Seal of Biliteracy Exam Allows Students to Test Knowledge in Several Languages

Isabella+Garza+goes+over+flash+cards+in+the+library.

Logan Harrison

Isabella Garza goes over flash cards in the library.

Natalie Hannah

On April 4 and 5, North students can take the State Seal of Biliteracy Exam, taken in North’s LRC. The test is for any high school student who has demonstrated a high level of proficiency in one or more world languages, including English, by showing fluency and understanding through multiple tests. By passing all of the sections, students will receive either the Seal of Biliteracy, recognizing proficiency, or a Commendation toward Biliteracy, acknowledging significant progress towards becoming fluent, depending on their scores from each of the sections. By receiving a Seal, students are acknowledged for being fluent in both English and another language. This will then be noted in students’ transcripts and can be used in college applications and for evidence of skills for potential employers.

The seal is offered in over 100 languages, including American Sign Language (ASL). However, the test is most commonly taken in Spanish or Polish here at North. 

“I took the Seal of Biliteracy at the end of last year,” said Kara Claussner, senior. “It was actually in the library, and you can just, like, go through the sections; there’s a reading, a listening, a speaking and a writing [section].” 

Students can take the sections in any order that they wish. If they don’t pass a section, they are able to retake that section another time without having to retake the sections they passed. 

“The first time I didn’t end up passing the speaking, but… a couple months later, they let you retake it,” said Claussner. 

 Students are also encouraged to take the test early in their high school careers. 

Olivia Riordan (Logan Harrison)

“You can take the test multiple years in a row. You don’t get penalized for not passing, so I think even if you don’t pass any of the parts the first time you take it, at least you have an idea of what you’re going into and what it’s going to be like, which is really helpful,” said Claussner. 

It is beneficial to take the test earlier, even if you don’t pass any of the sections. 

“I think it’s worth a try, because, I mean, it won’t hurt,” said Amelia Tiara, junior, who took the test during the 2021-2022 school year.

Additionally, students don’t need to be in a world language class to take the Seal. 

“I took [the test] in Polish… and I’ve been learning it for a really long time,” said Tiara. “I really liked [the test] because I like speaking Polish.”

In order to receive a Seal or Commendation, students must also pass the language portion of their SATs, demonstrating proficiency in their first language. Then, the Seal or Commendation is recognized at students’ graduations.

“Just take your time and do your best,” said Claussner. 

To take the test, students must complete the registration form and payment on Pushcoin by March 17.