Washington State Seal of Biliteracy

Washington State Seal of Biliteracy

Contact Information

Veronica Trapani-Huebner

Associate Director of Content, World Languages

The Washington State Seal of Biliteracy (RCW 28A.300.575, WAC 392-410-350) was established in 2014 with the intent to recognize public high school graduates who have attained an intermediate-mid proficiency in English and one or more world languages, including American Sign Language and Tribal languages. Students in all Graduation Pathways are eligible to earn the Seal. Participating school districts with students eligible to receive the Seal shall place a notation on a student's high school diploma and high school transcript indicating that the student has earned the Seal.

Please see the Seal of Biliteracy Rules Change 2022 Bulletin (WAC 392-410-350) to review the new requirements for earning the Seal of Biliteracy!

How to Earn the Seal of Biliteracy

STEP 1: Show proficiency in a language other than English

STEP 2: Show proficiency in English

STEP 3: Graduate

District Implementation Guidance

Step 1: Designate One Contact Person

Designate one point person to coordinate all assessment and reporting.

  • Earning the Washington State Seal of Biliteracy (the Seal) has multiple steps and having one designated person to coordinate all of them lessens the chance of losing information along the way.
  • The individual will need to be able to communicate and coordinate with different groups, including, but not limited to, students, parents, educators, schools, Tribes, assessment provider representatives, OSPI, and registrars.
  • Different roles within districts can manage Seal of Biliteracy assessment and reporting.
  • Depending on the need and size of your district, it can be:
    • School Counselor
    • Assessment Coordinator
    • Administrator
    • Special Programs Director
    • Multilingual/World Language Educator or Department Head
Step 2: Identify Students

Identify students in your district who might qualify for the Seal.

  • Graduation Pathways are eligible to earn the Seal.

    • Prioritize students in grades 11 and 12 to assess if time, funding, or credit is an issue.
    • Students are eligible to assess at any time, but the suggested timeframe begins at grade 8 for high school placement purposes, if necessary. If placement is not needed, then grade 9 is appropriate.
  • At the beginning of the school year, review all home language surveys. Contact students and families with a home language other than English to see if they might like to earn the Seal of Biliteracy.
    • Prioritize grade 12 students, incoming grade 9 students, and new students at the beginning of the year and check in with all others during first semester.
  • Reach out to students enrolled in advanced levels of World Language classes offered in your district.
    • Students in World Language Dual Credit courses (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Cambridge International) who take the associated exams can potentially qualify for the Seal.
    • Students enrolled in language classes up through level III or IV can take one of the approved assessments for the Seal.
  • Communicate with families to see if their children have had out-of-school language learning experiences, such as attending community-language programs or traveling and living abroad.
  • Speak to students who are currently receiving or previously received Multilingual English Learners (TBIP) services might be interested in earning World Language credit or the Seal in their heritage language(s).
  • Create a list of all languages.
Step 3: Determine Assessment Needs

Determine what testing options you’ll need to offer in order to test the languages of your students.

  • All languages are valid to earn the Seal, including Signed languages (American Sign Language), Classical languages (Latin, Sanskrit, Ancient Greek), and Tribal languages.
  • OSPI maintains an extensive list of Approved Assessment Options (AAO), which records all languages and exams currently available. You may search by language or by assessment.
  • Verify proctoring needs. Different exams have different requirements, so have an established group of trained proctors.
  • Compare a list of the languages you need to test to the AAO.
    • Assessment options vary by language, cost, need, and availability.
    • If you don’t see the language listed, you may request a Custom Test for Super Less Commonly Taught Languages (SLCTL).
      • Note: Language assessment possibilities depend on rater availability. It can be a lengthy process to find raters for super less commonly tested/taught languages (Super LCTLs), so it is best to request early, both in the student’s high school career and in the year.
  • For Tribal languages, each Tribe or Band determines proficiency level.
Step 4: Set and Publicize Testing Dates

Set and publicize your testing dates throughout the district.

  • Once you decide on the tests you’ll need to offer, set up testing days and times in your district.

