Board of Education approves world language Seal of Biliteracy

Offers additional benefit for students attending college, entering workforce

The seal of biliteracy was approved by the Board of Education in order for students to show that they could speak as well as understand more than one language.

The seal was approved in Kansas in May of 2016. Spanish teacher Cheryl Loeffler and German teacher Nanette Bergen went to the board and got it approved in district 373 during January of this year.

“We are so new at this that we are all still trying to help. We are hoping that all adults will be able to help,” Bergen said.

Ten students have applied to take the test so far. Bergen is hoping that as more students are informed about it, more will apply and more will work hard throughout their years of high school in order to pass the test.

“It’s more that just being able to speak two languages. It’s being able to speak, read, write and understand. So, listening in two languages,” Bergen said.

For students to prove they are literate, they have to take one of many tests offered, which are intermediate-high level tests. They must then get above a certain score, which will depend on the test they take. Depending on the score they receive, they have the opportunity to get either a gold seal or a platinum seal.

“It’s pretty difficult to get to that level in four years, so you have to be pretty motivated,” Bergen said.

Not only do students have to prove that they can speak a second language, but they also have to prove that they are literate in English. Generally, they can prove this with an ACT score or the Kansas State Reading Assessment.

Like other exams it does cost. The price of the test depends on the test chosen to take. The tests they are planning on offering at NHS are $20. The work and money put into learning these languages and taking these tests can pay off in the long run because of all of the different benefits that can come from it.

The seal makes students more marketable for jobs and can help them in college because they can prove that they can speak an additional language.

“I think it’s going to be a good motivating factor for putting some effort into learning language in our classes,” Bergen said.

The seal is available for students who are learning a second language in class as well as students who are speaking a native language at home. Students can also take tests for more than one language if they are fluent in multiple.

“There is a lot of people who speak different languages, so it is nice to have a variety,” senior Lupita Reyes said.

The test is available in multiple languages including German, Spanish and French. All of which are offered at NHS. The tests are also available for students who know Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese and Mandarin.

“In today’s global society you are a step up if you can speak more than just English,” Bergen said.

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