Maine Seal of Biliteracy

The Seal of Biliteracy is an award that recognizes student achievement in language learning. Students who are proficient in English and an additional language may earn the Seal of Biliteracy by demonstrating their skills on an approved assessment. Students receive a seal affixed to their diploma and an indication of receiving the Seal of Biliteracy on their high school transcripts. This award elevates the study of languages and gives students an edge for their college applications and professional careers.  

Quick Topics



In order to be eligible for the Seal, students must complete one of the following in the categories of English and Additional Language.  The links below will show what languages are tested for each General Language test. 


Minimum Evidence of Proficiency


  • Meeting English Language Arts (ELA) standards required for graduation
  • 480 or above for ELA on SAT
  • Score of 3 or above on AP English Language or AP English Literature
  • Overall composite proficiency level of 4.5 or higher on ACCESS for ELLs

Additional Language

General Language tests

Language Specific Tests

Additional pathways

  • Provide transcripts from a school in a foreign country showing at least three years of instruction in the student’s home/native language in Grade 8 or beyond, with an equivalent grade average of B or higher.
  • For Less Common World Language and Native American Languages where testing is not available through the above tests, please reach out to the Maine DOE World Languages Specialist  to establish an appropriate measure of intermediate-mid proficiency based on the ACTFL Proficiency Scale.

*These pathways are one of many for these languages, please consider other pathways to see if they will meet the needs of your students and your district.

**Students seeking the Seal of Biliteracy through the ACTFL OPI may be required to show proficiency in other available language modalities using the ACTFL Listening (LPT), Reading (RPT), and/or Writing (WPT) tests.


The Maine DOE will award the Seal of Biliteracy to any graduating senior who meets the benchmarks listed above.  District administration along with World Languages and ESOL teachers will be responsible for ensuring that eligible students take the necessary tests at any point during their high school career. However, applications may be submitted only in the year of graduation. Applications are processed on an ongoing basis.


Implementation Support Raise Awareness

Getting Started: This document provides guided questions to help familiarize school districts move towards offering the Maine Seal of Biliteracy 

Test Administration: This document provides guided questions to help create a test administration timeline.

Sample Testing Timeline: This document provides a sample testing test timeline from the view of a student and teacher.

Portland Public Schools, who has already gone through the process of testing students for the Seal of Biliteracy, has generously shared some of their resources here.

Maine Seal of Biliteracy Pathways: This document provides a visual representation of the two pathways to the Maine Seal of Biliteracy.

Maine Seal of Biliteracy Data is a PowerPoint that provides data for SY 2018-2019 and benefits for students and districts

Speeches from Former Commissioner Hasson, 2019 Maine World Language Teacher of the Year, and students about being bilingual.

WGME Coverage of University of Maine's announcement to offer college credit for Maine Seal of Biliteracy.


Applications can be submitted on a rolling basis. Applications submitted in any month, except May, will be processed the last week of the month. For example, if an application is submitted March 1, 2019 and another March 15, 2019, they will both be processed the last week of March - March 25 - 29. Any applications submitted the last week of the month will be held until the last week of the following month.
The last day applications can be postmarked is May 15th, or filed electronically by May 15th at 11:59 pm, of the student's senior year. All applications submitted in May will be processed starting on May 16th.

Schools will need to update the student's transcript to read "Maine Seal of Biliteracy - [insert language(s)]" and include the letter notifying the school district that a student has received the Seal of Biliteracy when sending final transcripts to colleges. This information has been requested by colleges to facilitate awarding college credit for the Maine Seal of Biliteracy.

The World Language Specialist at the Maine DOE will review all applications and test scores. If the student meets the requirements, Maine DOE will send schools: a Seal to be affixed to the diploma, a letter to include the Seal of Biliteracy on the students transcript, and a certificate to be presented at graduation. Schools will also have the option of purchasing a sash, ribbon, or medal that the student can wear for the graduation ceremony.

When possible, a representative from the Maine DOE will be available to attend award ceremonies to present the Seal if the SAU requests.

In this case, for additional language tests, students must earn a qualifying score for that test in each category to earn the Seal of Biliteracy.

For AP and IB tests, the World Language Specialist will review applications the last week of July and the first week of August. Please note: There will be no official recognition at graduation because the Seal of Biliteracy has not yet been awarded. Your school must have the ability to modify transcripts after a student has graduated. This will also require modifying and mailing out updated final transcripts to colleges once the appropriate documents from DOE have been received.

The resources available vary by test.  It is recommended to reach out to test providers and see what additional resources: sample tests, resource guides, etc. are available.  Below is the information that is currently available 

Tests Links to Resources

see College Board's site for specific language exams 


We recognize that all languages and cultures are not print based.  This does not prevent students from applying for the Maine Seal of Biliteracy.  Students are encouraged to take one of the tests that will allow them to demonstrate their oral and verbal comprehension skills.  If there is not test available, please reach out to the World Language Specialist at the Department of Education to discuss alternative ways to demonstrate proficiency.

We recognize that for a variety of reasons all students may not have had an opportunity to become literate in their first language.  This does not prevent them from applying for the Maine Seal of Biliteracy.  Students are encouraged to take one of the tests that will allow them to demonstrate their oral and verbal comprehension skills.


While each test may choose to report scores differently, the scores listed under the minimum evidence required all align to Intermediate–Mid Proficiency on the ACTFL Proficiency Scale.  A description of the Intermediate–Mid proficiency level is located here ACTFL also provides information for how Intermediate Mid Proficiency connects to the workplace

Students can take the test at any time during their high school career. It is at the school districts' discretion to develop a timeline for testing in their districts.