Seal of Biliteracy now a designation offered to eligible BAHS students
In March, Pennsylvania adopted the Seal of Biliteracy as one of 47 states to do so. It’s a designation open to students who have attained an intermediate-to-high level of proficiency in English and at least one additional world language upon high school graduation.
Since then, it has also been adopted by Bellefonte Area High School with at least one student accepted – Brynn Albright – and more on the horizon, just waiting for assessment results.
According to district gifted instructor Sabrina Sandoval, the designation affects students in many ways.
- For those testing as seniors and receive the seal, it allows colleges and universities to place them more accurately in a higher-level language class as college freshmen.
- For those heading into the workforce, it allows the students to share their biliteracy with potential employers, which makes them more ideal candidates for a number of positions.
- For students who take the test prior to his or her senior year, the assessment shows very clearly the areas of mastery and the areas in which they could grow. This allows them to work closely with their teachers to meet individual needs in pursuit of continued language learning.
“The Seal of Biliteracy will potentially impact any language students, but also any students who have heritage languages that they speak at home,” high school Spanish teacher Emily Zimdahl-McManus said. “So, this also will impact our English language learners significantly.”
To receive the designation, a test is required, and offered to high school students in 11th and 12th grades who have been identified as gifted. Some Spanish class students have been given the opportunity to pursue the Seal of Biliteracy after showing potential. To learn more about the gifted program, visit this link: Gifted education
“To be truly eligible, they have to show mastery of the language skills within the classroom, and have a desire and willingness to take the exam,” Sandoval added.
If they pass, the seal will be placed on their diploma and transcript, which not only portrays achievement, but also serves as an indication to universities and/or future employers of their high language proficiency.
The assessment tests students on reading, listening comprehension, speaking and writing.
*By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD