World Languages

Washington State Seal of Biliteracy

Lead with Languages
This is the year to Lead with Languages! The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) encourages all interested parties to view this video and advocate for languages.

Why Speak Another Language?

The 2017 Seal of Biliteracy Legislative Report is available for viewing and downloading.

Washington Seal of BiliteracyThe Washington State Seal of Biliteracy (RCW 28A.300.575) 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. "Participating school districts with students eligible to receive the Seal, shall place a notation on a student's high school diploma and high school transcript indicating that the student has earned the seal." (RCW 28A.230.125)

Note: See how World Language credits and proficiency relate to Career and College Goals.

Orientation to the Seal of Biliteracy

How to Earn the Seal of Biliteracy
Visit Competency Testing and Credits for World Languages for details.

Identifying Students for the Seal of Biliteracy

Identifying Students for the Seal of Biliteracy

Is the student on track to meet ELA graduation requirements and pass ELA state assessments?
If YES, how can the student demonstrate proficiency in one or more World Languages?

Options to demonstrate proficiency


Qualifying criteria

AP testing


Score of 3 or higher

IB testing


Score of 4 or higher

Proficiency tests aligned to ACTFL levels approved by OSPI*


Rating of Intermediate-Mid or higher, across language skills**

World Language Competency Credits


Qualifies for 4 credits (Int-Mid)

Other national or international proficiency tests approved by OSPI*


Rating comparable to Intermediate-Mid on the ACTFL scale across language skills

*Who would need to do this? - Students who have not had the opportunity for IB, AP or competency-based credit testing. This would include students taking multiple years of high school or online World Language classes.
**Language skills should include speaking, reading and writing, depending on the language.

The Seal of Biliteracy Advisory Committee has developed and finalized the language for the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) and the identification of resources for school districts.

Transcripts and CEDARS
CEDARS Data Manual—The 2019–20 documents provide information in:

  1. CEDARS Manual Student Attributes and Programs File (I) will collect the information for students who have obtained a Seal of Biliteracy.
  2. CEDARS Appendix K–Language Codes contains the list of languages students may earn the Seal of Biliteracy in.
  3. CEDARS Appendix L–Washington State Seal of Biliteracy lists the Assessments that may be utilized to test for biliteracy.

The Washington State Standardized High School Transcript Developer/User Guide, provides information on pages 79-80 regarding how to report the Seal of Biliteracy on a student transcript beginning with the Class of 2015.

Origins of the Seal of Biliteracy
Washington State is one of a growing number of states that have passed a Seal of Biliteracy. OSPI formed a committee of world language stakeholders on September 11, 2014. The committee is diverse geographically, linguistically, and professionally.) The Seal of Biliteracy originated in California and was signed into law in October 2011, with the first seals being issued starting in early 2012. New York State passed its bill and it was signed into law in July 2012. The state of Illinois passed its law in 2013, and a number of other states are also enacting legislation.

Why the Seal of Biliteracy?
Over 40 percent of Washington State jobs are tied to international trade, so it is critical for students to develop proficiency in English and other languages to maintain competitiveness. The bilingual skills of students for whom English is not a first or dominant language represent a tremendous potential resource to the state. Also, English students who follow long sequences of world language study and practice increase their marketability in the workplace. In addition to career advantages, studies also show numerous cognitive benefits for students learning more than one language, including enhanced working memory, attention, flexibility and creative thinking. All of these attributes will be valuable in students' futures.

Foreign Language Enrollments in K-12 Public Schools: Are Students Prepared for a Global Society? (PDF)



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How to Request the Seal of Biliteracy
The Seal is available to districts to formally recognize students that demonstrate:

  • Proficiency in English
  • Proficiency in a world language other than English
  • WAC 392-415-070 Mandatory high school transcript contents
  • WAC 392-410-350 Seal of Biliteracy

The Seal of Biliteracy imprint for creating embossed diploma labels or medallions is available on request to If you are a smaller district, WAFLT is currently offering support on acquiring medallions.

   Updated 4/1/2019

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