The Latin Advantage

By Mrs. Amy Olsen (Lower School Latin Teacher at TCA)

Latin is the key to the vocabulary and structure of the Romance languages and to the structure of all the Teutonic languages, as well as to the technical vocabulary of all the sciences and to the literature of the entire Mediterranean civilization, together with all its historical documents.

Dorothy Sayers, The National Review

Across the nation, studies have shown Latin to be effective in improving…

SAT Scores

Studies conducted by the Educational Testing Service show that Latin students consistently outperform all other students on the verbal portion of the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT).

 20022003200420052006200720082009
Latin666672674681672678677676
All Students504507508508503502502502
French637638642643637637632631
German622626627637632632627630
Spanish581575575573577574565557
Hebrew629628630620623622611619

2002-2009 Taken from Table 6 in College-Bound Seniors — A Profile of SAT Program Test Takers. 2009 data taken from 2010 College-Bound Seniors-Total Group Profile Report.

College Grade Point Averages

A study of freshman college student performance conducted by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1985 yielded the following results:

LanguageGPA
Latin Students2.89
No Foreign Language2.58
Spanish Students2.76
German Students2.77
French Students2.78

Reading Achievement

In the District of Columbia, elementary school students who studied Latin developed reading skills that were five months ahead of those who studied no foreign language and four months ahead of those who studied French or Spanish. Two years earlier, the same students had been excluded from foreign language classes because of substandard reading performance.

Vocabulary Skills

In Philadelphia, students in the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades received 15 to 20 minutes of daily instruction in Latin for one year. The performance of the Latin students was one full year higher on the Vocabulary Subtest of the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) than the performance of matched control students who had not studied Latin.

Math Problem Solving

Sixth-grade students in Indianapolis who studied Latin for 30 minutes each day for five months advanced nine months in their math problem solving abilities. In addition, the students exhibited the following advances in other areas:

  • Eight months in world knowledge
  • One year in reading
  • Thirteen months in language
  • Four months in spelling
  • Five months in science
  • Seven months in social studies

Latin the Basic Language and Culture Bolsters Learning

  • Ability to read classical authors in the original language
  • Ability to access key documents of the Western world
  • Ability to avoid the biases and misconceptions of translators of classical authors
  • Direct contact with the wisdom and thought of the classical and medie

© 2011 Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc.