Multistate Association for Bilingual Education, Northeast

A nonprofit organization for  educators, families, and policy makers

(formerly known as Massachusetts Association for Bilingual Education)

Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy  

The Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy is an award given to high school seniors upon graduation in recognition of having achieved the state-determined “high” level of proficiency in English as well as one or more additional languages. The award is affixed to the high school transcript or diploma for these students and certifies their biliteracy for employers and universities. It is a statement of accomplishment that helps to signal evidence of a student's readiness for career and college, and to engage as a global citizen.

The criteria for earning the MA State Seal of Biliteracy is Intermediate-High.  For the State Seal of Biliteracy with Distinction the criteria is Advanced-Low. A complete description of the state awards and procedures and can be found in603 CMR 31.07(2) of the state regulations. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education established these criteria to identify and recognize students who have attained a high level of proficiency in English and not less than one foreign language. To qualify for the State Seal of Biliteracy, students must meet all graduation requirements and the English language and foreign language criteria. See criteria in Guidance for Implementing the Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy.

Participation in the MA Seal of Biliteracy is voluntary for the district, the school, and the student

Language Opportunity Coalition Seal of Biliteracy Multi-Tiered Awards

An award program overseen by the Language Opportunity Coalition (LOC) that can be awarded in addition to the official MA State Seal of Biliteracy.

The LOC created a Seal of Biliteracy (SoBL) Workgroup, a strong, enduring collaboration of world language (MaFLA), dual language (MABE), and English language learning (MATSOL) professional teacher organizations and conducted a pilot over three years (2015-2018) before passing legislation to develop a multi-tiered award structure for the SoBLand parameters for implementation in districts in the state.  The pilot involved the cooperation and input of leaders and teachers of all language learning program types and levels; world language, dual language education, transitional bilingual education, immersion, English language education, elementary, middle, high school, and university.

The LOC SoBL Multi-Tiered awards are designed for students and schools who do not meet the state criteria such as:

  • Independent schools whose students do not take the MCAS;

  • Schools with ELs who do not reach Proficient on MCAS by grade 10 but have been reclassified their junior or senior year;

  • Schools who want to award FUNCTIONAL biliteracy at the Intermediate-Mid level of proficiency;

  • Schools who want to award emerging bilingualism and biliteracy for students at the Beginner level of proficiency in elementary school or for students with disabilities.

 LOC SoBL Pilot Resources

MABE, MATSOL, and MAFLA members in the Language Opportunity Coalition created the Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project in Massachusetts. 

Seal of Biliteracy Pathway Awards TOOLKIT,  2017 Revision
For district and school leaders responsible for implementing the Pathway Awards Pilot

 Seal of Biliteracy Webinar,
Tuesday, October 10, 2017, 6-7 pm

  • This webinar gives an introduction of the national Seal of Biliteracy movement and an overview of the Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project, including the updated resources and experience gained from the third year of the pilot. (Recorded Oct 10, 2017) View the webinar here.

MABE Conference, March 19, 2016 Presentation: MA, RI and CT Panel "Lessons Learned Advocating for the Seal of Biliteracy"

MABE Conference, March 25, 2017 Presentation: Promoting the Seal of Biliteracy: The Massachusetts Model of Collaboration, Kim Talbot & Nicole Sherf    Promoting the Seal of Biliteracy Handout


    NABE endorses the Seal of Biliteracy!                 

Seal of Biliteracy Approved National Guidelines, March 2015       

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