Seal of Biliteracy
The Seal of Biliteracy is a way for schools to recognize students who are proficient in two or more languages. Started in California, the seal of biliteracy is now recognized in 45 states including MISSOURI! It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to earn recognition and possibly high school and college credits for a language they already know. The chart below explains the requirements to receive the Seal of Biliteracy in the State of Missouri.
If your child qualifies for the Seal of Biliteracy reach out to their Guidance counselor today. As of 2021, approximately 22 school districts in the St. Louis metro area allow their students to qualify for the Seal of Biliteracy. If your school is a participating district please see the video and additional information below:
Frequently Asked Questions about the Seal of BiliteracyBasic Questions about the Seal of Biliteracy
Are there different versions of the Seal of Biliteracy?
Yes, there is the general Seal of Biliteracy and the Distinguished Seal of Biliteracy. The table below illustrates the different requirements.
Which school districts offer the Seal of Biliteracy?
Currently 22 school districts in St. Louis metropolitan area offer the Seal of Biliteracy including: Rockwood, Parkway, Ladue, Kirkwood, Francis Howell, Wentzville, Fort Zumwalt, Pattonville, and Clayton. For the complete list of school districts offering the Seal of Biliteracy in Missouri click here.
Is there an exam my child needs to take to receive the Seal of Biliteracy?
Yes, to receive the Seal of Biliteracy your child needs to take either the ACTFL test given by LTI or the STAMP 4s test given by Avant. The test your child needs to take will be determined by their guidance counselor. Once they take the test they need to score at least I3 in all categories.
Is there anything else my child needs to do to receive the Seal of Biliteracy?
In addition to taking an approved examination, students wishing to receive the Seal of Biliteracy must also demonstrate sociocultural competence.
How can my child demonstrate sociocultural competence?
Students can do this via writing an essay describing the benefits of knowing both Hindi and English, participating in bilingual community service such as volunteering or food drives, translation. Students can also demonstrate sociocultural competence by participating in cultural events such as festivals, dance, poetry readings. Anything which helps promote their culture, benefits others, and shows proficiency in the Hindi language and familiarity with cultural customs.
My child is not yet in high school, do they qualify for recognition?
Avant and ACTFL (LTI) both offer testing for younger students, and Missouri does recognize Pathway Awards for younger students however they are not yet available in our area. Both Parkway and Rockwood have begun the process of implementation for the Pathway Award but it is still 1-2 years away.
My child has only recently moved to the United States, are they still eligible?
Providing they meet all of the other criteria in terms of GPA, ACT score, and ability to demonstrate sociocultural competence they can take the test their Junior year like any other student. They also may need to score at least 4 in English on ACCESS.
When should my child apply for the Seal of Biliteracy?
Students may apply for the Seal of Biliteracy their Junior year of High School. Applications are generally accepted in the Fall Semester with testing conducted in the Spring Semester. Once all qualifications are met the student will be awarded the Seal and 2 credits in their senior year. The Seal of Biliteracy will also be marked in their transcripts.
What are the Pathway Awards?
Somewhat similar to the Seal of Biliteracy, the Pathway Award was developed as a way to encourage younger students to learn or maintain an additional language.
What grade levels are eligible for the Pathway Award?
In theory students of any age are eligible for the Pathway Award, however it makes most sense for upper level elementary students (grades 3+) and middle schoolers.
Which tests can students can to receive the Pathway Award?
Why should my child aim for the Pathway Awards?
Because it offers a sense of pride and tangible success for their efforts towards learning Hindi, furthermore it will make it much easier for them to receive the Seal of Biliteracy later as they will already be familiar with the process.
Which test should my child take ACTFL or Stamp 4s?
Both tests are highly regarded in academia so your child will be fine taking whichever exam is offered by their school.
What content is covered on the test?
Both the Stamp 4s and ACTFL cover the following domains: Reading, writing, listening and speaking.
How long does the test take?
On average the test will take between 2.5 and 4 hours for students to complete.
How much does the test cost?
The tests cost $5 per domain, a total cost of $20.
How is the test arranged?
The test will be arranged by your child’s school.
Are there any practice tests available?
Yes, your child can take practice tests on the Avant website. The practice test covers all 4 domains and will give your child a good feel for the actual test. Consider having them take the practice test a few times so they are comfortable with the process.
Benefits of the Seal of Biliteracy
What is the main benefit of receiving the Seal of biliteracy?
There are many benefits to receiving the Seal of Biliteracy. A sense of accomplishment, recognition from school, but most importantly the Seal of Biliteracy can help kids earn additional credits in high school and college.
How many credits can my child receive with the Seal?
Parkway will transcribe up to 2 credits to the student’s transcript senior year. Truman University will award between 6 and 14 credit hours to incoming students who have received the Seal. Every institution is different though so please check with your child’s guidance counselor for the most accurate information.
Can the Seal of Biliteracy help my child during the admissions process?
The Seal of Biliteracy can absolutely help your child stand out during the college admissions process. It helps demonstrate sociocultural knowledge, and it shows determination and a willingness to go beyond what is required.
What are some of the universities which recognize the Seal of Biliteracy?
The number of universities recognizing the seal is always growing. As of right now a few colleges which recognize the Seal of Biliteracy include: University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, Missouri State University, Missouri Southern State University, Northwest Missouri State University, and Truman State University.
Waiving Foreign Language Requirements
My child has been accepted to a university which doesn’t recognize the Seal of Biliteracy, how can we still waive the foreign language requirement?
While not every institution will waive the foreign language requirement, many have procedures in place. The first thing your child will need to do is contact their academic advisor and see if the University might be willing to recognize their exam or if the university offers it own alternative form of proficiency testing.
Which colleges and universities offer have Hindi departments or offer proficiency testing?
The table below lists universities which offer Hindi testing or programs:
|University||Hindi Program||Proficiency Testing|
|U. of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign||Yes||Yes|
|University of Washington||Yes||Yes|
|University of Arizona||No||Yes|
|Farmingdale State College||No||Yes|
|University of Minnesota||Yes||Yes|
|University of Pennsylvania||Yes||Yes|
|University of Texas-Austin||Yes||Yes|
|University of Michigan||Yes||Yes|
|Santa Clara University||No||Yes|
|Ohio State University||Yes||Yes|
|University of Iowa||No||Yes|
|Portland State University||No||Yes|