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Seal of Biliteracy

Massachusetts seal of biliteracy

Recognizing our Biliterate/Bilingual Students

North Andover Public Schools is excited to announce an opportunity for students who are literate in both English and another language: The Seal of Biliteracy. The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given to graduating seniors who have met or exceeded expectations on the ELA MCAS exam and demonstrated Intermediate High or higher level proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening in a partner language. Recipients of the Seal of Biliteracy will graduate with special distinction. This program is designed to both motivate and recognize students who have pursued and attained biliteracy/bilingualism during their academic career in North Andover. Both Juniors and Seniors are eligible to apply for this award. 

How to Apply

Complete an application:

Seal of Biliteracy Application

STAMP Exam Payment Portal

  1. Please refer to the application linked above for important testing dates.
  2. Achieve a score of either Advanced or Proficient (or Meets or Exceeds Expectations) on the MCAS English Language Arts Exam for Grade 10.
  3. Achieve the appropriate passing score on a test in a partner language or on the portfolio during the Junior or Senior year.

About the Seal of Biliteracy Awards

State Seal of Biliteracy with Distinction:  In order to receive the State SEAL of Biliteracy with Distinction, a student will need a score of Advanced on the grade 10 ELA MCAS and a proficiency score of Advanced-Low based on the ACTFL Rubric (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) in a partner language. North Andover will use Avant STAMP (STAndards-based Measurement of Proficiency) or equivalent test to determine competency in the partner language.

Seal of Biliteracy: In order to receive the State SEAL of Biliteracy, a student will need a score of Proficient on the grade 10 ELA MCAS and a proficiency score of Intermediate-High based on the ACTFL Rubric (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) in a partner language. North Andover will use the STAMP (STAndards-based Measurement of Proficiency)  or equivalent test to determine competency in the partner language.

Recognizing Bilingualism: North Andover plans to create its own SoBL to reward bilingualism.  In order to recognize bilingualism, a student will need a passing score on the STAMP or equivalent and additional portfolio assessment in the domains of Speaking and Listening.  

Background and History

On November 22, 2017, Governor Baker signed into law “An Act Relative to Language Opportunity for Our Kids,” Chapter 138 of the Acts of 2017, commonly referred to as the LOOK Act. The State Seal of Biliteracy is a key element of the LOOK Act. On June 26, 2018, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted regulations that describe the criteria that school districts must use to award the State Seal of Biliteracy. The regulations describe that the purposes of the State Seal of Biliteracy are to:

  • Encourage students to study and master languages
  • Certify attainment of biliteracy skills
  • Recognize the value of language diversity
  • Provide employers with a method of identifying people with language and biliteracy skills
  • Provide universities with a method to recognize and give credit to applicants for the attainment of high-level skills in languages
  • Prepare students with skills that will benefit them in the labor market and the global society
  • Strengthen intergroup communication and honor the multiple cultures and languages in a community

Significantly, the State Seal of Biliteracy provides a means to recognize high school graduates who attain high functional and academic levels of proficiency in English and a World Language, meaning that those students can function in those languages in authentic, real-life situations. Read more Frequently Asked Questions on the Mass DOE's website.

Implementation of the SoBL will benefit North Andover Public Schools in the following ways:

  • Discover and honor the cultural and linguistic diversity of North Andover
  • Respect the achievement of native speakers of World Languages other than English
  • Ensure that all students are encouraged to improve their bilingual proficiency and communicate effectively to be constructive global citizens 
  • Improve proficiency for authentic 21st century real world communication and intercultural competency
  • Implement the ACTFL paradigm within the 2021 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for World Language proficiency in our consistent, rigorous and meaningful curriculum, instruction and assessment 
  • Lead students to recognize the connection between the SoBL and future employment opportunities locally and internationally 
  • Partner with community resources to promote emerging bilingual literacy

Many of our neighboring schools have implemented or are planning to implement the Seal of Biliteracy. They include but are not limited to Andover, Lawrence, Methuen, Haverhill, Melrose, Wilmington, Tewksbury, Triton and North Reading.