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 Georgia's Seal of Biliteracy


HB 879 was signed into law on May 3, 2016, establishing a Seal of Biliteracy for the state of Georgia. The Seal of Biliteracy will be available for graduating high school students starting in 2016/2017.

Law Text

a)      There is established a Georgia Seal of Biliteracy to recognize high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages in addition to English.

b)      The purposes of the Georgia Seal of Biliteracy are as follows:

(1) To encourage pupils to study foreign languages;

(2) To certify attainment of biliteracy;

(3) To provide employers with a method to identify people with language and biliteracy skills;

(4) To provide universities with a method to recognize and give academic credit to applicants seeking admission; and

(5) To recognize and promote foreign language instruction in public schools.

c)       In order to qualify for the Georgia Seal of Biliteracy, a high school graduate shall meet the following criteria:

(1) Completion of all English language arts requirements for graduation with an overall grade point average of 3.0 or above in those classes; and

(2) Proficiency in one or more languages other than English, demonstrated by passing a foreign language advanced placement examination with a score of 4 or higher or an international baccalaureate examination with a score of 5 or higher; provided, however, that for languages in which an advanced placement examination is not available, the Department of Education may provide a listing of equivalent summative examinations that local school systems may use in place of such an advanced placement examination.

d)      (1) A local school system participating in the Georgia Seal of Biliteracy program shall maintain appropriate records in order to identify pupils who have earned a Georgia Seal of Biliteracy and shall affix the appropriate insignia to the diploma or transcript of each pupil who earns such seal.

(2) Local school system participation in the Georgia Seal of Biliteracy program shall be voluntary. No local school system shall be required to expend additional resources or hire additional personnel to implement the provisions of this Code section.

​e)      The Department of Education shall prepare and deliver to participating local school systems an appropriate insignia to be affixed to the diploma or transcript of the pupil indicating that such pupil has been awarded a Georgia Seal of Biliteracy.

Reporting Qualifying Students to GaDOE

Please submit your seal requests using the link below by May 1 to the Program Specialist for World Languages in order to obtain the seals. For students, whose AP and IB scores are reported back in July, please submit the form by September 1.  (Note:  All Seal requests will be confirmed following deadline date)


Overview of Georgia's Seal of Biliteracy​


​Questions? Review our new Biliteracy Seal at a Glance Guidance

Frequently Asked Questions

Are schools obligated to award the Seal of Biliteracy to interested students?

No, participation in the program is voluntary.

Who qualifies for the Seal of Biliteracy?

ALL Georgia public school students are eligible to attain Georgia’s Seal of Biliteracy based on evidence of achieving the required level of language proficiency in English plus one or more other languages during their high school years. To obtain this Seal, students must demonstrate the determined level of proficiency in English, as well as one or more additional languages, be that language a native language, a heritage language, or a language learned in school or another setting. Some components for Georgia’s Seal of Biliteracy may be completed prior to high school for some students (as with dual language immersion programs, English learners, and other populations). The focus is on achieving the level of proficiency required for English and the level of proficiency required for one or more other languages.

Who will check that students have met the required qualifications for the Seal of Biliteracy?

Schools and districts will develop procedures locally to determine who at the school level will be responsible for verifying the qualifications of interested students and keeping records of qualifications for each student that is awarded the Seal. Records should be kept on accepted local and state retention schedule.

How will schools award the Seal of Biliteracy if AP and IB scores are not reported back until July?

Many students may not take the AP World Language exam or IB exam until their senior year in high school and then will have the scores reported after graduation in July. The Seal of Biliteracy can be awarded retroactively if the required scores have been met [a minimum score of 4 on the AP World Language exam and a minimum score of 5 on an IB Diploma Program Language B exam (Standard Level or Higher Level; excluding ab initio)].

How will schools obtain the actual seals?

By May 1 of each school year, senior counselors should contact the Program Specialist for World Languages at GaDOE, Mr. Patrick Wallace pwallace@doe.k12.ga.us, and request the number of seals required at graduation. The number must match the number indicated in data reporting. For students that take the AP or IB World Language exam in their senior year, please request the Seal by September 1 of the same year that the exam was taken. Seals will be mailed to the school.

What IB exams will count for the Seal of Biliteracy?

All diploma program Language B exams (Standard and Higher Level); ab initio exams will not count towards the Seal of Biliteracy. In order to qualify for the Seal of Biliteracy, students need to have a minimum score of 5 on the SL or HL Language B exam.

What are each school’s responsibilities?

