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Updated Procedures for State Seal Of Biliteracy

California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
November 7, 2017

Dear County and District Superintendents and Direct-Funded Charter School Administrators:

UPDATED PROCEDURES FOR AWARDING THE STATE SEAL OF BILITERACY

The State Seal of Biliteracy (SSB) requirements, codified in California Education Code (EC) sections 51460–51464 in 2012, were recently amended by Assembly Bill (AB) 1142. The SSB provides recognition to high school students who have demonstrated proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing, in one or more languages in addition to English.

Each school district, county office of education (COE), or direct-funded charter school that confers the SSB is required to maintain appropriate records to identify students who have met the established criteria for the award and to affix the SSB insignia to the diploma or transcript of each qualifying student. The bolded language below indicates changes to requirements for earning the SSB brought about by AB 1142, effective January 1, 2018.

Per EC Section 51461(a), to qualify for the SSB, high school graduates must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Complete all English language arts requirements for graduation with an overall grade point average of 2.0 or above in those classes.
  • Pass the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress for English language arts, or any successor test, administered in grade eleven, at or above the “standard met” achievement level, or at the achievement level determined by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) for any successor test.
  • Achieve proficiency in one or more languages in addition to English, demonstrated through one of the following methods:
  • Pass a foreign language Advanced Placement (AP) examination with a score of 3 or higher or an International Baccalaureate (IB) examination with a score of 4 or higher.
  • Successfully complete a four-year high school course of study in a foreign (world) language with an overall grade point average of 3.0 or above in that course of study, and oral proficiency in the language comparable to that required to pass an AP or IB examination.
  • If no AP examination or off-the-shelf language test exists and the school district can certify to the SSPI that the test meets the rigor of a four-year high school course of study in that foreign (world) language, pass a school district language examination that, at a minimum, assesses speaking, reading, and writing in a language other than English at the Proficient level or higher. If a school district offers an examination in a language in which an AP examination or off-the-shelf language test does exist, the school district language examination shall be approved by the SSPI for the purpose of determining proficiency in a language other than English. A pupil who seeks to qualify for the SSB through a language that is not characterized by listening, speaking, or reading, or for which there is no written system, shall pass an assessment on the modalities that characterize communication in that language at the proficient level or higher.
  • Pass the Scholastic Assessment Test II Foreign Language Examination with a score of 600 or higher.

Per EC Section 51461(b), if the primary language of a pupil in any of grades nine through twelve (inclusive) is other than English, he or she shall do both of the following in order to qualify for the SSB:

  • Attain the level demonstrating English language proficiency on the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California, or any successor English language proficiency assessment, in transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, or any of the grades one through twelve, inclusive.
  • Meet all the criteria listed above in EC sections 51461(a)(1)(2) and (3).

All staff involved in collecting data and implementing the SSB in their district should read EC sections 51460–51464, which are available on the California Legislative Information Web page at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes.xhtml.

Frequently asked questions and the following documents are available on the California Department of Education (CDE) SSB Web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/420511:

  • SSB Requirements Checklist (This checklist is for local use only. Do not submit this checklist to the CDE.) School district, COE, and direct-funded charter school staff may use this spreadsheet to identify graduating students who meet the SSB criteria.
  • SSB Insignia Request Form (Complete and submit this form online to the CDE.) School district, COE, and direct-funded charter school staff must complete and submit this form online to request the diploma insignias for eligible students. The CDE is no longer accepting paper Insignia Request Forms.

The CDE will process requests for insignias for the 2017–18 school year upon receipt. While there is no deadline for submitting the form, please submit requests far enough in advance of the date of the first graduation ceremony to allow time for the CDE to process the requests and for school staff to affix the insignias to diplomas. Allow at least four weeks for processing and delivery.

Please share this information with your designated staff responsible for SSB implementation, such as high school principals, administrators, World Language Department chairs, and English Learner Program directors. If you have questions regarding the SSB, please contact the Language Policy and Leadership Office by phone at 916-319-0845 or by e-mail at SEAL@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

Tom Torlakson

TT:ggs
2017-06298

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, May 14, 2019

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