    • Keep equity at the forefront in determining what languages to test and when, and how to make the testing fees affordable for students.
    • Assessment date policies can vary depending on need.
    • District-set dates (once a month, once a semester, etc.)
    • Rolling dates (assessment as necessary)
    • Externally-set dates (AP, IB or CI, etc.)
    • Summer dates
    • Assessment times may also vary.
    • During the school day is best, similar to AP, IB, or CI assessment
    • Before or after school
    • Try to work with students and families to find a time that will work for the student and the district. Flexibility is key.
  • Encourage counselors and educators to reach out to their students.
    • Remember: all students are eligible to assess for the Seal.
    • Contact educators in as many content areas as possible, including CTE, the Arts, and JROTC.
  • Provide information in multiple languages.
    • Try to have the text of flyers, emails, posters, and websites available in the same languages as your assessments.
    • Students are not translators/interpreters and must not be relied upon to do this for the district.
    • OSPI has language access information, and urges contact if you need assistance. Please visit the Interpretation and Translation web page for more information.
  • Offer opportunities for families to ask questions.
    • Whether in-person or virtual, set up information sessions for parents.
    • Keep in mind different work schedules so try to offer morning or midday options.
Step 5: Record and Report Results

Throughout the year, record and report all assessment results.

  • For the current school year, all data must be input by August 31.

    • August 31 as a hard deadline allows for graduates who earned the Seal over the summer (AP, IB, or CI classes or through credit recovery) to be counted within the SY in which they graduate.
    • OSPI has deadlines to write annual Proviso and Legislature Reports due October 1 and December 1, respectively.
  • Collect and review all test results.
    • Prioritize inputting graduating seniors’ scores first.
    • If your district has a Competency-based Credit policy, follow that policy to award competency-based credits.
    • Check the AAO to determine how many credits each student has earned.
    • Add those credits to the student’s transcript.
  • Determine is a student is Seal of Biliteracy Proficient or Earned.
    • If a student qualifies for four (4) competency credits by establishing overall “Intermediate Mid” proficiency, but has not completed all ELA graduation requirements, they qualify as proficient for the Seal.

      • This is generally students in grade 9 through first semester grade 12.
    • If a student qualifies and will be completing all pathway ELA graduation requirements that year, they qualify as earned for the Seal.
      • This is generally second semester grade 12 and recently graduated students.
  • Maintain accurate and complete data records.
    • Collect the data on all the students who qualify as proficient for the State Seal into a file, update it in your district data system.
    • This should be done several times during the year, but definitely by August 31st, after AP, IB, and CI test results come in. and
    • Ensure that you have records for all graduating seniors who have earned the Seal ready to transmit to CEDARS.
  • Consult the CEDARS Manual and the CEDARS Appendices for information regarding codes for inputting proficient versus earned, type of assessment, and in what language(s) the student earned the Seal.
Step 6: Celebrate Success

Spend the time celebrating earned Seals with the graduating seniors and their families.

  • Districts are responsible for ordering and payment of all Seal of Biliteracy awards. Email Veronica Trapani for the image files of the logo and embossment of the Seal.
  • By May/June, identify the graduating seniors who will earn the Seal of Biliteracy upon graduation and arrange for them to receive recognition.
  • Remember: Many heritage students learned/earned their language credits before ever crossing the threshold of a school building, so work with the PTA/PTO and local community language institutions to celebrate their work.

Here are some ideas:

  • District Recognition:

    • Provide official letters or certificates recognizing student achievement.
    • Provide Seal of Biliteracy medallions for students to wear during graduation ceremonies.
    • Recognize Seal recipients during honors ceremonies at school; invite parents and families, and community members to attend.
  • Multilingual Considerations:
    • Knowing the languages in which students have earned the Seal is an indication of the necessity for translations and interpreters.
    • Work with local municipal centers or community members to build bridges between the public and the school or district.
  • Graduating students who attempt to earn the Seal through Dual Credit options (AP, IB, CI) will generally not know by graduation if they have earned the minimum qualifying score.
    • Consider arranging a ceremony for them toward the end of the summer after results have been input into CEDARS to allow for those students to also attend a celebration.

CEDARS Information & Reporting Guidance

CEDARS Data Manual - The 2021-22 documents provide information in:

  1. CEDARS Manual Student Attributes and Programs File (I) will collect the information for students who have obtained a Seal of Biliteracy.
  2. CEDARS Appendix K-Language Codes contains the list of languages students may earn the Seal of Biliteracy in.
  3. CEDARS Appendix L-Washington State Seal of Biliteracy lists the Assessments that may be utilized to test for biliteracy.

Beginning on page 33 of the Reporting Guidance Document:

  • What is the Seal of Biliteracy?
  • How does a student earn the Seal of Biliteracy?
  • How does a student earn a "Proficient" designation?
  • When is the "Proficient" designation converted to "Earned?"
  • Is it possible for a student to earn a Seal of Biliteracy in more than one language?