CPS State Seal of Biliteracy Initiative
What is Biliteracy?
Biliteracy is the ability to speak, read and write in two languages at a proficient level.
What is the State Seal of Biliteracy?
The State Seal of Biliteracy is a recognition given to high school seniors who have studied and can exhibit the ability to communicate in two or more languages (including English) by their senior year of high school. The State Seal of Biliteracy is highlighted on high school diplomas and serves as a statement of accomplishment for college admission and for future employment. To build on the success of the District’s State Seal of Biliteracy program, CPS introduced in 2017 the CPS Seal of Biliteracy Award, a new program for elementary and middle school students to be recognized for their biliteracy skills.
Why implement the State Seal of Biliteracy Initiative?
CPS considers this program to be consistent with our district’s priorities promoting multilingualism, biliteracy, and inter-cultural flexibility as key contributors to students’ success in college, career and life. The CPS Seal of Biliteracy Award will recognize students enrolled in a language education program that provides a pathway to the State Seal of Biliteracy in 12th grade. This recognition is not solely based on a students’ current language proficiency, but also in the continuing development of that language throughout the course of their elementary and middle school years in preparation for high school.
Who qualifies for the State Seal of Biliteracy?
The State Seal of Biliteracy is intended for all high school seniors who have mastered standard academic English and a world language. Students who are native English speakers and English Learners (ELs) are eligible for the State Seal of Biliteracy.
The CPS Seal of Biliteracy Award is intended for 5th and 8th graders who are enrolled in a language education program. Students who are native English speakers and English Learners (ELs) who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply:
Concurrent enrollment in a world language program with no minimum amount of years enrolled is required
All 5th and 8th graders currently enrolled in a dual language program are eligible
2 years of prior enrollment in a world language program, in addition to the current school year, is required
How will the State Seal of Biliteracy be awarded to high school seniors?
The Office of Language and Cultural Education will award the State Seal of Biliteracy to graduating seniors who completed an online application to be considered for the Seal and who demonstrate proficiency in English and a World Language according to the criteria listed by the Illinois State Board of Education: https://www.isbe.net/Documents/assessment-list.pdf.
*Students who come close to meriting the Seal at the high school level will receive the State Commendation toward Biliteracy, demonstrating progress toward full biliteracy in English and another language. Recipients of the Commendation must still meet English proficiency requirements and adhere to the World Language listed on the previous link
How will the CPS Seal of Biliteracy be awarded to elementary school students*?
At the Elementary School level, the CPS Seal of Biliteracy will be awarded to:
- 5th graders who score “Novice Mid” in a world language assessment
- 8th graders who score “Intermediate Low” in a world language assessment
For students who are enrolled in a Dual Language program, the following scores will be required:
- 5th graders who attain a level of 4 or higher on the LAS Links Español 4-5 Assessment
- 8th graders who attain a level of 4 or higher on the LAS Links Español 6-8 Assessment
* If students demonstrate proficiency with another assessment, approved by the Office of Language and Cultural Education (OLCE), CPS will review the results to determine eligibility to receive the CPS Seal of Biliteracy Award
Want to apply for the Seal of Biliteracy?
Elementary school students should consider enrollment at schools that offer at least 120 minutes of world language instruction on a weekly basis in order to assist in their development of language proficiency, where they can be assessed in 5th and 8th grades and receive the CPS Seal of Biliteracy.
High school students should focus on strengthening their skills on the world language of their choice and work towards enrollment in an AP or IB program. They should also focus on college prep coursework in preparation for the SAT.
Have more questions?
For more information, please contact Luis Narváez, Strategic Project Director for the Office of Language and Cultural Education at LNarvaez2@cps.edu or by phone at (773) 553-2077.