Massachusetts Association for Bilingual Education

A nonprofit organization for  educators, families, and policy makers

Seal of Biliteracy Pathway Awards Pilot (MA)

Seal of Biliteracy Pathway Awards Pilot

Join MABE, MATSOL, and MAFLA members in the Language Opportunity Coalition to help develop the Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project in Massachusetts. In 2015-16, a working group of Massachusetts ESL, Dual Language, TBE, and World Language educators developed a Seal of Biliteracy Toolkit to support implementation of the Pathway Awards Pilot.  Revisions to the guidance document were completed in September 2016, and include lessons learned from the Year 1 Pilot.

Seal of Biliteracy Pathway Awards TOOLKIT,  working draft revised September 2016

The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school or school district in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation.  Schools and districts are encouraged to pilot the Bilingual Pathway Awards, recognizing significant steps towards developing biliteracy along a student’s trajectory from preschool into high school and college.

Schools and Districts willing to be part of the 2016-2017 Pilot should follow the following Pilot Implementation criteria:

  1. Participate in the Seal of Biliteracy Workgroup monthly electronic meetings (last Monday of the month, 7 - 8 pm), a project of the Language Opportunity Coalition,
  2. Mention and give credit to the tools and resources developed by the Language Opportunity Coalition,
  3. Agree to follow the required criteria for the specific awards as outlined in the “Toolkit”,
  4. Document and submit the number of students receiving the Pathway Awards, and include a list of the languages and language learning programs,
  5. Document and submit the standardized assessment and portfolio process used for assessing English and the second language, and
  6. Ask questions when they arise in the process and participate in the resolution of questions from others.
  7. Contribute to sharing examples of practice for implementing the pilot at the monthly Workgroup meetings.

The standard criteria agreed upon for the Seal of Biliteracy Pathway Awards Pilot must include passing the state standardized assessment for English (MCAS, ACCESS) and passing a standardized assessment in the non-English language at an intermediate proficiency level (or higher).   A portfolio with examples of language performance of different language competencies is an appropriate alternative formative assessment for assessing proficiency levels.  For ELLs, a specific criteria districts/schools may want to consider determining proficiency in the non-English language is the student’s school attendance/history in his/her country of origin.  Some districts/schools have additional criteria asking students to demonstrate actual use of two languages, thus strengthening recognition of additional aspects of biliteracy.

The Seal of Biliteracy Workgroup holds monthly online meetings on the 4th Monday of the month from 7-8 pm

Join the Seal of Biliteracy MA Google Group and send a message to the group stating you would like to get involved. 

See the Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project page for more information about the project.

Read about Year 1 Pilot of the Seal of Biliteracy Pathway Awards, October 2016

Examples of District Announcements, 2015-2016

Examples of District Announcements, 2016-17

Schools Awarding the Seal of Biliteracy and Pathway Awards, Year 1 Pilot 2015-2016

  • Winchester High School - 110 students!
  • Wilmington High School - 3 students!
  • Margarita Muniz High School - 51 students!
  • W. Wilson, Brophy, Walsh Middle School and Fuller Middle School - Framingham - 142 students!
  • Melrose High School - 32 students!
  • Falmouth High School - 14 students!

MABE Conference, March 19. 2016 Presentation: MA, RI and CT Panel "Lessons Learned Advocating for the Seal of Biliteracy"


    NABE endorses the Seal of Biliteracy!                 

Seal of Biliteracy Approved National Guidelines, March 2015       

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software