Language Acquisition



QACI offers the opportunity for students to study one of three mainstream languages, French, Spanish or Mandarin. Students must study a mainstream language for their Year 10 language program.

The course is designed for students who have had very little or no prior experience with the language. However, depending on the proficiency levels of the cohort, provision may be made to cater for language learners to study at a more advanced level.

This subject aims to enable learners to:

  • Communicate basic ideas effectively within a prescribed range of situations
  • Understand and use a limited range of vocabulary in common usage
  • Understand and use accurately essential written and spoken forms of the language in a limited range of situations
  • Use a register that is generally appropriate to the situation
  • Show an awareness of some cultural elements related to the language studied.

These subjects prepare students for the IB Diploma ab initio program by:

  • Practising speaking, listening, reading and writing to develop vocabulary, grammar and general sentence structure
  • Using a range of media and cultural stimuli to present open ended tasks based on topics studied
  • Looking at differences between their own culture and target language culture.

When studying Language Aquisition in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Language ab initio (beginner) is a language acquisition course designed to provide students with the necessary skills and intercultural understanding to enable them to communicate effectively in a range of situations where the language studied is spoken. The course is designed for students who have very little or no prior experience with the language. To maintain the integrity of the IB philosophy, if a student is already proficient in a language or has had extensive tuition in this subject they are encouraged to consider studying at a standard or higher level or another language at ab initio level. In certain cases, a proficiency test may be necessary to determine appropriate course of study.

​IB Diploma Assessment
Productive Skills
Paper 1
(externally assessed)
1 hour
Receptive Skills
Paper 2
​Reading Comprehension
Listening Comprehension
(externally assessed)
​25% 1 hour
25% 45 minutes
​Productive Skills
Individual Oral
​Individual Oral
(internally assessed, externally moderated)
15 minutes preparation
7-10 minutes

Language B is an additional language acquisition course designed for students with some previous learning of that language. This may be studied at either SL or HL. The main focus of this course is on language acquisition and development of language skills through the study and use of a range of written and spoken material. Such material will extend from everyday oral exchanges to literary texts and will be related to the culture concerned. SL and HL are differentiated by the recommended number of teaching hours, the depth of syllabus coverage, the study of literature at HL, and the level of difficulty and demands of assessment and assessment criteria.

​IB Diploma Assessment
Standard Level

Higher Level
​Paper 1 Productive Skills 25%
Writing exam 1 hour 15 mins
Writing exercise 250-400 words
​Paper 1 Productive Skills 25%
Writing exam 1 hour 30mins
Writing exercise 450-600 words
​Paper 2 Receptive Skills 50%
Reading Comprehension 1 hour
Listending Comprehension 45 mins
Paper 2 Receptive Skills 50%
Reading Comprehension 1 hour
Listending Comprehension 1 hour
​Individual Oral 25%
12 - 15 minutes
​Individual Oral 25%
12-15 minutes

Last reviewed 26 May 2023
Last updated 26 May 2023