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State Seal of Biliteracy FAQs


What is the State Seal of Biliteracy?

The State Seal of Biliteracy (SSB) is recognition by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for graduating high school students who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages in addition to English.

How can I learn if our district’s graduates are eligible for the SSB?

The requirements for eligibility can be found in Assembly Bill (AB) 815 External link opens in new window or tab.. Please read the bill in its entirety.

What kind of insignia will be provided by the California Department of Education (CDE)?

One gold, embossed, self-adhesive seal will be provided for each qualifying graduate. The seal was specially designed for the State Seal of Biliteracy designation.

What information must districts and charter schools submit to the CDE?

Districts and direct-funded charter schools must submit the school name(s), the total number of qualifying graduates per school; and the total number of qualifying graduates per district. On the second page of the Insignia Request Form, the CDE is also requesting the number of qualifying graduates who are former English learners, the languages other than English in which students are proficient, and the number of students per language. The Insignia Request Form is on the CDE State Seal of Biliteracy Web page.

To be eligible for the SSB, in which of the four domains (listening, speaking, reading, writing) must candidates demonstrate competency?

Per AB 815, Section 51460 high school graduates who are candidates for the SSB must have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, an writing.

When must the Insignia Request Form be submitted to the CDE?

The CDE will submit requested insignias by mail to local educational agencies (LEAs) in April and May. It is recommended that districts and direct-funded charter schools submit insignia request forms by mail to the CDE in advance to allow time for processing requests, sending the requested insignias by mail, and for the insignias to be affixed to the diplomas.

Is there a cost to students for the Seal?

No fee may be charged to students who participate in the SSB program.

Where can I find more information about the SSB?

The requirements for eligibility, and other important information can be found in AB 815 External link opens in new window or tab.. Please read AB 815 in its entirety before completing the Insignia Request Form.

Does the SSB apply to American Sign Language (ASL)?

Yes. In California, ASL is considered a foreign (world) language.

Can students qualify for more than one Seal of Biliteracy?

Yes. If a district or County Office of Education has implemented a local Seal of Biliteracy program, students may qualify for both the local Seal of Biliteracy and the State Seal of Biliteracy assuming requirements for both are met. Note that requirements may differ from program to program and meeting the requirements of one program may not satisfy requirements for another program.

How can we ensure that students who may qualify for the seal by completing four years of a foreign language course of study with a GPA of 3.0 or above at the end of their senior year will receive a seal?

Schools and districts may estimate the number of students they believe will meet eligibility requirements by graduation based on most recent GPA and anticipated final grades. Seals are to be awarded to those students who fully meet the eligibility requirements. (Education Code (EC), Section 51460)

How can we ensure that students who may qualify for the seal by completing all English language arts requirements for graduation with an overall grade point average of 2.0 or above in those classes will receive a seal?

Schools and districts may estimate the number of students they believe will meet eligibility requirements by graduation based on most recent GPA and anticipated final grades. Seals are to be awarded to those students who fully meet the eligibility requirements. (EC Section 51460)

Students who are seeking to qualify for the SSB by passing the Advanced Placement (AP) exam with a score of 3 or higher will receive AP exam results two to three months after graduation. Will these students be eligible to receive a seal after graduation? How can these students be recognized at their graduation ceremony?

Seals may be awarded after graduation. Some districts are recognizing these students as “candidates for the State Seal of Biliteracy” during graduation ceremonies. (EC Section 51460)

Does a native speaker who tests into a year 3 of Spanish and completes year 4 of Spanish A-G requirement with a 3.0, qualify for the SSB? (Scenario: Student comes into High School proficient however, the school does not offer Spanish for native speakers and is placed in a higher level Spanish class).

In accordance with EC Section 51461(a)(3)(B), one way to show proficiency in a language other than English is, “successful completion of a four-year high school course of study in a foreign language. . .” LEAs define the structure, organization, and successful completion of a four-year high school course of study in a foreign language. The LEA may establish comparable rigor scenarios for the “four-year high school course of study in a foreign language” consistent with EC Section 51460. The student would also be required to meet all other criteria.

If a student is placed in a Spanish class for Native Speakers and receives the equivalent of a 2 year foreign language credit, does the student qualify for the SSB? (Scenario: District A provides 8 units of credits for a 1 year course of Spanish for native speakers. A typical 1 year course in Spanish is 4 units in that district).

In accordance with EC Section 51461(a)(3)(B), one way to show proficiency in a language other than English is, “successful completion of a four-year high school course of study in a foreign language. . .” LEAs define the structure, organization, and successful completion of a four-year high school course of study in a foreign language. The LEA may establish comparable rigor scenarios for the “four-year high school course of study in a foreign language” consistent with EC Section 51460. The student would also be required to meet all other criteria.

How can I contact the CDE if I have questions?

For questions related to the State Seal of Biliteracy, contact the California Department of Education by e-mail at SEAL@cde.ca.gov.

How can I learn about other Seal of Biliteracy programs?

You may access more information on the Californians Together Web site External link opens in new window or tab..

Questions:   Language Policy and Leadership Office | SEAL@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0845
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, September 7, 2016
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