Seal of Biliteracy

 Illinois Seal of Biliteracy

The Illinois Seal of Biliteracy was created to recognize students who have a high level of proficiency in another language and English. The third state in the United States to adopt this program, Illinois is among the more than 20 states to have a Seal of Biliteracy.

Niles Township High School District 219 has elected to participate in this voluntary program by awarding “the State Seal of Biliteracy to any high school graduate who attains a high level of proficiency, sufficient for meaningful use in college and career, in a language other than English as evidenced by his or her attainment of a composite score of ‘intermediate high’ or its equivalent, on a standardized assessment that addresses the four domains of speaking, writing, listening and reading in the targeted foreign language.”  ISBE 23a1.442

Students who attain the Seal of Biliteracy will have it noted on their transcript and diploma.  This designation is offered to Seniors. Illinois Public Universities are required to give credit to students who achieve the Seal of Biliteracy.

For a better understanding of what it means to have Intermediate High skills in a second language, please click on this link.

Language skills at this high level of proficiency are usually demonstrated by students who have completed four or more years of a school program, spent a significant amount of time in another country where the language is spoken, or grown up with the language and can demonstrate skills in all areas. Languages that can currently be tested are Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), ESL, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Thai.

English language proficiency is demonstrated via state tests in English Language Arts such as the SAT (Score of 540) or ACCESS with a score of meets standard or higher (4.8 overall).

Students who do not meet Intermediate high, but who demonstrate a proficiency of Intermediate low can receive a notation of Commendation.

Because this is a voluntary program, students will have to pay the fee for the standardized assessment for the languages taught in District 219.  Should a student wish to qualify for the Seal of Biliteracy in a language that is not taught in our schools, they would have to demonstrate the Intermediate high proficiency in all four domains on a standardized exam or if one is not available via a portfolio method.  The student would have to pay the fees associated with the assessment.

 Current costs for a standardized test in the languages that the district teaches are estimated at $25 per group of assessments.  Costs for assessments in other languages would be researched and differ according to the language.  Students who have been granted a fee waiver will be exempt from payment.

Assessments for the Seal of Biliteracy will be given in both buildings in February.

Please click here to register