ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Michigan Seal of Biliteracy
Pathways to Biliteracy
The most familiar method of learning a world language or acquiring English as an additional language is through PreK-12 academic coursework. Bilingual and immersion programs, Advanced Placement courses, International Baccalaureate language and literature courses, dual enrollment in community college/university courses, traditional world language classes, study abroad and exchange programs, and academic coursework through homeschooling are all viable means for attaining proficiency in a world language.
Heritage and Home Language Acquisition
Many students in the United States are raised in a bilingual or multilingual environment and/or in homes in which a language other than English is spoken. Known as heritage language speakers, these students acquire language through the experience of interacting with family members, friends, and neighbors. Heritage language speakers possess skills necessary for our national security and prosperity. These students are an essential component of our multilingual or multicultural society.
Heritage Language Maintenance
Deliberate efforts to maintain the heritage or native language are prevalent within many culturally and linguistically diverse families and communities. Encouragement to participate in activities where the heritage language is used such as multimedia, community organizations, ethnic or cultural marketplaces can be very beneficial to society. Recognizing the value of maintaining the heritage language sustains important direct cultural ties to students’ respective families and communities. These efforts to preserve the heritage language must be in place as students become more immersed in English as the dominant language.
Demonstrating Proficiency in a Language Other than English
Acceptable assessments used to provide evidence of world language proficiency in any language must meet the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) criteria of Intermediate High or equivalent.
When all four language skills/domains are used in a language and available via approved commercial assessment, all four skills must be assessed and the candidate must earn the equivalent of at least Intermediate High level of proficiency using the ACTFL proficiency guidelines.
In the case where all four skills are used and only the productive skills (speaking and writing) are available via approved commercial assessment, the two assessed productive skills can be used to qualify for the seal if the student earns the equivalent of at least Intermediate High level of proficiency using the ACTFL proficiency guidelines.
When proficiency must be determined for languages that use fewer than four language domains/skills, only the language domains/skills that are used with regard to that language will be assessed. The Seal is eligible to be awarded in these languages if the proficiency of Intermediate High has been achieved based on the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines for the language domains/skills tested. Some examples of these languages include American Sign Language, Sylheti, Anishinaabemowin, and Latin.
Foreign Transcripts and Other Formal Documentation
Students transferring from other countries may demonstrate proficiency by providing transcripts from a school in a foreign country showing at least one year of instruction in a language other than English in Grade 6 or beyond.
Alternative Method of Assessment
For languages without available assessments or in circumstances where test administration is cost prohibitive, students must still demonstrate Intermediate High proficiency in all skills that are applicable. The determination of applicable skills (Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing) must be clearly documented through the MDE approved Alternative Process for Assessment. Assessments should be aligned with the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines for Intermediate High or equivalent.
Student/Parents must receive approval in order to implement the Alternative Process for Assessment. The verification form must be completed and submitted to the MDE at MDE-EL@Michigan.gov at least one month before the date of the assessment. This form is used to identify the committee members and the materials that will be used. The student outcome section can be filled in after students have been assessed and is not necessary to complete that section upon requesting approval.
See the Michigan Seal of Biliteracy document Appendix D for more information and for verification form required for preapproval.