Veronica Smith said: "The guidelines are designed to minimise change for teachers while improving experience and attainment for pupils, thus improving their motivation and perhaps just persuade them to take up foreign languages after S4."
The Standard grade changes will forge a stronger place for writing, which has lost out in the drive to boost oral skills.
From the 2002 exams, pupils will produce work in writing for folios which will then be sent to the Scottish Qualifications Authority for marking, effectively making it an integral part of the exam as opposed to the optional status it now enjoys.
Reading and writing would account for 35 per cent and 15 per cent of the exam, while speaking would have a 30 per cent weighting and listening 20 per cent.
Pupils will also be given written advice on what the Standard grade course is designed to achieve to combat the unrealistic expectations many hold.