III. Define the Criteria for Granting the Awards

The criteria for the high school Seal of Biliteracy has been defined as a standard statewide. Some districts have added to that criteria, strengthening recognition of additional aspects of biliteracy. Pathway awards can be defined by districts. Sample criteria for pathway awards follows.

Preschool Pathway Award: “Becoming Bilingual”

Preschool student from Redwood City School District with “I am Bilingual/Yo soy Bilingüe Award

The purpose of the award at preschool “graduation” is to help young children and their families feel pride and excitement about becoming bilingual. As children enter Kindergarten, their families make an important decision about the kind of language program in which they will enroll their children. For this reason, it is an important moment in the educational journey to support families to think about the value they place on bilingualism for their child and to provide information about dual language immersion (two way) programs, bilingual programs, heritage language programs and other options. Developmentally, this is also an important phase in which children’s attitudes about their home language, and about people who speak languages other than their own are being shaped. The Pathway to Bilingualism award is a statement of values. It is a participation award given to all children in preschool programs that meet criteria demonstrating active support for the development of dual language children. The program criteria include:

  • The preschool actively affirms the value of bilingualism (e.g., signs and posters are in multiple languages, children are routinely exposed to songs and phrases and chants in different languages, adults speak about how wonderful it is to be able to speak different languages)
  • The preschool staff educate parents about how to support dual language development (e.g., host workshops, provide written materials, and interact regularly with parents about raising bilingual children)
  • The preschool actively promotes rich oral language development in the child’s home language (whenever possible)
  • The preschool actively engages children in developing a love of books and print

Elementary School Pathway Awards

Elementary Bilingual Service and Participation Award (BSPA)

The intent of the Elementary School “Bilingual Service and Participation Award” (BPSA) is to encourage students along the path of bilingualism for students who are not actually in a dual language or bilingual program leading to biliteracy. This can be awarded at the end of elementary school. The criteria might include:

  • Attainment of age-appropriate proficiency in English (CELDT Proficiency for English Learners; California Standards Test in English Language Arts at a “Proficient” or higher level for English Only students);
  • Age appropriate oral/listening proficiency in the home language for English Learners and in the second language for students whose home language is English (e.g. Spanish LAS at a level 4 or higher);
  • Documentation of active use of two languages (e.g., serving as a bilingual ambassador for visitors to the school, reading books to preschoolers, etc.);
  • Positive attitudes towards bilingualism and understanding that bilingualism has benefits (demonstrated through an essay or oral presentation).

Elementary Bilingual Service and Participation Award

Elementary School Biliteracy Attainment Award

This award is designed to measure attainment of age-appropriate biliteracy for students who have been in Immersion, Heritage, Foreign Language, Two-Way Bilingual Immersion, Dual Language, or maintenance bilingual programs. Criteria could include:

  • California Standards Test in English Language Arts at the “Proficient” level or above in fifth grade;
  • Demonstration of proficiency in a language other than English (e.g., Standards Test in Spanish at the “Proficient” level or above in fifth grade, attainment of a level 4 or higher on the Spanish LAS).
  • In addition to the requirements outlined above, both the Bilingual Service and Participation Award and the Biliteracy Attainment Award could require students to complete several additional criteria that demonstrate actual use of two languages. These might include, for example:
  • Completion of a set number of hours of community service using primary language skills in service to the school or community and demonstrating the ability to use translation in social situations;
  • A written paper in two languages (translation) with a rubric score of 4 or above at the 5th grade level;
  • A written essay on why bilingualism is important to them personally, to their community, and to the world;
  • Oral presentation about five careers where bilingualism is important and why and how bilingualism is a benefit in those careers;
  • Reading logs signed by their teachers of ten books (at grade level) read independently in English and ten books (at grade level) read independently in a language other than English.

Middle School Awards

Middle School Awards can be presented to students on the path to biliteracy (Service and Participation) or for attainment of a specified level of biliteracy (Biliteracy Attainment Award).

Middle School Service and Participation Award

This award is designed to reward engagement in pursuit of language skills in two or more languages, to affirm positive attitudes towards multilingualism, and to validate use of multiple languages for all students. Requirements may include:

  • Participation in at least two years of a World Language class or a Native Speakers class with a passing grade;
  • California Standards Test – English Language Arts portion at a “Proficient” level or above;
  • Written essay on why knowing multiple languages is important;
  • Oral presentation about five careers where bilingualism is important and why and how bilingualism is a benefit in those careers;
  • A personal response essay to having attended two cultural events from the second language/ culture being studied.

Middle School Biliteracy Attainment Award

This award is designed to set a standard for high level biliteracy attainment for students in a Two- Way, Heritage, Immersion, World Language, or Dual Language program. All students, English fluent and English Learners, might be required to meet the following performance standards:

  • Proficient or above on the Standards Test in Spanish or District Assessment of grade-level competency in a language other than English;
  • Oral Proficiency in a language other than English (e.g., for a Spanish speaker in a Two-Way Bilingual Immersion or Dual Language program, LAS at a level 6/8 or equivalent);
  • California Standards Test – English Language Arts portion at a “Proficient” level or above;
  • Average grades of B or higher in English classes and in World Language or Native Speakers courses;
  • Written essay on why knowing multiple languages is important;
  • Oral presentation about five careers where bilingualism is important and why and how bilingualism is a benefit in those careers;
  • A personal response essay to having attended two cultural events from the second language/ culture they are studying.

The High School State Seal of Biliteracy

The California State Seal of Biliteracy Criteria established in legislation certifies attainment of a high level of proficiency in two or more languages. The English criteria includes:

  • Completion of all English language arts requirements for graduation with an overall grade point average of 2.0 or above.
  • Passing the California Standards test in English language arts administered in grade 11 at the proficient level or above.
  • For English learners not reclassified, attain the overall early advanced level on the English language development test

Santa Ana Unified School District Graduate with medallion and State Seal affixed to diploma.

The criteria for proficiency in a language other than English is one of the following:

  • Passing a World Language Advanced Placement examination with a score of 3 or higher
  • Passing an International Baccalaureate examination with a score of 4 or higher
  • Successful completion of a four-year high school course of study in a world language and attaining an overall grade point average of 3.0 or above
  • Passing a school district language exam that, at a minimum, assesses speaking, reading and writing passing at a proficient level or higher
  • Passing the SAT II world language examination with a score of 600 or higher

For procedures to request and grant the State Seal of Biliteracy go to the California State Seal of Biliteracy web page at www.cde.ca.gov/sp/el/er/sealofbiliteracy.asp

Some districts have elected to add additional criteria, such as use of biliteracy skills during community service activities, a district writing assessment and rubric (with a specified level of attainment), an oral interview or oral presentation assessment and rubric, use of the Linguafolio,  or other district-developed performance criteria.  For copies of writing prompts, writing rubrics and other assessment tools used by districts in the Seal of Biliteracy process, see the resources below each step.

Materials to support every step of implementation for pathway awards and the Seal of Biliteracy are available through:

Californians Together Implementation Materials

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