Seattle Public Schools

International Education

Seal of Biliteracy

About the Seal of Biliteracy

Graduating seniors who have demonstrated their language skills through World Language Credit Testing (earning 4 credits) or by passing Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) language exams will have the honor of receiving the State Seal of Biliteracy. The Seal is intended to highlight the benefits in today’s world of speaking, reading, and writing English and at least one other language.

The Washington State Seal of Biliteracy was passed by the Legislature in 2014, and the first State Seals were issued in June 2015. Students received a Seal of Biliteracy sticker to affix to their high school diploma and a medallion to wear at graduation. Seal of Biliteracy Diploma Sticker and Medallion.

For 2017-2018,  460 students graduating seniors earned the Seal:
– 188 for AP (score of 3 or higher) French, Japanese, Latin, Spanish
– 127 for IB (score of 4 or higher) Chinese-Mandarin French, Japanese, Spanish
– 145 for qualifying for 4 Competency-Based Credits in 20 languages (Amharic, Arabic, Cambodian, Chinese-Mandarin, French, Fur, German, Japanese, Lao, Oromo, Rumanian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Thai, Tigrinya, Ukrainian, Vietnamese)

For 2016-2017, 372 students graduating seniors earned the Seal:
– 114 for AP (score of 3 or higher) French, Japanese, Latin, Spanish
– 120 for IB (score of 4 or higher) French, Japanese, Spanish
– 138 for qualifying for 4 Competency-Based Credits in Amharic, Mandarin, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and 21 other languages

From June 2015-August 2017, 940 students in Seattle had earned the Seal (as graduating seniors) and an additional 543 students had qualified as proficient and will likely earn the Seal when they graduate. (We’ll add 2017-2018 data soon.)​

What Students Receive

Students receive a Seal of Biliteracy medallion to wear at graduation. The medallions are delivered by end of May to the high schools (to a coordinator of graduation ceremonies). Some high schools distribute them at an awards ceremony at the school; others may hand them out for graduation. In addition, the Seal “sticker” is affixed to the students’ diplomas and a letter about the Seal is enclosed with the diplomas when they are delivered to the schools in June. Finally, the district runs an automated program to update the students’ transcripts to reflect that they EARNED the Seal of Biliteracy.

How to Qualify

Students can qualify for the Seal of Biliteracy by meeting all graduation requirements, plus demonstrating proficiency in a language besides English through the three testing options indicated above (AP score of 3 or higher; IB SL or HL with a score of 4 or higher, or 4 credits (overall Intermediate Mid or higher proficiency) through Competency-Based Credit testing). Use the OSPI Flow Chart to determine eligibility.

The district offers World Language Credit Testing monthly during the school year at the Seattle World School. Learn more at: World Language Credit Testing.

View the World Language Credit Program video to get inspired!

The Seal of Biliteracy is part of the Road Map Project’s campaign on Speak Your Language

For more background on the Seal of Biliteracy, view  Seal of Biliteracy slides or visit OSPI >  Seal of Biliteracy

Global Seal of Biliteracy

We are very excited to announce the launch of the new Global Seal of Biliteracy. Students in Seattle Public Schools who earn our State Seal of Biliteracy in Washington can also have the opportunity to apply for the additional recognition of the nationally recognized Global Seal of Biliteracy.

The Global Seal of Biliteracy offers two levels of recognition:  Functional Fluency (like our State Seal of Biliteracy — overall Intermediate Mid proficiency in the language) and Working Fluency (Advanced Low level proficiency in the language). Working Fluency (Advanced Low) is the target proficiency level for students completing Seattle’s K-12 Dual Language Immersion programs. It is also the required level for teachers who want to qualify for the Designated World Language Endorsement for Teacher Certification. 

In Seattle, we will be sending all students who qualify for the State Seal of Biliteracy additional information about the  Global Seal of Biliteracy later this spring.

Questions? Contact Dr. Thad Williams