New Jersey State Seal of Biliteracy
The New Jersey State Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in at least one language in addition to English by high school graduation. The NJDOE, pursuant to P.L. 2015, c. 303 enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey, established the State Seal of Biliteracy program in 2016 to help students recognize the value and the tangible benefits of bilingualism. Since its inception, a total 30,195 Seals of Biliteracy have been awarded. This designation on a student’s high school diploma also provides employers and universities with a method of identifying bilingual candidates, students with 21st century skills, and those who have prioritized the study of other languages and cultures. Moreover, the State Seal of Biliteracy emphasizes the importance of both bilingualism, which facilitates improved communication and boosts the local economy, and cultural understanding, which promotes social acceptance.
- Demonstrating Proficiency in English
- Demonstrating Proficiency in Languages Other Than English
How can my district let the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) know that we will participate in the Seal of Biliteracy program this year?
For school districts to denote participation in the State Seal of Biliteracy program, they should indicate the district biliteracy seal coordinator in the County/District/School (CDS) information system, located on the New Jersey Department of Education’s (NJDOE) Homeroom webpage.
Who determines whether a student is eligible to receive the Seal of Biliteracy?
Local school districts are responsible for ensuring that students have met all of the assessment requirements for being awarded a seal. The assessment requirements can be found below in the Acceptable Evidence of Proficiency section. However, it is NJDOE that makes the final determination and awards certificates after completing a verification process.
Does the Seal of Biliteracy come with any high school credits?
No. The Seal of Biliteracy indicates recognition of a minimum proficiency level attained by a student in at least one language in addition to English. The Seal of Biliteracy is not awarded based on seat time or course completion requirements, and it is not tied to credits. Attainment of the seal does not provide credits toward graduation and does not act in any way as full or partial fulfillment for a student's being granted a diploma. Information about graduation requirements can be found in N.J.A.C. 6A:8-5.1.
Does the Seal of Biliteracy apply to American Sign Language (ASL) and classical languages (e.g. Latin)?
Yes. In New Jersey, ASL and classical languages are considered world languages.
Is there a fee to order the seal certificates?
No. There is no fee charged to order the seal certificates.
What kind of insignia or certification will be provided to students who earn the seal?
Students who are eligible for a Seal of Biliteracy will receive a certificate with the Seal noting their name and language(s) of attainment from the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE). In addition, school districts may wish to include the insignia "New Jersey State Seal of Biliteracy" and the language(s) for which the Seal was earned on student transcripts through their student data management systems (e.g. Genesis). Including a notation on student transcripts for a Seal of Biliteracy is at the discretion of the local district.
What is the difference between the seal and the insignia?
The seal is the image on the certificate. The insignia is the term "New Jersey State Seal of Biliteracy" that is placed on the student's transcript. Districts may place the insignia on student transcripts once the local district is able to certify student eligibility for a seal through assessment scores. The assessment requirements can be found below in the Acceptable Evidence of Proficiency section.
How can students demonstrate proficiency in English?
How can English Language Learners (ELLs) demonstrate proficiency in English in order to receive the Seal of Biliteracy?
ELLs may demonstrate English language proficiency attaining the English language arts graduation requirements or by achieving a score of at least 4 on all sections (e.g. listening, speaking, reading, and writing) on Tier B or Tier C of the ACCESS for ELLs assessment during their junior year of high school.
Which assessments can students use to demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English?
The required minimum proficiency or score for acceptable assessments can be found below in the Acceptable Evidence of Proficiency section. The list will be updated annually by the NJDOE. Please note that AP language and culture exams and International Baccalaureate Language B Standard Level (SL) or Higher Level (HL) must be taken during the junior year as scores from assessments taken during the senior year do not arrive until after graduation.
Students who are seeking to use results from an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate Language B SL or HL exam taken during their final year of high school to qualify for a Seal of Biliteracy will receive the results two to three months after graduation. Will these students be eligible to receive a seal after graduation?
No. Local districts must have all language assessment qualifying data completed by the NJDOE testing deadline of February 8 of a student’s senior year.
Can we submit scores from language assessments that were taken in 8th, 9th or 10th grade?
No. A Seal of Biliteracy denotes that a student has a specific level of language proficiency at the time of graduation. Therefore, only results from assessments that are administered from January 1 of a student’s junior year through the NJDOE testing deadline of February 8 of a student’s senior year are considered for the Seal of Biliteracy.
Can we use locally developed assessments for languages that do not have other readily available assessments?
Assessments not already listed in the Acceptable Evidence of Proficiency section must be submitted to the NJDOE for approval. The assessment list will be updated annually or when new assessments are approved.
Do English Language Learners (ELLs) have to demonstrate proficiency in their native language and English?
