New Trier's Seal of Biliteracy Program

Language-Learning

Descriptor

The Seal of Biliteracy is an award granted by the Illinois State Board of Education and given by New Trier High School in recognition and celebration of students who demonstrate a high level of proficiency in the four domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English and one or more other languages by the end of their senior year. This new credential will be awarded to qualified New Trier graduates beginning in the 2016-2017 school year. Students who earn the Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy or the Illinois State Commendation toward Biliteracy will have their achievement acknowledged on both their diploma and transcripts.

Two honors are available: the Seal of Biliteracy and the Commendation toward Biliteracy. The Seal of Biliteracy is awarded to those whose proficiency level is equivalent to the Intermediate High scale set by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. The Commendation of Biliteracy is awarded to students whose proficiency level is rated at Intermediate Low or Intermediate Mid in a second language.

Rationale

Learning another language prepares students to be citizens of the global community by developing an awareness and appreciation of other cultures. The process of learning to comprehend, speak, read, and write another language develops insight into the nature of language as well as connections to other disciplines. The Seal of Biliteracy builds upon the rich linguistic and cultural assets of the district and community, providing students with the necessary skills to be successful in college, career, and life. State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Tony Smith, noted, "Multiple language skills are of great benefit in today's global economy and are also very important in our own diverse communities." (ISBE, 6-10-2015) The Illinois State Board of Education and New Trier High School District 203 will recognize the importance of being fluent in more than one language by awarding the Seal of Biliteracy to qualified New Trier students.

Qualifications

To qualify for the Seal of Biliteracy, seniors must :

  • Earn a minimum composite score of 21 on an official administration of the ACT, OR
  • Earn a minimum overall score of 5.0 with minimum subtest scores in reading and writing of 4.2 on the ACCESS for ELLs exam, AND
  • Earn a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement language exam taken as a junior. OR
  • Earn a minimum score of I-5 on the ACTFL's Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL) exam. The following languages can be assessed with the AAPPL exam: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. OR
  • Earn a score of Intermediate High on the Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP) 4S exam. Hebrew and Japanese can be assessed with the STAMP 4S exam. OR
  • Earn a minimum score of 1-5 on ACTFL's Latin Interpretive Reading Assessment (ALIRA) exam. Latin can be assessed with the ALIRA exam.

To qualify for the Commendation toward Biliteracy, seniors must :

  • Earn a minimum composite score of 21 on an official administration of the ACT, OR
  • Earn a minimum overall score of 5.0 with minimum subtest scores in reading and writing of 4.2 on the ACCESS for ELLs exam, AND
  • Earn a score of 3 on the Advanced Placement language exam they took as a junior, OR
  • Earn a minimum score of I-1, I-2, I-3 or I-4 on the ACTFL's Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL) exam. The following languages can be assessed with the AAPPL exam: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. OR
  • Earn a score of Intermediate Low on the Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP) 4S exam. Hebrew and Japanese can be assessed with the STAMP 4S exam. OR
  • Earn a minimum score of 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, or 1-4 on ACTFL's Latin Interpretive Reading Assessment (ALIRA) exam. Latin can be assessed with the ALIRA exam.
Assessments

Visit the ISBE webpage for the official list of assessments.

FAQ

What is the Seal of Biliteracy and the Commendation toward Biliteracy?

The Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy and Commendation toward Biliteracy are awards granted by the Illinois State Board of Education to students who have attained a high level of proficiency in the four domains of listening, speaking, reading and writing in English and one or more other languages by their high school graduation.

The Seal of Biliteracy recognizes students who have demonstrated proficiency at the Intermediate-High level in all four domains in both languages according to the ACTFL standardized proficiency levels. The Seal indicates that the student can perform at a high level of proficiency, sufficient for "meaningful use in college and a career."

Intermediate High speakers are able to converse with ease and confidence when dealing with routine tasks and social situations. They are able to handle successfully uncomplicated tasks and social situations requiring an exchange of basic information related to their work, school, recreation, particular interests, and areas of competence. Intermediate High speakers can narrate and describe in all major time frames using connected discourse of paragraph length, but not all the time. Intermediate High speakers can generally be understood by native speakers unaccustomed to dealing with non-natives although interference from another language may be evident (e.g., use of code switching, false cognates, and literal translations), and a pattern of gaps in communication may occur.

The Commendation toward Biliteracy recognizes students who have demonstrated proficiency at a minimum Intermediate Low level in all four domains in both languages. According to ACTFL guidelines, Intermediate Low speakers are able to handle successfully a limited number of uncomplicated communicative tasks by creating with the language in straightforward social situations. Conversation is restricted to some of the concrete exchanges and predictable topics necessary for survival in the target-language culture, for example, self and family, some daily activities, personal preferences, and some immediate needs, such as ordering food and making simple purchases. Intermediate Low speakers can generally be understood by sympathetic interlocutors, particularly by those accustomed to dealing with non-natives.

Who can apply for the Seal of Biliteracy?

All students are eligible to demonstrate proficiency in English and one or more other languages through this program. It is recommended that students wait until second semester of their senior year to apply.

How do I apply for the Seal or Commendation?

You must show proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing on a state-approved assessment. After obtaining your results, you can apply for the Seal and send all necessary documentation to Lorri Starck-King , Chair of the Modern and Classical Languages Department.

How do I demonstrate proficiency in all four language domains?

You may take a state-approved assessment at New Trier to demonstrate proficiency in all four domains. Please refer to the Testing Schedule for dates and times.

To earn the Seal of Biliteracy , you will need to demonstrate proficiency at the Intermediate High level in all four domains in English and one or more other languages.

To earn the Commendation toward Biliteracy , you will need to demonstrate proficiency at a minimum of the Intermediate Low level in all four domains in English and in one or more other languages.

Can I apply for the Seal in English and more than two languages?

Yes, you can apply for the Seal or Commendation in all languages in which you are literate in listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Can I apply for the Seal before my senior year?

Yes, you can apply for the Seal or Commendation at any time during your high school career. Students who earn the Seal or Commendation prior to senior year will have the designation applied to their transcript upon receipt. Students will receive the award at the time of their high school graduation when it will be acknowledged on their diploma and official transcripts. It is recommended that you wait until second semester of your senior year to apply.

Can I still earn the Seal or Commendation if the results of the assessment are not available at the time of graduation?

Yes. If the results of an approved language assessment are not available at the time of graduation, New Trier will award the Seal or Commendation after graduation when results are available. However, no official designation will be included on the transcript or diploma until the school receives the assessment results indicating that you qualify for the Seal or Commendation

Testing Schedule
Saturday, March 4, 2017, 8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Saturday, March 4, 2017, 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Testing is limited to 58 students in the morning session and 58 students in the afternoon session.

Registration

Click here to register.

Testing is limited to 58 students in the morning session and 58 students in the afternoon session.

Tips

Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish

  • Click here for tips on taking the AAPPL assessments
  • Click here to take a demo test.

Hebrew or Japanese

  • Click here for tips on taking the STAMP 4S assessments.
  • Click here to take a demo test.

Latin

  • Click here to download tips for taking the ALIRA assessment.

More Information

For more information about the Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy at New Trier High School, please visit the school website or contact Lorri Starck-King , Chair of the Modern and Classical Languages Department.