In 2019, Hartford Public Schools began offering the Connecticut Seal of Biliteracy, an award given to students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation.
What is the Seal of Biliteracy?
The Seal of Biliteracy recognizes the value of students’ academic efforts and the tangible benefits of being bilingual and biliterate. It prepares students to be 21st-century global citizens in a multicultural, multilingual world. The Seal acknowledges that mastery of two or more languages is a valuable asset for both individuals and their communities. It also provides recognition to English learners for the great value of developing English and maintaining their primary language.
What does the Seal measure?
The Seal of Biliteracy measures a student’s ability to use a language for real-world purposes. To attain the Seal, students’ use of the language must be demonstrated, rather than their knowledge about the language. Biliterate students should be able to handle a variety of tasks in social situations, write compositions and essays, be understood by native speakers, read about a variety of topics, and explain the relationship between the cultures and traditions of their languages.
Benefits for students
The Seal of Biliteracy will be affixed on a student’s diploma and appear on his/her transcript. This prestigious recognition:
- Encourages all students to pursue proficiency in at least one language other than their native language.
- Rewards students for their level of proficiency or mastery of a language.
- Highlights second language ability as a key 21st-century skill in college, career, and life.
- Shows potential employers that a student has the ability to effectively communicate with people from two or more languages and cultures, both orally and in writing.
Who is eligible for the Seal?
The Seal of Biliteracy may be awarded to eligible senior students who are:
- enrolled in upper-level World Language courses
- Heritage Speakers or English Learners who speak and study a different language at home (A Heritage Speaker is a student who has exposure to a language other than English at home through family members and cultural background, but who is not a native speaker)
Eligible students must:
- Take either the AAPPL, ALIRA, or OPI/ WPT language proficiency assessment in their senior year and score an Intermediate Mid proficiency or higher in speaking, writing, reading, and listening
- Fulfill all English Language Arts requirements for graduation
What other states award the Seal of Biliteracy?
Currently, 37 states and Washington DC have approved a statewide Seal of Biliteracy.
What people are saying:
“The University of Connecticut supports the objectives of the Connecticut Seal of Biliteracy in our admission process. which acknowledges that mastery of two or more languages is a valuable asset for both individuals and their communities. We know that proficiency in multiple languages provides entry into cross-cultural understanding, which is something of great value in the UConn community.”
Statement from the University of Connecticut
“Receiving the Seal of Biliteracy, [and] being able to take the [OPI and WPT] test was an amazing and surprising experience for me personally. Growing up there was never really a time where I was acknowledged for speaking another language especially since it is an uncommon language. I was honestly surprised when I found out that there was actually an opportunity for me to be tested for my fluency in Twi, and for someone to translate it mainly because, you cannot even find Twi on Google Translate, and [many] language apps do not have the option to teach Twi… I give a lot of credit to the Seal of Biliteracy testing for including many languages, which shines a light on students with uncommon languages.”
Abena K., Great Path Academy, Class of 2019
“[Through] achieving the Seal of Biliteracy I have been able to express myself better with the people I know. At my University I have been able to take classes with a diversity of people and have been able to relate on achievements because we are bilingual. It has opened many doors and more to come for my future. Thank you for granting me this opportunity.”
Kerianne P. Great Path Academy, Class of 2019
Want to know more about qualifying for the Seal of Biliteracy?
If you are interested in learning more about Hartford Public Schools guidelines for the Seal of Biliteracy, please contact Kim Winfield, World Language Instructional Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit: https://ctcolt.org/seal-of-biliteracy/