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 2017, 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 demonstrate proficiency in English and a World Language by meeting or exceeding the testing requirements listed below:
For English Language Proficiency: An ACT score of 18 or higher in the English subject area, or a 21 Composite score, are needed; students who had been designated as English Learners (ELs) at some point during their high school years can meet the English Language Proficiency requirement by meeting state ACCESS guidelines while in high school.
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 28th at a specific date and time chosen by their high schools to test their proficiency in one of the seven languages tested through the 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. Polish-speaking students will be able to sign up for a non-AAPPL test at a date and location to be determined in the Spring.
*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 following World Language requirements:
Score a 3 on an AP World Language exam taken by their junior year of high school;
Score I1 (Intermediate Low) through I4 (Intermediate Mid) on all 4 domains of the AAPPL world language assessment
*At the Elementary School level, the CPS Seal of Biliteracy will be awarded to:
5th graders who score “Novice Mid” in Form A of the AAPPL world language assessment
8th graders who score “Intermediate Low” in Form B of the AAPPL world language assessment
- Dual Language students will be tested through the LAS Links Spanish Language Assessment at their schools
Want to apply for the State 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 underclassmen can focus on a specific language of their choice to be better prepared for testing that will take place during their senior year. They can also start taking college prep coursework that will strengthen their skills around English Language Arts in preparation for the ACT and/or SAT.
OLCE is working on identifying elementary schools to be piloted this year for the CPS Seal of Biliteracy and will inform school principals directly of the selection. High school seniors planning to graduate in June of 2017 should notify their School Counselor, World Language Teacher, English Language Program Teacher, or School Administrator, of their intention to participate in this program. The online student application will become available by mid-November at cps.edu/seal. High school senior applicants who met the English proficiency guidelines will be offered the opportunity to test on their chosen World Language during the Spring of 2017 (high schools will be asked to test eligible seniors between March 1st and April 28th—OLCE will cover the cost of the AAPPL Assessment). If students demonstrate proficiency with another assessment accepted by ISBE, then CPS will accept the results to determine eligibility to receive the State Seal of Biliteracy. Please see ISBE’s website for a list of accepted assessments: isbe.net/seal-of-biliteracy. Only students projected to graduate in June of 2017 will be considered for the State Seal of Biliteracy.
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