What is the Seal of Biliteracy?

The SEAL OF BILITERACY is a distinction that encourages students to pursue biliteracy, honors the language skills our students attain, and serves as evidence of skills that are attractive to future employers and college admissions offices. Students meeting the requirements for the Seal of Biliteracy will receive this designation in the form of an insignia affixed to their transcripts or diplomas.

The Seal of Biliteracy is a national movement.  To read more about which states have approved the Seal and what it’s all about, check out the national Seal of Biliteracy website.

Who is eligible and how do I qualify?

To qualify, a student must meet all graduation requirements and:

  • Demonstrate a high level of proficiency in English with a score of 240 or above on the 10th-grade ELA MCAS.
  • Demonstrate a high level of proficiency in another language by passing an assessment approved by the  Massachusetts DESE.
    • Advanced Placement (AP®):
      • Language and Culture, Literature and Culture, Latin:
        • (Score of 4 – 5, in May prior to year of graduation).
    • AAPPL® (ACTFL Assessment of Performance towards Proficiency in Languages)
      • (Score of Intermediate-High or higher, by April of senior year).
    • ALIRA® (ACTFL Latin Interpretive Reading Assessment)
      • (Score of Intermediate-High or higher, by April of senior year).

What is the deadline?

The deadline to apply for the class of 2020 is December 20, 2019, 2:30 PM.

When will the test be administered?

You have several options from which to choose.  AAPPL testing takes a minimum of 2 hours.  Some students finish in that amount of time;  others have needed as much as 4 hours to complete the tests (AAPPLs are untimed;  ALIRA for Latin is timed).  Once you choose a testing date, you need to commit to that time because space is limited.

Saturday 1/11/2020 8:00AM-12:00PM
Monday 1/13/2020 8:00AM-12:00PM
Monday 1/13/20 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Tuesday 1/14/2020 8:00AM-12:00PM
Tuesday 1/14/2020 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Why can’t I use my AP® scores from my senior year?

The Seal of Biliteracy is a graduation distinction.  AP® exams are not scored until mid-June each year.  Therefore, the Massachusetts DESE regulations do not permit AP® scores from senior-year exams.

What languages are available on AAPPL®?

The AAPPL is available in:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • French
  • German
  • Hindi
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Thai.

But I take Latin. What assessment do I take?

Students wishing to receive the Seal in Latin take the ALIRA® (unless they took the AP® Latin exam last year and scored 4 or 5).

What if I want to apply for the Seal in a language not listed above?

Contact the department head for Classical and Modern Languages for alternative testing options or portfolio eligibility by the deadline.

How do I apply?

Apply here (Students must be logged in to their WHS account to access the application form.)  This link will change annually, and will be live only at specified times each year.  Ask your language teacher or the CML department head for details.

What is the Seal of Biliteracy with Distinction?

If your 10-grade ELA MCAS score is 260 or higher and your AAPPL or ALIRA score is Advanced-Low (or AP® score is 5), you will be recognized with distinction.

When will I receive my AAPPL or ALIRA score and how are the results reported?

AAPPL® and ALIRA® scores will be available approximately 2 to 3 weeks after you sit for the assessment. We will notify you how to obtain your official score report.  If you do not receive notification by April, please contact the CML department head immediately.

AAPPL breaks the proficiency scale down by range:

    • Novice Low (N1)
    • Novice Mid (N2, N3)
    • Novice High (N4)
    • Intermediate Low (I1)
    • Intermediate Mid (I2, I3, I4)
    • Intermediate High (I5, I6)
    • Advanced Low (A1)

What’s taking the AAPPL like?

See the AAPPL Measure FAQs page for details.

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