Over 80 students to compete in National French Contest

Claire Goldsmith

By Claire Goldsmith

More than 80 upper school students will compete in the National French Contest on March 14.

Called Le Grand Concours in French, the test is sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French. The national test challenges students’ understanding of spoken and written French with questions on grammar, syntax, vocabulary, French culture and interpretation of reading passages.

“This test is an excellent way for students to demonstrate their skill in French,” said French teacher Marilyn Shield, coordinator for Le Grand Concours. “I’m extremely happy when my students’ achievements are nationally recognized.”

Students in French II through French V registered for the test through their teachers at the beginning of the new semester and will take the hour-long exam after school in Ahmanson Lecture Hall.

Many classes have practiced for the exam by taking previous years’ tests, comprised of 25 questions based on audio passages or descriptions and 40 multiple choice, including reading comprehension.

 “The audio portion is a little intimidating because [the speakers] have different accents,” said Angus O’Brien ’14, who will take the examination with nearly his entire French III Honors class, “but I like the challenge.”

Though students in seventh through 12th grade can take different levels of the exam, the middle school French program has never registered its students for the contest.

During the summer, Matthew Kelson ’14 practiced for a placement exam using different levels of previous Grand Concours tests.

“I wish I had been able to take it at the Middle School,” said Kelson.  “I think I could have done well and taking it before would have helped me practice for the harder levels.”

The results of the competition will be announced in April and an awards ceremony will be held to honor regional and national winners in early May.