73 Students Earn California State Seal of Biliteracy


Seniors who were awarded the California State Seal of Biliteracy with the PVHS World Language teachers in the Center for the Arts on May 26.

James Fong

Throughout the courses of high school students, many choose to take a foreign language that is offered to them at their school. The state of California offers the State Seal of Biliteracy, which is marked by a gold seal on the diploma or transcript. It recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing one or more languages in addition to English.

What is the Seal of Biliteracy?

The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school, district, or state in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. The Seal of Biliteracy promotes foreign language study that prepares students for life beyond high school. It also promotes participation in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes and exams. Many universities have provided college credit, advanced placement, and even scholarships to Seal of Biliteracy recipients.

Learning a second language shows that students are starting to understand different points of view and how cultures communicate. Young adolescents are gaining an understanding of cultural norms and behaviors. Learning how to express a concept in a language other than their own, and then taking action based on that knowledge is a great strength that will help students better understand different cultures and languages.

Spanish teacher Marcelle Gregoire, stated that “73 seniors this year in 2021 have earned the biliteracy seal in Japanese, Spanish, and French!”

How do I earn the State Seal of Biliteracy?

Students can only earn the SSB (State Seal of Biliteracy) by passing the required California Assessment of English Performance and Progress, otherwise known as CAASPP.

Students must complete all English language arts requirements for graduation with an overall grade point average of 2.0 in those classes.

Successful completion of a four-year high school course of study in a world language, maintaining an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher in that course, and demonstrating oral proficiency in the language comparable to that required to pass an AP/IB examination.

Alternative way of earning the State Seal of Biliteracy: Passage of a world language Advanced Placement (AP) examination with a score of 3 or higher, or an International Baccalaureate (IB) examination with a score of 4.

Additionally, there are other important benefits to having the Biliteracy Seal. For example, the seal encourages pupils to study languages, to certify attainment of biliteracy, to provide employers with a method of identifying people with language biliteracy skills, to provide universities an additional method to recognize applicants seeking admission, to recognize the value of foreign language and native language instruction in public schools to strengthen relationships, affirm the value of diversity, and honor the multiple cultures and languages of a community.

Furthermore, students who did not choose to take Spanish or French, can also take the AP test even if the language is not offered at the school. The College Board offers exams in Japanese, Chinese, Latin, Italian and German. It does not matter what level of proficiency a student begins studying the language, as long as the student is able to complete a level 4 course of study, then the student is still eligible to test for the State Seal of Biliteracy. However, if a student does poorly on the CASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) exam in English, there is no other way to meet the requirement for the seal. Along with this, an overall 2.0 GPA is required in all English courses.

More information can be found at the California Department of Education website for the seal and the College Board website for the exams, as well as well as on the PVHS World Language page.