OSPI has finalized criteria for awarding the Seal of Biliteracy (RCW 28A.300.575). The Washington State Seal of Biliteracy is established to recognize public high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more world languages in addition to English. "Participating school districts with students eligible to receive the Seal, shall place a notation on a student's high school diploma and high school transcript indicating that the student has earned the seal." (RCW 28A.230.125)
Identifying Students for the Seal of Biliteracy
Districts may award the Seal of Biliteracy starting in the 2014-2015 School Year
WAC 392-410-350 becomes effective on May 22, 2015 and establishes the criteria for awarding the Seal of Biliteracy. Use the flow chart to determine eligibility.
The Seal of Biliteracy Advisory Committee has developed and finalized the language for the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) and the identification of resources for school districts.
Transcripts and CEDARS
CEDARS Data Manual—The 2015–16 documents provide information in:
- CEDARS Guidance, page 26, provides information regarding submitting Seal of Biliteracy information.
- CEDARS Manual Student Programs & Attributes File (I) will collect the information for students who have obtained a Seal of Biliteracy.
- CEDARS Appendix K contains the list of languages students may earn the seal in and Appendix L lists the Assessments that may be utilized to test for biliteracy
The 2014–15 Transcript Development Guide, provides information on page 75 regarding how to report the Seal of Biliteracy on a student transcript beginning with the Class of 2015.
The 2014–15 CEDARS documents do not contain information regarding submitting Seal of Biliteracy information. Districts may not submit this data to CEDARS until 2015–16.
Origins of the Seal of Biliteracy
Washington State is one of a growing number of states that have passed a Seal of Biliteracy. OSPI formed a committee of world language stakeholders on September 11, 2014. The committee is diverse geographically, linguistically, and professionally.) The Seal of Biliteracy originated in California and was signed into law in October 2011, with the first seals being issued starting in early 2012. New York State passed its bill and it was signed into law in July 2012. The state of Illinois passed its law in 2013, and a number of other states are also enacting legislation.
Why the Seal of Biliteracy?
Over 40 percent of Washington State jobs are tied to international trade, so it is critical for students to develop proficiency in English and other languages to maintain competitiveness. The bilingual skills of students for whom English is not a first or dominant language represent a tremendous potential resource to the state. Also, English students who follow long sequences of world language study and practice increase their marketability in the workplace. In addition to career advantages, studies also show numerous cognitive benefits for students learning more than one language, including enhanced working memory, attention, flexibility and creative thinking. All of these attributes will be valuable in students' futures.
Foreign Language Enrollments in K-12 Public Schools: Are Students Prepared for a Global Society? (PDF)
For School Districts—Request Seal
The Seal is available to districts to formally recognize students that demonstrate:
- Proficiency in English
- Proficiency in a world language other than English
- WAC 392-415-070 Mandatory high school transcript contents
- WAC 392-410-350 Seal of Biliteracy
The Seal of Biliteracy imprint for creating embossed diploma labels or medallions is available on request to firstname.lastname@example.org