Seal of Biliteracy

Seal of Biliteracy

SMUSD now offers the Seal of Biliteracy to graduating seniors who have demonstrated advanced proficiency in two or more languages. The Seal of Biliteracy highlights individuals with multilingual and multicultural competence to potential employers and
provides universities with a method of identifying and giving credit to applicants with high levels of proficiency in a second language.
Click to download resources:
High School Bilingualism Award // Informational Letter 2022


What is the Seal of Biliteracy?
The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school, school district, county office of education, or state in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. Our vision is to help students recognize the valued of their academic success and see the tangible benefits of being bilingual. The Seal of Biliteracy takes the form of a gold seal that appears on the transcript or diploma of the graduating senior and is a statement of accomplishment for future employers and for college admissions.

Why Apply for the State Seal of Biliteracy? Research has demonstrated that the students who have received a Seal of Biliteracy are perceived as more desirable to employers across all industries surveyed. Sixty-six percent of employers responded that they would prefer a bilingual employee to a monolingual English speaker and that students who earned a seal would have an advantage in the hiring process. Colleges and university have also recognized the seal when making admissions decisions and even when awarding credit for foreign language coursework.

How do students apply for the California State Seal of Biliteracy? Schools will not be identifying students who qualify for this award. Students interested in applying should contact their school counseling office to pick up an application. Applications are also available for download from your school’s website. Students will be responsible for applying for and meeting the required application deadline they are interested. Completed applications, including all verification documents must be turned into your school’s counseling office by the advertised due date. Incomplete applications or applications turned in after the deadline will not be considered.

How is the California State Seal of Biliteracy awarded? A gold, embossed seal will be placed on the student’s diploma and it is referenced on the transcript. Is there a cost to students for the Seal? No fee is charged to students or schools who participate in the California State Seal of Biliteracy program.

Do language classes taken in middle school count for the California State Seal of Biliteracy? Classes receiving high school credit count towards the requirements for the California State Seal of Biliteracy. At this time, Spanish I courses taken at an SMUSD middle school are placed on the high school transcript and count toward the requirement.

Do classes taken outside of SMUSD count for demonstrating proficiency in another language? Pre-approved language classes taken at the college/university level will be honored provided students receive high school credit for the classes, meet the four-year equivalency requirement, and pass the SMUSD Language Proficiency Test. Students are responsible for providing the supporting documents.

I am currently enrolled in my fourth year of a language, and I won’t have completed the course before the applications are due. If you meet all other eligibility criteria and are currently enrolled in the course to meet the language proficiency requirement, you can still submit your application by the published due date. Your application will be identified as “conditionally accepted” until final grades are posted in June. As long as you finish the course with the appropriate grades, you can expect to receive your Seal of Biliteracy with your diploma.

What if I am taking the SAT or AP exam for the language this spring? Can I still apply? First, check to see if you meet the eligibility criteria in other ways (e.g. through coursework). If not, you can still submit your application by the published due date. Your application will be identified as “conditionally accepted” and you will receive your diploma without a Seal until you submit your exam score report. School offices are closed for the summer, so you will need to wait until August to submit your exam report and receive your Seal of Biliteracy. You must submit your exam score report no later than August 15 or your application will be considered incomplete and you will not receive a Seal.

What if I took AP Spanish my junior year and did not take the test (or did not pass)? Do I qualify? If the student has taken four years of a language (inclusive of middle school), attained an overall GPA of 3.0 in the language, and passed the SMUSD Language Proficiency Test, he or should would meet the eligibility requirement in junior year. An application must be submitted in their senior year. I started my freshman year in ELD classes.

I am now a senior in English 12. Do I meet the requirements for completing the graduation requirements for English? If a student has met all requirements for graduation, completed 40 English credits with an overall grade point average of 2.0 or higher, and scored “Standard Met” or “Standard Exceeded” on the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment, and demonstrated proficiency on the CELDT or ELPAC (if classified as an English Learner), the student would meet the requirements demonstrating proficiency in the English language.

