Seal of Biliteracy: Purpose
- To enable students to be college, career, and community ready in a global society;
- To establish an educational culture that recognizes and values the wealth of linguistic and cultural diversity students bring to the classroom;
- To support opportunities for study of and increase proficiency in ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i; and
- To encourage partnerships with institutions of higher education and community organizations to increase access to language instruction in a variety of languages.
Please see Board of Education Policy
105-15, Seal of Biliteracy. Since the institution of the seal, the Hawai‘i DOE has awarded:
- Class of 2017: 39 seals
- Class of 2018: 135 seals
- Class of 2019: 246 seals
Applications for the Class of 2020 will be released in late fall 2019. Requirements for the Class of 2019 are listed below for reference.
- Must be a graduating senior enrolled in a Hawaii public or charter school.
- Demonstrate a minimum overall 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) upon graduation.
- Successfully complete courses required for English Language Arts or Hawaiian Language Arts for a high school graduation diploma with a minimum 3.0 GPA upon graduation..
- Attain the requisite score for ONE or more of the following language requirements:
- A score of “3” or above on the Advanced Placement (AP) exam for a language. (AP exams are available in Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish.)
- A score of “4” or above on the International Baccalaureate exam for a language. (IB exams are available to students enrolled in an IB program.)
A score of "5" or above on a DOE-approved language assessment. The online language assessments will be offered in Arabic, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), English, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. No later than Spring 2019, Ilokano and Korean will be available.
A score of (to be determined) or above on the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI) or other DOE-approved ASL assessment.
A score of (to be determined) or above on the DOE-approved language assessment for ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi.
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What is the Seal of Biliteracy?
The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by the Hawaii State Department of Education in recognition of students who have (studied and) attained a high level of proficiency in both of the State's two official languages, English and Hawaiian, OR either of the state’s two official languages and at least one additional language, including American Sign Language, by high school graduation.
Why implement a Seal of Biliteracy?
The Seal of Bilteracy encourages students to pursue biliteracy, honors the skills our students attain, and can be evidence of skills that are attractive to future employers and college admissions offices.
Is the Seal of Biliteracy just for English learners?
No. A Seal of Biliteracy is granted to all students who meet the criteria for the award.
In Hawaii, who can earn the Seal of Biliteracy?
Beginning with the Class of 2017, a graduating senior enrolled in a Hawaii public or charter school.
If I apply to earn Hawaii’s Seal of Biliteracy and end up needing to move to another state before graduating, how will Hawaii’s requirements translate to other states?
Currently, Hawaii’s 3.0 GPA requirement for English or Hawaiian Language Proficiency (English course requirements or Hawaiian Language Arts courses), score requirements for Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate, as well as scores on DOE approved language assessments meet or exceed other states’ requirements for the Seal of Biliteracy.
Since Seal of Biliteracy requirements vary from state to state (or in some instances, by school districts), please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we may research your particular situation.
Which states have adopted or offer the Seal of Biliteracy?
View a current list
For the English Language Proficiency Requirement, do I need to obtain a 3.0 GPA or higher for both my overall GPA and English Language Arts courses required for graduation?
Yes. The Hawaii State Board of Education has established a Seal of Biliteracy to be awarded upon graduation to students who have (studied and) attained a high level of proficiency in both of the state's two official languages, English and Hawaiian, OR either of the State’s two official languages and at least one additional language, including American Sign Language, by high school graduation.
How can I sign up to take a language assessment for Advanced Placement (AP)? I am not enrolled in an AP course at my school.
A Hawaii public school or charter school student does not need to be enrolled in an AP course at his/her school to sign up to take an AP language assessment. If your high school offers AP courses, contact your AP Coordinator to register. Visit
I took AP language assessments during my sophomore and junior years and attained a score of 3.0 or higher. Can I use my AP scores towards meeting the Class of 2019 requirements for the Hawaii Seal of Biliteracy?
Yes. HIDOE's Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design (OCID) will contact high school principals and registrars with a list of potential Hawaii students who may want to apply for the Seal of Biliteracy. These students will have already taken an AP language assessment and received a score of 3.0 or higher.
AP and IB scores are released during the summer following graduation. How will I know if I was successful in earning the Hawaii Seal of Biliteracy?
OCID will verify if a graduating senior applicant has met the Seal of Biliteracy eligibility criteria in Spring 2019. A Seal of Biliteracy recipient’s transcript will reflect the earning of this honor, and he/she will receive an official letter via U.S. mail from the Hawaii State Department of Education along with a Seal of Biliteracy certificate per language and a medallion no later than July 31, 2019.
Pictured: King Kekaulike High School Sensei Jan Matsushita presents senior Hina Okabe with the Seal of Biliteracy for proficiency in English and Japanese on May 16, 2017.
I took four years in a world language at my high school and maintained at least a 3.0 in those classes. May I use my course credits to meet the language assessment requirement for the Hawaii Seal of Biliteracy?
No. In order to earn the Hawaii Seal of Biliteracy, a student must take a language assessment approved by the Hawaii State Department of Education and meet its designated minimum score requirements. Language assessments will optimally measure a student’s real-world proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
How will the College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature at the University of Hawaii recognize HIDOE’s Seal of Biliteracy?
The College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature at the University of Hawaii, Manoa values the accomplishments of HIDOE students who have earned the Seal of Biliteracy, and will award credit according to its policies regulating test score equivalencies. The College further encourages students who earn the Seal to consider continuing to develop their proficiency in their additional language through pursuing a major, minor or certificate in Hawaiian or a world language in their post-secondary studies.