Student Scholarships, Awards & Special Programs

Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy

The State Seal of Biliteracy is an award provided by state approved districts that recognizes high school graduates who attain high functional and academic levels of proficiency in English and a world language in recognition of having studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. Our vision is to help students recognize the value of their academic success and see the tangible benefits of being bilingual. The State Seal of Biliteracy takes the form of a seal that appears on the transcript or diploma of the graduating senior and is a statement of accomplishment for future employers and for college admissions.

Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy

2021-2022 Seal of Biliteracy Implementation Webinars

  • Preparing for the Seal of Biliteracy: September 22, 2021 @ 3:00.
  • Assessing for the Seal of Biliteracy: January 11, 2022 @ 3:00.
  • Reporting and Analyzing Results from the Seal of Biliteracy: April 5, 2022 @ 3:00.
  • Registration is available here.

Guidance and General Information
Enrolling in the Seal of Biliteracy

Please follow the steps outlined below to enroll in the MA State Seal of Biliteracy on WBMS in the Department's Security Portal.

  1. Thoroughly read the most recent version of the Seal of Biliteracy Guidance (See Guidance and General Information);
  2. Ask your data collection directory administrator to assign you the role of WBMS-District Authorizer in the Security Portal. (Click here to see your district's data collection directory administrator. All questions regarding accessing the Security Portal should be directed to this administrator.)
  3. Log into WBMS through the Department's Security Portal.
  4. When you log into WBMS in the Security Portal, click on PQA Web MonitoringLOOK ActSeal of Biliteracy. (If you do not see PQA Web Monitoring as an option, click on View Your Application List. PQA Web Monitoring should then appear as an option.)
  5. Follow the directions on the screen to complete the enrollment process.

Implementation Resources

The links and materials below may be useful as you implement the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy


Assessments

In order to qualify for the Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy, students must demonstrate proficiency in English and at least one other language. Provided below is a list of assessments of English Language Arts and World Languages and their corresponding minimum threshold scores that the Department has approved for demonstrating proficiency toward the Seal of Biliteracy and the Seal of Biliteracy with Distinction. Please note that districts are required to keep records of world language assessments for students who earn the State Seal of Biliteracy.


Awarding
  • Accessing the insignia
    • Districts access the insignia by logging into WBMS on the Department's Security Portal and clicking PQA web monitoring → LOOK Act → Seal of Biliteracy. The image is available for download on that screen.
  • The Department does not provide awards, but districts are encouraged to recognize students who earn the State Seal of Biliteracy with medals, pins, certificates, or other district-provided recognitions.
  • DESE Letter to Graduates

Reporting

Districts report the number of graduates who earned the Seal of Biliteracy through SIMS. This is the only required reporting procedure. Please contact your district's data administrator to report Seal-earning students.

The Department collects more specific data on a volunteer basis. Click on the link below to submit your district's voluntary data to help DESE serve you better.

  • SIMS Data Report (Required for all districts who are participating in the State Seal of Biliteracy)
    • To be completed by the district's data administrator
    • Please ensure the data administrator has the following information:
      • The names of all graduates who have earned the State Seal of Biliteracy, and
      • Whether those graduates earned the Seal of Biliteracy or the Seal of Biliteracy with Distinction.
  • Indicate that the Voluntary Data Report is due by 8/31/2021
Higher Education

The Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy provides colleges and universities with a method to recognize and give credit to applicants for attainment of high level skills in languages. Currently nine public institutions of higher learning in Massachusetts provide language on their websites to provide credits for prior learning for students who have earned the Seal of Biliteracy. Those institutions include:

  • Bridgewater State University
  • Bunker Hill Community College
  • Cape Cod Community College
  • Massachusetts Bay Community College
  • Middlesex Community College
  • Mount Wachusett Community College
  • North Shore Community College
  • Northern Essex Community College
  • Salem State University

This list continues to grow. Check back for more updates.

Resources for Institutions of Higher Education

Last Updated: November 23, 2021

 
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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

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