Yes. ELLs may demonstrate English language proficiency attaining the English language arts graduation requirements or by achieving a score of at least 4 on all sections (e.g. listening, speaking, reading, and writing) on Tier B or Tier C of the ACCESS for ELLs assessment during their junior year of high school. ELLs may also demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English through any of the assessments listed in the Acceptable Evidence of Proficiency section.
When a student is interested in receiving a Seal of Biliteracy, who is responsible for the cost of the assessment(s)?
As participation in the Seal of Biliteracy program is a commitment on the part of both the district and the students, payment of the assessment costs is decided at the local level. Districts should remember, however, that a Seal of Biliteracy assists students in demonstrating that they are ready for success in both their college endeavors and their future careers.
What are some recommendations for districts when testing?
It is recommended that Districts have students test with the name that appears in NJSMART and use the State ID number as the student ID number. This will allow NJDOE to more efficiently verify students for the Seal of Biliteracy.
When can students test for the Seal of Biliteracy?
The testing window for the Seal of Biliteracy is January 1 of a student’s junior year through the NJDOE testing deadline of February 8 of a student’s senior year.
Can students retake all or parts of an assessment?
Yes. All senior testing, including retakes, must be completed by the NJDOE testing deadline of February 8 of their senior year. Districts should reach out to assessment vendors to learn more about their retake policies.
What accommodations should be made for students with IEPs/504s?
Districts should review a student’s IEP/504 plan to make accommodations and reach out to assessment vendors for assistance.
English proficiency can be demonstrated through any of the NJDOE English language arts graduation requirements. English Language Learners (ELLs) students may also demonstrate English proficiency by achieving a score of at least 4 on all sections on Tier B or Tier C of the ACCESS for ELLs assessment during their junior year of high school.
To demonstrate proficiency in another language, school districts may offer or accept scores on any of the approved assessments below. Click on the hyperlinked assessment titles to learn which languages are tested.
|Assessment||Minimum Score||Minimum Requirements/Notes|
|ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL) Form B||I-3||A level of I-3 is required on all four components of the assessment: Interpretive Listening, Interpretive Reading, Interpersonal Listening and Speaking, andPresentational Writing|
|ACTFL Latin Interpretive Reading Assessment (ALIRA)||I-3||Interpretive Reading Test|
|Advanced Placement Language and Culture (AP)||4||Full Assessment|
|ALTA||ALTA 6/ ILR 1+||A score of ALTA 6 or ILR 1+ in both components of the assessment: Listening/Speaking and Writing|
|American Sign LanguageProficiency Interview (ASLPI)||3||Full Assessment|
|International Baccalaureate (IB) Language B Standard Level (SL) or Higher Level (HL)||4||Available only to students currently enrolled in IB programs|
|Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) Writing Proficiency Test (WPT)||Intermediate Mid||Both tests must be taken|
|Oral Proficiency Interview by Computer (OPIc) Writing Proficiency Test (WPT)||Intermediate Mid||Both tests must be taken|
Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI ASL)
|Intermediate Plus||Full Assessment|
|STAMP||5||A score of 5 or higher in all four components: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening|
|STAMP for ASL||5||Must achieve a score of 5 or higher in all components: Receptive and Expressive|
|STAMP for Latin||5||Interpretive Reading Test|
|STAMP WS (Formally known as WorldSpeak)||5||A score of 5 or higher in both components: Writing and Speaking|
For those languages that do not have an assessment available from the above approved list, please contact the New Jersey Department of Education to determine options for students with no other pathway for the Seal of Biliteracy.
January 1 – Testing window opens for juniors
February 8 – Deadline for senior testing (including all retakes)
March 1 – Districts update NJSMART SID Management Biliterate (3 fields) and ELA Pathway fields for graduating 12th graders and adult high school students.
May/June – Certificates uploaded to NJDOE Homeroom, Seal of Biliteracy section
- District indicates participation by identifying the district Biliteracy coordinator through the CDS system. Directions for adding or changing the Biliteracy coordinator can be found in the CDS Manual for Regular School Districts and Charters. Questions about the CDS should be directed to CDShelp@doe.nj.gov.
- District selects, orders and administers NJDOE approved World Language assessments to juniors and graduating seniors. See the Acceptable Evidence of Proficiency section above for possible assessments and required scores.
- District updates NJSMART SID Management Biliterate (3 fields) and ELA Pathway fields for graduating 12th graders and adult high school students. Refer to NJSMART Student Data Handbook for information on each field.
- NJDOE verifies NJSMART data and assessment data before uploading certificates for graduating 12th graders and adult high school students who have earned the State Seal of Biliteracy in NJDOE Homeroom.
- District downloads certificates from NJDOE Homeroom and distributes to graduating 12th graders and adult high school students.
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