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Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

Niles West Offers Seniors the Chance to Earn the Seal of Biliteracy

The seal of biliteracy placed on a students diploma. Picture found on Niles West newsletter.
The seal of biliteracy placed on a students diploma. Picture found on Niles West newsletter.

Are you a senior and interested in receiving a biliteracy stamp on your transcript or diploma? Niles West offers a seal of biliteracy stamp to students who showcase proficiency in any two languages including English. Students who scored a 480 or higher on the English portion of the SAT are eligible to take a test for a second language they know or learned. Students must demonstrate skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking in that language in order to receive the seal. Students who receive this seal on their transcript and diploma may also be eligible for college credit depending on the university they plan to attend.

The test is not only for students who are currently studying a language at Niles West but open to all students who know a second language. It is also open for English language learners (ELL) students who are currently studying English as their second language. The World Language director Todd Bowen emphasizes the purpose of the seal of biliteracy and how it’s open for all students regardless of what language they are getting tested for.

Seniors who are interested in earning the seal of biliteracy must register before Feb. 15. The test will take place in March and the district will pay for the exam. If a student is taking an AP exam for any of the languages they do not need to take the seal of biliteracy test since students who earn a 4 or 5 on their AP exam are automatically given the seal on their diploma.

The seal of biliteracy first began in California and was later adopted by all 50 states. Niles West has offered this test for students for the past 10 years.

“The goal of the seal of biliteracy to recognize not only students who are learning another language but also recognizing students who are learning English. In fact, it started out in communities in California for students to be recognized with their home language and the English language that they were learning and then it grew nation wide where all 50 states have it. Now it focuses more on students who are learning a new language besides English,” Bowen said.

World Language teacher David Malatesta feels strongly about Niles West offering the seal of biliteracy test to students where they can demonstrate the knowledge they acquired.

“Todd Bowen initiated this, and that’s important to know. We didn’t have this before he got here, and it’s something that I think is really important for the students because one it’s a concrete goal students can work towards. Two, it’s not just the languages we teach here [Niles West] its many languages and three it gives students college credit which can save them some money,” Malatesta said.

Students who spent 4 years learning a second language at Niles West are glad they can also take the test to earn the seal of biliteracy which might get them college credit.

“This is a great opportunity for me to receive college credit for the language I studied at West without having to take the AP exam. I am glad our school is offering this to all students,” senior Nida Ahmed said.

The seal of bitlieracy not only benefits students who learned a new language but also benefits students who can communicate in their native language proficiently.

“I feel like the seal of biliteracy is an amazing opportunity for students like me to be recognized for knowing another language that is not taught at school. I can speak, read and write in Romanian since that is the language I grew up learning. I am grateful that I am able to take this test and show that I am also bilingual,” senior Alexandra Muntean said.

Through the seal of biliteracy, students can show the world they are fluent in more than two languages which can be quite beneficial for the future.

“Having the seal of biliteracy is a mark of what your able to do with a language and for an employer in the future or any other setting, it’s that badge of honor that you can shown them and claim your language rather than just making a statement about it.” Bowen said.

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