World Language & Seal of Biliteracy


TPS is committed to ensuring that students who speak, write, read, and listen/comprehend one or more world languages earn the credits and recognition they deserve for their language proficiency.

3 pathways to earning World Language Credits and/or the Seal of Biliteracy:

  1. Are you a heritage speaker and fluent in reading, writing, listening and speaking a language other than English? → schedule an exam with your school's World Language Assessment Liaison (WLAL)
  2. Have you earned at least 2 credits in a foreign language course? → schedule an exam with your school's WLAL
  3. Have you taken 2 or more years of an AP/IB world language course? → take the AP/IB exam in that language

The World Language Competency-Based Assessment allows students to demonstrate proficiency in any language, even if they are not offered at our schools. High school students may request a test at no cost.

Process:

  1. Contact the school World Language Assessment Liaison (WLAL). Ask your counselor, ELL teacher, or world language teacher if unsure who that is. Provide a short writing sample unless testing for ASL.
  2. WLAL registers student with the District Coordinator.
  3. District Coordinator informs WLAL which students may participate in the next testing window. Provides logins & passwords for those students.
  4. WLAL contacts student with testing details.
  5. Student takes test, either all in one sitting or over multiple days, depending on building and WLAL testing availability.
  6. Based on proficiency, student may earn 0-4 credits. Credit is granted for the lowest level of proficiency across skill areas & results are recorded on the student's official transcript. WLAL communicates with students/parents the credits.
  7. Students who earn 4 credits from the competency testing process are considered proficient in that language and will be tracked until senior year to determine Seal of Biliteracy eligibility.

The Washington State Seal of Biliteracy recognizes public high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more world languages in addition to English. 

Students qualify for the Seal of Biliteracy by:

  • Earning 4 credits in ELA coursework
  • Meeting all graduation requirements, including proficiency in approved ELA State assessments
  • Demonstrating proficiency in another language through one of these options:
    • 4 credits in an approved competency test
    • AP score of 3 or higher
    • IB SL or HL with a score of 4 or higher

Students who have earned the Seal of Biliteracy receive a medallion their senior year to wear for graduation and a gold Seal is placed on their diploma.

For more information, contact languagetesting@Tacoma.K12.Wa.US


Family Resources:

Examples of Tests:​​​​​​

  • STAMP - Standards-Based Measure of Proficiency
  • AAPPL - ACTFL Assessment of Performance Toward Proficiency in Languages (Language Testing International)
  • ASLPI - American Sign Language Proficiency Interview for American Sign Language (ASL) (Gallaudet University)
  • WAFLT -Washington Association for Language Teaching
  • WorldSpeak - writing and speaking in less common languages (Avant)