In June 2015, Bilingual Seals legislation was enacted to recognize high school students with proficiency in both English and another language. Students who demonstrate skills in a language other than English through an assessment will be awarded the recognition and will be eligible to receive college credit from all Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Schools.
While Bilingual Seal legislation is new in Minnesota, World Language Proficiency Certificates have existed since 2009 to recognize students with language proficiency other than in English. Minneapolis Public Schools has been embracing the opportunity to highlight students’ linguistic assets that were cultivated through instruction at schools, attending community schools, and exposure to and the use of the language within their homes and communities. MPS strives to be the leader in the state in recognizing students through the Bilingual Seals and World Language Proficiency Certificate initiative.
Bilingual Seal legislation in 2015 was a major threshold because the legislation not only recognizes students’ language skills but also promises college credit from MnSCU schools. This is a great opportunity for many of our students to be reminded that their linguistic skills are worthy of recognition and tremendous value to the community regardless how they attained the language proficiency.
In the 2015 – 2016 school year, MPS awarded a total of 639 recognitions in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hmong, Japanese, Somali, and Spanish. Since the assessment became available for Hmong and Somali languages in 14-15 school year, the number of Hmong and Somali certificates have increased many fold. The ceremony was held on October 6.
For a complete list of students who received certificates and seals, please click here.
Ceremony materials for 2015-2016:
MN World Language Proficiency Certificates Ceremony for 2014-2015
On June 9th 2015, Minneapolis Public Schools awarded 303 MPS students with the Minnesota World Language Proficiency Certificate for demonstrating high functional abilities in listening, speaking, reading and writing in Arabic, French, German, Hmong, Somali and Spanish. We were especially proud to celebrate the very first students in Minnesota to earn the state certificate in the Hmong and Somali languages, as this is the first year that the assessments were available in those languages. For a complete list of students who received certificates, please click here.
Ceremony Materials: Presentation (PDF), Event Program (PDF)
MN World Language Proficiency Certificates and Bilingual Seal FAQ
Download the Proficiency Certificates and Bilingual Seals FAQs (PDF)
What is the Minnesota World Language Proficiency Certificate?
The Minnesota World Language Proficiency Certificate was created as an official recognition by the state of Minnesota in 2009. It indicates that you have demonstrated that you are proficient in another language other than in English at the Intermediate Low Level according to the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines. You must demonstrate the proficiency through an assessment. Intermediate low level proficiency is considered to be a minimum level proficiency needed to function in familiar situations in the real world.
What are the Minnesota Bilingual and Multilingual Seals? The Minnesota Bilingual and Multilingual Seals were legislated in June 2015. The Bilingual Seal is awarded for proficiency in another language in addition to English. The Multilingual Seal is awarded for proficiency in two or more languages in addition to English. The level of each seal is defined according to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines. The criteria for the Bilingual/Multilingual Gold Seal is ACTFL Intermediate High; Bilingual/Multilingual Platinum Seal is ACTFL Advanced Low.
What do those levels mean about a student’s communicative ability?
How can I earn a World Language Proficiency Certificate or a Bilingual/Multilingual Seal?
You must demonstrate the proficiency specified for each level of the recognition through assessments. The Minnesota Department of Education has compiled a list of assessments that can be used to demonstrate language proficiency to earn a Seal or a Proficiency Certificate. Please see the list here (PDF). AP and IB DP language exams are also ways to demonstrate proficiency. The charts below show which scores are needed to correlate to the ACTFL levels needed for each level of recognition.
This is a list of assessments that are currently used in MPS.
ACTFL Advanced Low
ACTFL Intermediate High
ACTFL Intermediate Low
IB DP Exam
ACTFL Advanced Low
ACTFL Intermediate High
ACTFL Intermediate Low
If you are interested in earning one in the language you are studying at school, your language teacher might be able to provide an opportunity for testing. For a Bilingual/Multilingual Seal, students also must meet English Language Arts graduation requirements and will recieve the Seal upon graduation.
How do I know if I am ready for the test? How do I decide what levels to take?
It takes a long time to develop proficiency in a language. The time it takes to reach each level varies from individual to individual. There are many different factors that play a role in developing language proficiency such as motivation, extracurricular activities, experiences living overseas, etc. The general recommendation is that if you have studied the language only at high school or have had 3-4 years of studies only at school, you might want to try for the World Language Proficiency Certificate. Your teacher should be able to provide guidance as well.
What kind of documentation do I receive for the World Language Proficiency Certificate or the Bilingual/Multilingual Seal?
Minneapolis Public Schools will enter a notation that says “MN.WORLDLANG.CERT” or “MNBILING.GOLDSEAL” as a non-credit bearing course in your transcript. You will also receive a letter with the test results from the Minneapolis Public Schools Multilingual Department.
Can I receive college credit for my World Language Proficiency Certificate or Bilingual Seals?
Yes. Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) award college credit for World Language Proficiency Certificates and Bilingual Seals as stated in a report compiled in February 2015. Please see the below chart for the number of credit equivalencies.
Minnesota World Language Proficiency Certificate
Bilingual/Multilingual Gold Seal
ACTFL Intermediate High + English Language Arts credit
Bilingual/Multilingual Platinum Seal
ACTFL Advanced Low + English Language Arts credit
What is MnSCU?
MnSCU is the Minnesota state-wide system of 31 colleges and universities. They are located in 47 communities offering over 5,400 educational programs statewide. For the list of MnSCU colleges and universities, please click here.
*Note: The University of Minnesota is not a MnSCU school. The College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota has their own policies and protocol for awarding credit.
How can I receive college credit from a MnSCU college or university?
The bilingual seal legislation states that a student must be enrolled in a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities institution and must request college credits for the seal or proficiency certificate within three academic years after graduating from high school. You should consult with your advisor at a college. Your high school transcript from Minneapolis Public School will serve as a proof of your proficiency attainment.
Can I receive MPS high school credit?
This will depend on how you earned the recognition.
Number of MPS Credits
World Language Proficiency Certificate
Who can help me if I have difficulties getting my college credits acknowledged?
The state level recognition of world language proficiency with college credit is new and not everyone will be familiar with it yet. If you run into difficulties receiving credits, please contact:
The full Minnesota World Language Proficiency Certificate and Bilingual Seal legislation (Legislation 120B.022) can be found here.
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