Seal of Biliteracy
The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by the Anchorage School District to graduating juniors or seniors* in recognition of students who have attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. The Seal also recognizes, supports, and endorses students' first/home languages. The Seal encourages students to pursue biliteracy, honors the skills our students attain, and can be evidence of skills that are attractive to future employers and college admissions offices. It takes the form of a seal that appears on the diploma of the graduating senior and is also documented on their official transcript.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than sixty-five million U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home—a number that has been growing decade by decade since the 1970s. Nevertheless, that number represents only 20.7 percent of the total population, and only a fraction of this cohort speaks, reads, and comprehends a second language well enough to use it in their everyday lives. The vast majority of American citizens remain monolingual.
While English continues to be the lingua franca for world trade and diplomacy, there is an emerging consensus among leaders in business and politics, teachers, scientists, and community members that proficiency in English is not sufficient to meet the nation’s needs in a shrinking world, nor the needs of individual citizens who interact with other peoples and cultures more than at any other time in human history (Commission on Language Learning, 2017, American Academy of Arts & Sciences).
ASD juniors/seniors who earn the Seal of Biliteracy receive a qualification letter, a certificate signed by the Superintendent, and a bronze lapel pin. A gold seal is placed on the student's diploma and documentation of the Seal, by language, is recorded on the student's transcript.
*Changes for Spring 2021: Now both juniors and seniors may apply for the Seal of Biliteracy. This will allow students who qualify earlier to include this recognition in their college/university applications. Additionally, approved second language (STAMP, etc.) scores will now be accepted from the student’s sophomore, junior or senior years. Students must indicate which school year they are requesting scores to be from when they complete the application for the Spring 2021 Seal.
Students must meet the following requirements in order to be awarded the District’s Spring 2021 Seal of Biliteracy:
- Must be a junior or senior during the 2020-2021 school year
- Completion of all ASD English language arts graduation requirements through the end of grade 10 (4 semesters) with an overall ELA grade point average of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
- Demonstrate proficiency in one or more approved* world languages other than English:
*Current approved languages include: Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, ASL, Chin (Hakha), Chinese (Mandarin), Chuukese, Czech, French, German, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Ilocano, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Latin, Marathi, Marshallese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Somali (Maxaa and Maay Maay), Spanish, Tagalog (Filipino), Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese, and Yup’ik (Hawaiian is anticipated to be available in late spring)
ASD only covers the cost of STAMP 4S, WorldSpeak, SLPI, and AAPPL (Thai only).
Students requesting ASL, Latin, or Thai must contact us by sending an email to SealofBiliteracy@asdk12.org.
The Seal of Biliteracy is Designed to:
- encourage students to study languages
- certify attainment of biliteracy skills
- recognize the value of diversity
- provide potential future employers with a a method of identifying people with language and biliteracy skills
- provides colleges and universities with a method to recognize and give credit to applicants for attainment of high level skills in multiple languages
- prepare students with 21st century skills that will benefit them in the labor market and the global society
- strengthen intergroup relationships and honor the multiple cultures and languages in a community
Biliteracy refers to having a functional level of proficiency in each of two or more languages. The level of proficiency is not necessarily identical in each language.
Languages Currently Available
Current approved languages for spring 2021 include:
Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, ASL, Chin (Hakha), Chinese (Mandarin), Chuukese, Czech, French, German, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Ilocano, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Latin, Marathi, Marshallese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Somali (Maxaa and Maay Maay), Spanish, Tagalog (Filipino), Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese, and Yup’ik (Hawaiian is anticipated to be available in late spring.
(Questions regarding ASL or Latin should be directed to Brandon Locke).
The 2021 Seal of Biliteracy application process is completely online this year. Counselors will not need to verify ELA grade point averages this year.
Student completes the online Seal application and submits electronically.
- The Secondary Education office will verify ELA requirements.