Georgia’s Seal of Biliteracy will be awarded upon high school graduation. Schools that wish to award the Seal must

 

  • Designate a contact person at each participating high school that is responsible for
      •  collecting applications from students in their senior year
      • ​checking the qualifications of applicants, and
      • ​awarding qualified students with the Seal
      • ​ reporting students that were awarded the Seal to GaDOE through data collection
  • The Seal may be added to the high school diploma or transcript as well as displayed on a certificate or medal awarded to the student.
  •  It is suggested that the Seal be noted on the high school transcript as this is the credential that is viewed by colleges and universities and future employers.
  •  Districts and schools are encouraged to make the awarding of Georgia’s Seal of Biliteracy a prominent component at graduation and any senior award ceremonies. 

Who will pay for the proficiency exams?

Districts and schools are encouraged to investigate all possible funding sources, e.g., federal funds, grants, local funding sources, etc. Districts will determine the source of funding for proficiency testing of students.

What proficiency level do students need to demonstrate?

For many languages, including English, specific assessments exist and provide a valid and reliable means of measuring students’ language proficiency. The evidence needs to evaluate students’ use of the language, not knowledge about the language. The Georgia Department of Education recommends that schools help students maintain a portfolio of their language performance, such as the LinguaFolio®, tracking improvement and progress toward the level required for the Seal of Biliteracy.

Native and non-native users of a language other than English need to provide evidence of proficiency in that language. The minimum target level should be Intermediate High based on the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. The student should demonstrate proficiency in the modes of communication appropriate for that language; not all languages have all modes of communication (Interpersonal communication involving conversational speaking and listening or signed exchanges; Interpretive reading, listening, or viewing; and Presentational communication shown by creating messages for a reader, listener, or viewer through writing, speaking, or signing). The language performance should be demonstrated in both social and academic (content-based) use of the language, where possible.

Can ASL and Latin students apply for the Seal of Biliteracy?

Yes. Due to unique characteristics of certain languages, special allowances will be made: in cases where language assessments across all three modes of communication defined by ACTFL (interpersonal, interpretive and presentational) may not be appropriate or available, the Georgia Department of Education reserves the right to accept a different assessment that meets the spirit of Georgia’s Seal of Biliteracy. Students seeking the Seal through languages not characterized by the use of listening, speaking, reading, or for which there is not a writing system, will demonstrate the expected level of proficiency on an assessment of the modalities that characterize communication in that language.

Examples include:

 

  • Latin and Classical Greek – assessment of interpretive reading and presentational writing, not of listening or interpersonal face-to-face communication
  • American Sign Language (ASL) – assessment of interpersonal signed exchange, presentational signing, and demonstrating understanding of ASL (such as interpreting a signed lecture or by summarizing and responding to questions aimed at overarching understanding)

  • Native American Languages – assessment of interpersonal face-to-face communication as well as interpretive listening and presentational speaking, and writing and reading where a written code exists. 

When and how do students learn about the Seal of Biliteracy?

Counselors should provide all students and their families information on Georgia’s Seal of Biliteracy upon entering middle and high school settings so that students are able to organize their schedules and meet the requirements necessary to receive this honor.

How do we assure equitable access for the Seal of Biliteracy?

ALL students means “all”, regardless of language background or any identified condition that may exclude demonstration of language proficiency in one of the ACTFL-defined modes of communication, conditions such as blindness, deaf or hearing impaired, cognitive disabilities, or learning disabilities.

Accommodations, such as those already in place for Georgia-required assessments of language, should be included for assessments used to qualify for Georgia’s Seal of Biliteracy. Technology provides the resources and means to make the assessments for the Seal of Biliteracy available to all students.

What is the difference between the International Skills Diploma Seal and the Seal of Biliteracy?

The International Skills Diploma Seal certifies attainment of intercultural competencies and focuses on international education. It reflects progress along the pathway toward achieving the specified level of language proficiency for Georgia’s Seal of Biliteracy. The Seal of Biliteracy focuses on language proficiency and provides a signal to businesses and educational agencies that the recipient has achieved, at minimum, a proficiency level of Intermediate High on the ACTFL Proficiency Scale.

What if students want to obtain the Seal of Biliteracy but there is no AP or IB test available for a specific language?

Please see the table below for approved proficiency exams and required minimum scores or proficiency levels. Please contact the Program Specialist for World Languages, Mr. Patrick Wallace at pwallace@doe.k12.ga.us, to inquire about languages that are not listed.

Seal_of_Biliteracy_approved_tests.png



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 Contact Information

 
Patrick Wallace
World Languages and Global Workforce Initiatives 
Program Specialist
Phone: 404-651-8373
 

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