Seal of Biliteracy

The Hawai‘i State Board of Education established a Seal of Biliteracy to be awarded upon graduation to students who demonstrate a high 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.

biliteracy seal​ 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: 37 seals
  • Class of 2018: 129 seals
  • Class of 2019: 246 seals

Eligibility

  1. Must be a graduating senior enrolled in a Hawai‘i public or charter school.
  2. Demonstrate a minimum overall 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) upon graduation.
  3. 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.
  4. Attain the requisite score for one or more of the following world language requirements:  
    • Advanced Placement (AP) language exam:  a score of “3” or above.  (AP exams are available in French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish.)
    • International Baccalaureate (IB) language exam:  a score of “4” or above.  (IB exams are available in Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish to students currently enrolled in an IB program.)
    • Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE)-approved online language assessment:  a score of “5” or above.  [Online language assessment is available in Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Chin (Hakha), Chuukese, Czech, English, French, German, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Ilocano, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese (simplified and traditional), Marathi, Marshallese, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Sāmoan, Somali Maay Maay, Somali Maxaa, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Telugu, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese, and Yup‘ik.] 
    • HIDOE-approved ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i assessment:  pending availability of a new assessment.
    • American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI):  a score of 2 or above.

Class of 2021 Application

Apply now for the Seal of Biliteracy Class of 2021.


Common Questions

flyer

Click the image at right for our Seal of Biliteracy flyer.

What is the Seal?

The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) in recognition of students who have (studied and) demonstrated 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 Biliteracy 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 Hawai‘i, who can earn the Seal of Biliteracy?

Beginning with the Class of 2017, a graduating senior enrolled in a Hawai‘i public or charter school.​

If I apply to earn Hawai‘i’s Seal of Biliteracy and end up needing to move to another state before graduating, how will Hawai‘i’s requirements translate to other states?

Currently, Hawai‘i’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 HIDOEapproved 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 biliteracy@k12.hi.us, so we may research your particular situations.

Which states have adopted or offer the Seal of Biliteracy?

Visit http://sealofbiliteracy.org/faq#n293 for a current list of states.

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 Hawai‘i State Board of Education has established a Seal of Biliteracy to be awarded upon graduation to students who have (studied and) demonstrated 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 Hawai‘i 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 world language assessment. If your high school offers AP courses, contact your AP Coordinator to register. Visit https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/ home, go to “Taking Exams.”

I took AP world 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 2021 requirements for the Hawai'i Seal of Biliteracy?

Yes. The HIDOE Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design (OCID) will contact high schools with a list of potential Hawai‘i students who may want to apply for the Seal of Biliteracy. These students will have already taken an AP world language assessment and received a score of 3.0 or higher.

Kekaulike biliteracy seal recipient

AP and International Baccalaureate (IB) scores are released during the summer following graduation. How will I know if I was successful in earning the Hawai‘i Seal of Biliteracy?

OCID will verify if a graduating senior applicant has met the Seal of Biliteracy eligibility criteria in Spring 2021. A Seal of Biliteracy recipient’s transcript will reflect the earning of this honor, and he/she will receive an official notification from OCID via U.S. mail with a Seal of Biliteracy certificate and a medallion no later than July 31, 2021.

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.

How will ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i be assessed?  

OCID is currently working with stakeholders to develop a new ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i language proficiency assessment. Should the assessment become available before the school year ends, candidates selecting ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i for their world language proficiency can take the assessment.

What new languages are available through the online language assessment?   

Avant Assessment now offers online language assessments in Chuukese and Marshallese.

If I choose to take the DOE-approved online language assessment to meet the world language requirement, do I arrange on my own to take the assessment?

No. OCID will provide schools and students with log-in to take the online language assessment.

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 world language assessment requirement for the Hawai‘i Seal of Biliteracy?

No. In order to earn the Hawai‘i Seal of Biliteracy, a student must take a world language assessment approved by the HIDOE and meet its designated minimum score requirements. World language assessments will optimally measure a student’s real-world proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

I’ve been accepted to UH-Mānoa. How will the College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature at UH-Mānoa recognize the HIDOE’s Seal of Biliteracy? 

The College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature at UH-Mānoa 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 a world language in their postsecondary studies.

What resources are available to support the use of language skills in college, career, and community development?

The Hawai‘i Language Roadmap Initiative at UH Mānoa has created resources to support multilingual students with college, career, and community readiness. Please visit http://bit.ly/HLRResources to access the resources.


Contact Information

Emily Lam

Phone: 808-305-9722

Email: biliteracy@k12.hi.us​

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