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 the study of and increased 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 State Department of Education (HIDOE) has awarded:

  • Class of 2017: 37 seals
  • Class of 2018: 129 seals
  • Class of 2019: 246 seals
  • Class of 2020: 361 seals

Eligibility

Beginning with the Class of 2023, the eligibility criteria have been updated to the following:
  • Must be a graduating senior enrolled in a Hawai‘i public or charter school
  • Demonstrate proficiency in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi or English:
    • ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi:
      • a minimum of 3.0 cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) upon graduation in Hawaiian Language Arts courses required for a high school graduation diploma
    • English (choose one of the following):
      • a minimum of 3.0 cumulative GPA upon graduation in English Language Arts courses required for a high school graduation diploma
      • a “3” or above in the Smarter Balanced English Language Arts/Literacy assessment completed in grade 11
      • a score of “3” or above on the AP English Language and Composition exam
      • a score of “4” or above on the IB English Language A exam
      • a composite score of at least 480 on the SAT Reading/Writing exam
      • a composite score of at least 18 on the ACT exam
      • an overall score of at least 4.5 on the most recent ACCESS for ELLs exam
  • Attain the requisite score for one or more of the following world language requirements:
    • ACTFL OPI and WPT: a rating comparable to Intermediate Mid or above*
    • AP language exam: a score of 3 or above
    • ASLPI: a score of 2 or above
    • Avant STAMP 4S, 3S, WorldSpeak (WS), or Super LCTL exam: a score of 5 or above*
    • IB language: a score of 4 or above

*Starting in School Year 2023-2024, candidates must score at least a 5 or Intermediate Mid in each language domain for these exams.

Please refer to the Available Languages and Assessments section for a list of languages and assessments accepted for the Hawaiʻi State Seal of Biliteracy. 


Class of 2023 Application

To apply, please submit the online application by the appropriate deadlines:
  • By 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 1, 2022: for applicants who wish to take the Advanced Placement (AP) language exams in School Year 2022-2023
  • By 3:00 p.m. on Monday, November 7, 2022: the first application deadline for all other applicants
  • Between 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 4, 2023, and 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 31, 2023: for applicants who missed the first application deadline.

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 the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (Department) in recognition of students who have 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 is the Seal of Biliteracy implemented? 

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 apply for and earn the Seal of Biliteracy? 

A graduating senior enrolled in a Hawai‘i public or public charter school. 

If I apply to earn the Hawai’i State 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, Hawaiʻi’s requirements to demonstrate ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and English language proficiency, score requirements for Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB), and scores requirements on the Department-approved language assessments are aligned to 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. 

How can I demonstrate proficiency in ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i?   

Candidates can obtain a 3.0 GPA or higher for the Hawaiian Language Arts courses required for graduation or take the Avant Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP) WorldSpeak ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i online assessment. 

How can I demonstrate proficiency in English? 

Candidates can obtain a 3.0 GPA or higher for the English Language Arts courses required for graduation or use other available scores for English language proficiency. Please visit bit.ly/HISeal for details. 

I am not enrolled in an AP course at my school. How can I sign up to take a language assessment for AP?  

A Hawai‘i public or public charter school student does not need to be enrolled in an AP course at his/her school to sign up for and 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 and go to “Taking Exams.”

I took an AP world language exam during my junior year and attained a score of 3.0 or higher. Can I use my AP scores toward meeting the Hawai'i Seal of Biliteracy world language requirement? 

Yes. Students who have already taken the AP world language exams in grade 9, 10, and/or 11 and received a score of 3.0 or higher can use the AP scores towards meeting the Hawai‘i State Seal of Biliteracy world language requirement. 

Kekaulike biliteracy seal recipient

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

In the summer, upon verification that the candidate has met all eligibility criteria, the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design (OCID) will add the Seal of Biliteracy designation to the transcript and send the Seal of Biliteracy certificate and medallion via U.S. mail. 

What new languages are available through the online language assessment?   

Please visit bit.ly/HISeal2023LanguageExamList for a complete list of languages and exams available for the Class of 2023 candidates. 

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

No. OCID will coordinate with the schools to arrange for the assessment administration.  

I have studied a world language for four years at my high school and have maintained at least a 3.0 GPA in those classes. May I use my course credits to meet the world language assessment requirement for the Hawai‘i State Seal of Biliteracy? 

No. In order to earn the Hawai‘i State Seal of Biliteracy, a student must take a world language assessment approved by the Department 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 the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM).  How will the College of Arts, Languages & Letters at UHM recognize the Department’s Seal of Biliteracy?  

The College of Arts, Languages & Letters at UHM values the accomplishments of Department 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 UHM 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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