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Seal of Biliteracy

Biliteracy is the ability to speak, read, and write in two languages at a proficient level. The State Seal of Biliteracy is available to high school seniors and promotes multilingualism.

Seal of Biliteracy - IllinoisThe State Seal of Biliteracy is a recognition given by the State of Illinois to high school seniors who have studied and can exhibit the ability to communicate in two or more languages (including English) by their senior year of high school. It is highlighted on high school diplomas and serves as a statement of accomplishment for college admission and for future employment.

Recognition is not solely based on students' current language proficiency, but also in the continuing development of that language throughout the course of their elementary and middle school years in preparation for high school. Students who are native English speakers and English Learners (ELs) are eligible for the State Seal of Biliteracy.

Students who come close to meriting the Seal at the high school level will receive the State Commendation Toward Biliteracy, demonstrating progress toward full biliteracy in English and another language. Recipients of the Commendation must still meet English proficiency requirements and adhere to the Illinois State Board of Education World Language requirements.

Studies Toward the State Seal of Biliteracy

Elementary school students should consider enrollment at schools that offer at least 120 minutes of world language instruction on a weekly basis in order to assist in their development of language proficiency, where they can be assessed in fifth and eighth grades and may be eligible for the CPS Seal of Biliteracy.

High school students should focus on strengthening their skills on the world language of their choice and work towards enrollment in an AP or IB program. They should also focus on college prep coursework in preparation for the SAT.

Applying for the Seal

To receive the Seal, graduating seniors must complete an online application and demonstrate proficiency in English and a World Language according to the criteria listed by the Illinois State Board of Education. The Office of Language and Cultural Education will send eligible students an application for the Seal.

CPS Pathways Towards the Seal of Biliteracy

School Principals of 5th and 8th graders who are enrolled in a language education program at their school, including world language, dual language, and transitional bilingual education, are eligible to complete an application in early fall (application will be shared via the ONS Weekly Memo) to have a district-approved assessment administered to their eligible students.

Questions can be sent to

Language and Cultural Education


773-553-1931 (Fax)

42 W. Madison St.
Chicago, IL 60602