

    Assessment Task 1 (AT1) - Listening 2023-S2

    The listening assessment task will be done in test conditions this semester.

    Assessment rubric for the Advanced Languages Listening Task Year 11
    Assessment rubric for the Advanced Languages Listening Task Year 12
    Assessment rubric for the Continuing Languages Listening Task Year 11
    Assessment rubric for the Continuing Languages Listening Task Year 12
    Assessment rubric for the Beginning Languages Listening Task Year 11
    Assessment rubric for the Beginning Languages Listening Task Year 12

    Assessment Task 2 (AT2) - Reading 2023-S2

    In normal circumstances, the reading assessment task will an enquiry based task this semester. If required for COVID safety reasons, it will be done as an online response task.

    Assessment rubric for the Advanced Languages Reading Task Year 11
    Assessment rubric for the Advanced Languages Reading Task Year 12
    Assessment rubric for the Continuing Languages Reading Task Year 11
    Assessment rubric for the Continuing Languages Reading Task Year 12
    Assessment rubric for the Beginning Languages Reading Task Year 11
    Assessment rubric for the Beginning Languages Reading Task Year 12

    Assessment Task 3 (AT3) - Speaking 2023-S2

    The speaking assessment task will be done in test conditions this semester.

    Assessment rubric for the Advanced Languages Speaking Task Year 11
    Assessment rubric for the Advanced Languages Speaking Task Year 12
    Assessment rubric for the Continuing Languages Speaking Task Year 11
    Assessment rubric for the Continuing Languages Speaking Task Year 12
    Assessment rubric for the Beginning Languages Speaking Task Year 11
    Assessment rubric for the Beginning Languages Speaking Task Year 12

    Assessment Task 4 (AT4) - Writing 2023-S2

    The writing assessment task will be an enquiry based task tthis semester. If required for COVID safety reasons, it will be an online response task.

    Assessment rubric for the Advanced Languages Writing Task Year 11
    Assessment rubric for the Advanced Languages Writing Task Year 12
    Assessment rubric for the Continuing Languages Writing Task Year 11
    Assessment rubric for the Continuing Languages Writing Task Year 12
    Assessment rubric for the Beginning Languages Writing Task Year 11
    Assessment rubric for the Beginning Languages Writing Task Year 12

    ACT BSSS assessment procedures

    Below is a brief summary. For more information, see the links at the end of this section.

    Completion of assessment items

    Late submission of work Moderation, calculation of unit scores and course scores Academic integrity Details about assessment procedures for senior secondary courses in the ACT are provided on the ACT BSSS website in the following documents: Whats the ATAR Attendance/Participation

    Reporting sequence

    CAL Reports The audience for reporting includes students, parents and students’ home schools. Reports provide ratings for outcomes based on the course framework achievement standards and an evaluation of work undertaken by the student. Reports are designed to be informative specifically about the work of each student. Attendance is summarised in terms of scheduled hours and hours attended or exempted. There are two stages of reporting for each semester:

    Policies, procedures and forms sequence

    Policies and other selected documents guiding and supporting the delivery of our programs are listed below.


    Other documents

  • CAL Absences Process, updated 7 July 2022
  • Guidelines for cyber safety and use of ICT
  • CAL Unit Evaluation Form 2023-S1
  • CAL Unit Evaluation Form 2032-S2
  • Links on CAL website home page

    Links on Languages.Org.Au

    Resources for learners of featured languages: Languages.Org.Au logo Note – naming source for tabs representing languages in the top navigation bar on our resources website: ISO 693-3 language codes.

    CAL on social media

    Last updated sequence

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