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CALP (Languages & Centre for Academic Language Proficiency)

What is CALP?

CALP continues to be a successful school-wide programme designed to give bi-lingual and multi-lingual students greater experience with the formal and academic English needed to access the curriculum. Our programme includes Academic Language Proficiency courses (ALP) for Form 1, 2 and 3 that prepare students to join IBMYP and HKDSE English courses. We also offer ALP as an elective in Form 4 and 5 that provides extra language support in addition to students’ regular English course. We work with teachers and students in other subject classes to support subject specific academic language across the curriculum.

What are our programme aims?

  • Take into account the cultural and linguistic diversity of our students

  • Recognise the central role that language plays in learning

  • Promote teaching practices that can be used across the curriculum to address the language-related needs of English Language Learners in an explicit way

  • Develop collaborative working relations with all teachers by promoting a shared understanding of how to support English Language Learners

  • Promote a whole-school approach to support English Language Learners


What is Academic Language Proficiency (ALP)?

ALP courses are designed for bi-lingual and multi-lingual students whose lack of exposure to academic English creates barriers to access the English curriculum. Our students have acquired basic interpersonal communicative skills but are lacking in what is called cognitive academic language proficiency which can take many years to fully develop. ALP courses are designed to be a bridge to IBMYP and HKDSE English courses and to give our students the formal language exposure and the skills to be successful in all of their subjects.


We use a functional grammar approach which recognises that everything we do in English to communicate and to get things done is a culturally determined genre that can be explicitly taught. Further, all language exists on a continuum from the more spoken, situational, and common place to the more written, abstract, and academic. We teach the specific genres of school: recount, narrative, procedure, information report, explanation, argument, discussion, and response, and the specific language features of these genres. We also teach the specialised language requirements of subjects such as Individuals and Societies, and Sciences, for example.


What are ALP learning aims?

  • Strengthen academic language skills in writing, reading, listening, speaking, viewing, and presenting

  • Develop confidence in the use of academic English

  • Encourage active learners of English across the curriculum inside and outside of school

How do we assess?

School-wide testing, including OOPT, Lexile, and CAT4, is used to identify language instruction needs and to track progress.


Formative assessment, the on-going monitoring of understanding, skills development, and the attitudes of our learners, makes up the bulk of our assessment and provides regular feedback and informs our instructional planning.


Summative assessment is framed by the MYP Assessment Criteria for Language Acquisition on the right:

To summarise, language has a central role in all learning, and the development of academic language is a key goal of CSS. The role of CALP is to address the development of academic English across the school.

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