Seal of Biliteracy

  • What is the Seal of Biliteracy?

    The Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy is an award bestowed by the Illinois State Board of Education and given by School District U-46 in recognition and celebration of students who have attained a high level of proficiency in one or more language in addition to English by high school graduation. The state of Illinois officially adopted the Seal of Biliteracy in 2013; District U-46 first participated in the program in 2016-2017.   

    Students who have earned the Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy or the Illinois State Commendation Toward Biliteracy will receive their award at the time of their graduation. Their achievement will be acknowledged on student transcripts and diplomas.


    Rationale for the Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy

    The Illinois State Board of Education and School District U-46 recognize the importance of language and how it helps prepare students for global citizenship. Not only is learning a language beneficial to students’ cognitive development, it also provides opportunities for them to participate effectively in global political, social, cultural and economic contexts. Further, the demand for employees to be fluent in more than one language is increasing rapidly in Illinois and throughout the world. The Seal of Biliteracy builds upon the rich linguistic and cultural assets of the district and community, providing students with the necessary skills to be successful in college, career, and life.

    For more information about the Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy, please contact Jacob VandeMoortel, Coordinator of World Languages and K-12 Social Studies at or 847-888-5000 ext 7705.

    Students applying for the Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy or Commendation Award must demonstrate proficiency in English and an additional language.

    The SAT is the state academic assessment for high school. Districts may use results from the ISBE-provided SAT School Day administration or an alternate SAT session to determine whether a student meets the award's English proficiency requirement, which is the English language arts/reading standard set by the state. On October 18, 2017, the Illinois State Board of Education approved a minimum English language arts (ELA) score of 540 to meet standards on the SAT. 

    In order to ensure that students who were previously identified as meeting the requirements for the Illinois State Seal of Literacy or Commendation Award, the 2017-2018 year will be a transition year. During this year of transition, districts may still use the previously acceptable SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing College and Career Ready Benchmark of 480 for purposes of awarding the Seal of Biliteracy and Commendation to 2017-18 graduates. Beginning in school year 2018-19, all applicants who used the SAT to document English proficiency for the Seal or Commendation must achieve a minimum score of 540 on the SAT.


    To qualify for the Seal of Biliteracy by their senior year of high school, students must demonstrate proficiency in:

    English by:

    • Earning a minimum score of 18 in the Reading/Writing portion of the ACT or a composite of 21, OR
    • Earning a minimum score of 480 in the Evidence Based Reading and Writing portion of the SAT for tests before 2018-2019, or a minimum of 540 for tests taken in 2018-2019 or later, OR
    • Earning a minimum overall score of 4.8 on the ACCESS for ELLs exam taken while in high school.


    Foreign Language by:

    • Earning a 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement language exam taken prior to this school year, OR
    • Earn a minimum score of I-5 on all four domains of the ACTFL's Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL) exam. The following languages can be assessed with the AAPPL exam: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai.
    • Earn a minimum score of INTERMEDIATE HIGH on all four domains of the STAMP 4S Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency.  The following languages can be assessed with the STAMP 4S exam:  Hebrew and Polish.


    Language Assessments chart