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 careers. 

Applications are accepted through May 15th of each year. It is recommended to complete proficiency testing as early as possible to ensure that results are available in time. (For students submitting IB or AP scores, for which results are not available until after the application deadline, applications will be accepted through July 15th. This exception applies to IB or AP students only.)  


Quick Topics

 


CRITERIA 

For languages other than English, individual language domain (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) scores must be at intermediate mid proficiency or above. If a given test does not provide individual domain scores, the overall score must be at intermediate mid proficiency or above.

Students whose primary/home language is other than English may be eligible for an exemption from the reading and writing domains if they have not had sufficient educational opportunity to become literate in their language. Students who are deaf or hard of hearing may be eligible for an exemption from the listening domain. For such students, an exemption can be requested within the application. 

Language

Minimum Evidence of Proficiency

 

English

One of the following:

  • Meeting English Language Arts (ELA) standards required for graduation
  • Score of 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

One of the following:

Tests Available in Multiple Languages (Click on the links to see languages offered.)

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 8th grade or beyond, with an equivalent grade average of B or higher.
  • For less commonly taught world languages and Native American languages without standardized testing options, please reach out to the Maine DOE World Languages & ESOL/Bilingual Programs Specialist to establish an appropriate measure of intermediate-mid proficiency based on the ACTFL Proficiency Scale.

**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.


APPLICATION PROCESS 

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 must be submitted no later than May 15th.*

*Students whose AP Exam or IB Exam scores are not available until after May 15th must submit their applications no later than July 15th. Arrangements must be made with the school counselor to ensure that the Seal is included on the transcript post-graduation.


RESOURCES

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.

Maine Public: New State Award Recognizes Maine Students' Bilingual Proficiency

FAQ

When can applications be submitted?

Applications can be submitted at any time during the student's senior year, until the application deadline of May 15th. It is recommended for students to complete proficiency testing early on in the year to ensure that results are available in time. This allows helps allow additional time for students who may need to retest in a given domain to meet the minimum proficiency requirement. 

The only exception to this deadline is for students whose AP Exam or IB Exam scores are not available until after May 15th. The final date for application submission of AP Exam or IB Exam scores is July 15th.

Once a student has been awarded the Seal of Biliteracy, what is the school's responsibility?

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.

How will the Maine Seal of Biliteracy be awarded?

The World Languages & ESOL/Bilingual Programs Specialist at the Maine DOE will review all applications. If the student meets the eligibility criteria, 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 awards ceremonies to present the Seal if the SAU requests.

Are sample tests available so students can practice?

The sample/practice resources available vary by test. Visit the links below for more information.

Tests Links to Resources
AP EXAM

See College Board's site for specific language exams. 

IB EXAM https://www.ibo.org/programmes/diploma-programme/assessment-and-exams/sample-exam-papers/
AAPPL https://www.languagetesting.com/aappl-demo
ACTFL OPI https://www.languagetesting.com/oral-proficiency-interview-opi/
STAMP 4S https://www.update.avantassessment.com/sample-tests#4S_Sample
ASLPI https://www.ets.org/praxis/ct/aslpi/
AVANT APT https://avantassessment.com/apt
DELF/DALF http://www.ciep.fr/en/delf-scolaire
ALIRA https://www.languagetesting.com/actfl-latin-interpretive-reading-assessment
AVANT SHL https://avantassessment.com/shl
DELE https://www.dele.org/?page=dele/intermediate-mid-threshold-level
How much do language tests cost?

There is a wide range of prices on the approved tests. It is strongly suggested to consult the websites listed below for the most up to date pricing and to choose one that is within your budget. 

Tests Link to Pricing
AP Exam https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/takingtheexam/exam-fees
IB Exam https://www.ibo.org/become-an-ib-school/fees-and-services/assessment-fees-and-services/
AAPPL https://www.languagetesting.com/aappl
ACTFL OPI https://www.languagetesting.com/oral-proficiency-interview-opi/
STAMP 4S https://avantassessment.com/stamp4s/frequently-asked-questions
WorldSpeak https://avantassessment.com/worldspeak
NEWL https://www.americancouncils.org/newl-dates-deadlines-fees
ALTA https://www.altalang.com/language-testing/faq/
ASLPI https://www.ets.org/praxis/ct/aslpi/
AVANT APT https://avantassessment.com/apt/faq
ALIRA https://www.languagetesting.com/actfl-latin-interpretive-reading-assessment
AVANT SHL https://avantassessment.com/shl
What if my language does not have a written form?

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 no test available, please reach out to the World Languages & ESOL/Bilingual Programs Specialist at the Department of Education to discuss alternative ways to demonstrate proficiency.

Can a student earn the Seal of Biliteracy in multiple languages?

Yes. The application includes an opportunity to upload score reports for up to three languages (in addition to English). If a student is proficient in more than three additional languages, contact the World Languages & ESOL/Bilingual Programs Specialist.

How were the minimum scores for each test determined?

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.

When can a student take a language test?

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, bearing in mind the May 15th application deadline.

Do schools need to submit all of their students' applications at the same time?

No.

 

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
AP EXAM

see College Board's site for specific language exams 

IB EXAM https://www.ibo.org/programmes/diploma-programme/assessment-and-exams/sample-exam-papers/
AAPPL https://www.languagetesting.com/aappl-demo
ACTFL OPI https://www.languagetesting.com/oral-proficiency-interview-opi/
STAMP 4S https://www.update.avantassessment.com/sample-tests#4S_Sample
ASLPI https://www.ets.org/praxis/ct/aslpi/
AVANT APT https://avantassessment.com/apt
DELF/DALF http://www.ciep.fr/en/delf-scolaire
ALIRA https://www.languagetesting.com/actfl-latin-interpretive-reading-assessment
AVANT SHL https://avantassessment.com/shl
DELE https://www.dele.org/?page=dele/intermediate-mid-threshold-level

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.

Yes

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.

No.