Level of Language Proficiency Required


Both native and non-native speakers of English need to provide comparable evidence of English Proficiency, as determined by the state guidelines. The language performance should be demonstrated in both social and academic use of the language, in all modes of communication.

Other Languages:

Native and non-native users of a language other than English need to provide evidence of proficiency in that language. The minimum target level should be Intermediate Mid based on the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. The student should demonstrate proficiency in the modes of communication appropriate for that language; not all languages have all modes of communication (Interpersonal communication involving conversational speaking and listening or signed exchanges; Interpretive reading, listening, or viewing; and Presentational communication shown by creating messages for a reader, listener, or viewer through writing, speaking, or signing). The language performance should be demonstrated in both social and academic (content-based) use of the language, where possible.

States could consider a two-tier Seal of Biliteracy providing a higher option in the Advanced range. This is especially appropriate for bilingual or dual language programs.

Unique requirements for specific languages:

Due to unique characteristics of certain languages, special allowances may need to be made. We recommend that in cases where language assessments across all three modes of communication may not be appropriate or available, states/districts have the right to substitute a different assessment that meets the spirit of the Seal of Biliteracy. Students seeking the Seal through languages not characterized by the use of listening, speaking, reading, or for which there is not a writing system, will demonstrate the expected level of proficiency on an assessment of the modalities that characterize communication in that language.

Examples include:

  • Latin and Classical Greek – recommend assessment of interpretive reading and presentational writing, not of listening or interpersonal face-to-face communication
  • American Sign Language (ASL) – recommend assessment of interpersonal signed exchange, presentational signing, and demonstrating understanding of ASL (such as interpreting a signed lecture or by summarizing and responding to questions aimed at overarching understanding)
  • Native American Languages – recommend assessment of interpersonal face-to-face communication as well as interpretive listening and presentational speaking, and writing and reading where a written code exists.