- The World Language office will verify second language testing requirements. If students are requesting that the scores from their 10th or 11th grade year be used, this must be indicated on the application. For students who plan to take their second language assessment this spring, please see below.
- Student will receive an email from ASD regarding online testing (see below).
Please note: Applications must be received, and testing complete, no later than Friday, April 9, 2021 in order to guarantee that the student’s name be recognized for earning the Seal on their high school graduation programs. All applications received after this date will still be processed.
AT-HOME ONLINE TESTING
Students enrolled in world languages classes will not be taking the STAMP test this spring. However, junior or seniors who plan to take the test this spring for the Seal may still do so through Avant Assessment’s Secure At-Home Proctoring option (only available for Avant’s STAMP or WorldSpeak assessments).
Once a student’s online application is complete and ELA requirements verified, assuming the student is not requesting second language testing scores from their 10thor 11thgrade years, the student will receive a detailed email which will include: 1) how to register to take the test; 2) testing code needed to register; and 3) technology requirements. Students will work directly with the testing company (Avant) to register for and complete testing. Once testing is complete and scored, ASD World Languages Dept. will verify scores through Avant’s database and students will be notified.
Online Proctoring Computer/Operating System Requirements:
- PC Computers with Windows 7, 8, or higher
- Mac Computers with OSX 10.13 High Sierra or higher
- Note: Chromebooks and tablets are currently not supported by the online proctoring service; students who only have access to a Chromebook or tablet should email Sealofbiliteracy@asdk12.orgto make other arrangements.
Additional Important Requirements per the Online Proctoring Service:
- You will need to have a web camera
- You will need a smart phone either iOS or Android
- You will need speakers and a microphone OR a headset with microphone
- You will need photo ID when scheduling your test and again when you take the test
- This is a timed test; short breaks are not allowed so properly prepare yourself
INFORMATION/RESOURCES FROM AVANT ASSESSMENT:
Please make sure to read and complete the Technology Preparation steps before registering for the test.
PREPARING FOR THE AVANT ASSESSMENT
Follow the steps below to ensure proper setup for computer settings.
Step 1: Review AVANT's Remote Technology Requirements
This guide provides technical information for computers and networks to help you prepare for using Avant’s assessments. Review the Remote Testing Technology Guide here:
Step 2: Review AVANT’s Remote Test Taker Guide
These guides provide information and instructions specific to the assessment to help you prepare for taking the actual test or a sample test. Review the specific Remote Test Taker Guide for the test you will be taking here:
Step 3: Complete a Sample Test
This is a quick and easy way to verify your technology is properly configured. Avant Sample Tests use the same technologies as the actual test so you will experience any technical issues in the Sample Test before registering for the actual test. Please make sure you can record your voice and listen back to your recording. If no button to listen back to your recording appears this means no recording was captured:
NOTIFICATION OF RESULTS
Students will be notified of their test results via email. Exact dates will depend upon when student completes testing and when the test is scored and returned to ASD.
Certificates, lapel pins, and gold-embossed Seals will be sent to the student’s graduating high school for end of the year celebrations. The World Language office will add the Seal designation to the student’s transcripts.
“Language and communication are at the heart of the human experience. The United States must educate students who are equipped linguistically and culturally to communicate successfully in a pluralistic American society and abroad. This imperative envisions a future in which ALL students will develop and maintain proficiency in English and at least one other language, modern or classical. Learners who come from non-English-speaking backgrounds should also have opportunities to develop further proficiencies in their first language.”
-- World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages
All high schools have a building coordinator for the Seal of Biliteracy; please contact this individual for any questions regarding the Seal of Biliteracy at these schools:
- Bartlett: Brenda Hearn
- Chugiak: Kristi Senden
- Dimond: Betsy Paskvan
- Eagle River: Jennifer Riksen
- East: Angela Nishimura*
- Polaris K-12: Mira Starr
- Service: Fauna Reynvaan
- South: Elizabeth Dick
- Steller: Rosalie Hohnstein
- West: Will Kimball