Does the California State Seal of Biliteracy fulfill the foreign language requirement for UC or CSU schools? The California State Seal of Biliteracy does not fulfill the foreign language requirements for UC or CSU schools.

I am reclassified as Fluent English Proficient. Do I meet the requirements for demonstrating proficiency in the English Language? A student who is classified as RFEP must still meet all requirements for graduation, complete 40 English credits with an overall grade point average of 2.0 or higher and score “Standard Met” or “Standard Exceeded” on the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment. A student classified as RFEP does not need CELDT/ELPAC scores.

I am fluent in a language other than English, but did not take language classes in high school. Can I qualify? Students must demonstrate language proficiency through testing (either an Advanced Placement or SAT Subject Test) or through coursework (4-year equivalency and the SMUSD Language Proficiency Test). If your language proficiency cannot be assessed through one of these means, there is not currently a way in which a student is able to demonstrate proficiency and earn the seal.

Alumnos que Califican:

El superintendente premiará el Sello de Alfabetización doble a los alumnos que completen los requisitos para un diploma de la preparatoria y que cumplan todo a continuación:


1. Competencia en inglés.
     ● Completado todos los requisitos de Lengua y Literatura de inglés para la graduación con un GPA de 2.0 o mayor en esas clases.
     ● Obtenido el nivel de “Estándar Cumplido” en la sección en inglés de la evaluación  Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment en el grado 11. SOLAMENTE para la Clase del 2022: Se aceptarán puntuaciones de iReady demostrando competencia en inglés al nivel del Grado 11.
2. Competencia en un idioma distinto al inglés. Los alumnos deben cumplir con UNO de los requisitos de elegibilidad a continuación para demostrar competencia.
     ● Pasar un examen de Curso Avanzado Acreditado - Advanced Placement de un idiom adicional con una puntuación de 3 o mayor.
     ● Pasar un examen de Evaluación de Rendimiento hacía la Competencia en Idiomas - Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL siglas en inglés) con una puntuación mediana en general intermediaria de 4 (1-4) y por lo menos 1-3 en TODAS las subcategorías (Audición y Dictación Interpersonal, Lectura Interpretativa, Audición Interpretativa y Lectura de Presentación.)
     ● Pasar una Prueba de Materia SAT - SAT Subject Test para un idioma adicional con una puntuación de 600 o mayor.
     ● Completar un curso de estudio de cuatro años en la preparatoria (o equivalente) de un idioma global con obtención de un GPA en general de 3.0 o mayor en ese curso de estudio Y pasar un examen de competencia oral del SMUSD.
     ● Completar un curso de equivalencia de cuatro años de un idioma global en una facultad comunitaria o universidad con obtención de un GPA en general de 3.5 o mayor en ese curso de estudio.

Eligible Students:

The Seal of Biliteracy shall be awarded by the superintendent to pupils who complete the requirements for a high school diploma and who meet all of the following:


1. Proficiency in English.
     ● Completed all English Language Arts requirements for graduation with an overall GPA of 2.0 or above in those classes.
     ● Attained the level of “Standard Met” on the English portion of the CAASPP in the eleventh grade.
2. Proficiency in a Language Other Than English. Students must meet ONE of the following eligibility requirements for demonstrating proficiency.
     ● Pass an additional language Advanced Placement exam with a score of 3 or higher.
     ● Pass an additional language Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL) exam with an overall Intermediate Mid Score of 4 (1-4) and at least 1-3 on ALL subcategories (Interpersonal Listening and Speaking, Interpretive Reading, Interpretive Listening and Presentation Writing.)
     ● Pass a SAT Subject Test for an additional language with a score of 600 or higher.
     ● Complete a four year high school course of study (or equivalent) in a World Language with an attainment of an overall 3.0 GPA or above in that course of study AND pass an SMUSD oral proficiency exam.
     ● Complete a four year equivalent course of study in a World Language at a community college or university with an attainment of an overall 3.5 GPA or above in that course of study.

*If the student is currently an English Learner, the student must receive a “4” on the ELPAC.

Students who meet all requirements will receive the Seal of Biliteracy on their high school diploma.
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