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 the spring of their senior year of high school. The State Seal of Biliteracy is a statement of accomplishment for college admission and for future employers.
Why implement the State Seal of Biliteracy Initiative?
Though school district participation in this initiative is voluntary, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) considers the State Seal of Biliteracy to be consistent with the current district priorities and believes it aligns with the CPS vision of promoting multilingualism, biliteracy, and inter-cultural flexibility as key contributors to students’ success in college and career.
Who qualifies for the State Seal of Biliteracy?
The State Seal of Biliteracy is intended for all students who have mastered standard academic English and any other language, including American Sign Language. Students who are native English speakers, English Learners (ELs) and/or bilingual speakers will be eligible for the State Seal of Biliteracy.
Who will award the State Seal of Biliteracy?
During the Spring of 2016, the Office of Language and Cultural Education (OLCE) will award the State Seal of Biliteracy to graduating seniors who completed an online application to be considered for the Seal and who demonstrated proficiency in English and a World Language according to the testing requirements listed below:
For English Language Proficiency: An ACT score of 18 or higher in the English subject area was needed, except for students who had been designated as English Learners (ELs) at some point during their high school years. Current or former high school ELs could have met the English Language Proficiency requirement by meeting state ACCESS guidelines.
For World Language Proficiency: Eligible students will be invited to take the ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages, or AAPPL, between March 1st and April 30th at a date and time chosen by their high schools to test their proficiency in one of the seven languages tested by the AAPPL: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish. Students must receive a score of Intermediate High or higher to be awarded the State Seal of Biliteracy. As an alternative option, high school seniors who have already scored a 4 or 5 on an AP World Language exam administered by The College Board prior to the applicant’s senior year of high school would be exempt from having to take the AAPPL language assessment and will be considered proficient in that World Language for the State Seal of Biliteracy. Currently, AP World Language exams are available in Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish.
Want to apply for the State Seal of Biliteracy?
Elementary School students, as well as High School Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors can focus on a specific language of their choice to be better prepared for either the AP World Language exam prior to their Senior year or the testing that OLCE will administer during their Senior year. Students planning to graduate in June of 2017 should check back during the Fall of 2016 for the online student application they will need to complete in order to become eligible. 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. To watch an informational video webinar on the State Seal of Biliteracy implementation by the Chicago Public Schools, please click here.