Having literacy in multiple languages and familiarity with different cultures are important skills in today’s world. Saint Patrick High School wants to recognize students who reach a valuable level of proficiency in English and a non-English language through the Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy program.  

What is it?  

The Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy is a certification given to high school students in the State of Illinois who attain proficiency in English and a non-English language.  The language may be a different language spoken at home, or a language learned in school.  The Seal started in California in 2011 and is now offered in 49 out of 50 states in the USA. 

What are the qualifications?  

In accordance with requirements issued by the Illinois State Board of Education, students must meet the following criteria to earn the Seal of Biliteracy:  

English:  There are several paths to qualifying for the English side of the Seal: 

  • ACT:  On the ACT exam, students must earn a composite score of 21.  
  • AP English Language and Composition:  Students can earn a score of 4 or better on the AP English Language and Composition exam
  • Proficiency test:  If students did not meet any of the benchmarks listed above, students can have the opportunity to take an English proficiency test 

Non-English language:  

  • Proficiency tests: There are proficiency tests available for a wide variety of languages that students at St Patrick know.  They include but are not limited to Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified and Traditional) Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Spanish.  

If a language you speak is not listed here, please inquire with the St Patrick coordinator for the Seal.  

Students must earn a composite proficiency rating of Intermediate-High on a language exam covering  all four main communication domains in order to earn the seal – listening, speaking, reading, and writing.  To get an idea of what this means, see here.  

  • AP Spanish exam:  Students can earn a score of 4 on the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam to earn the Seal in Spanish.  
Can students earn the Seal of Biliteracy in more than one language?  

Yes they can.  The school will cover the cost of all tests the student signs up to take.  

What is the cost?  

St Patrick will cover the cost of student exams.  

What if a student doesn’t reach Intermediate-high in all domains?  

If a student earns scores within the Intermediate range on all domains of their language proficiency test but doesn’t reach an Intermediate-High composite score, they will earn a recognition called the Commendation towards the Seal of Biliteracy.  

Graduation and Recognition

The coordinator of the Seal at St Patrick will work in conjunction with the school to ensure that students’ recognitions are valid and seen:  

  • A seal will be affixed to your high school diploma 
  • Your recognition will be noted on your final transcript 

Apart from these, students are encouraged to note on employment applications that they are a recipient of the State Seal of Biliteracy, and list the language.  

For further information about the Seal of Biliteracy at Saint Patrick, contact