Behind the Seal

Multiple students earn the Missouri Seal of Biliteracy every year for their dedication to learning another language, but few know what that entails.


The Missouri Seal of Biliteracy banner hanging in the Spanish hallway.

In a world where multiple cultures coexist with one another, exploring different customs and lifestyles can help connect with people all around the world.

   Our world language department not only provides students with knowledge of another language, but of the culture surrounding it. With food truck day, culture day, and multiple field trips, students are immersed with a whole new perspective of the world around them. 

   “Being in a Spanish class here made me learn and understand different cultures and ideas, and has helped me see many different views of the world,” junior Sienna Hagen said.

    One of the highest achievements of a world language student is to obtain the Missouri Seal of Biliteracy (SoBL). The ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL) is a test that determines their eligibility for this prestigious award. While in class, students work hard to receive the highest score they possibly can and potentially be eligible for the SoBL.

   “Getting the Seal of Biliteracy is important to me because it allows for better opportunities in the future,” Hagen said. 

   The AAPPL test requires a lot of preparation and is very complex. It consists of listening, speaking, writing, reading the language, and measures how proficient the student is in each category. 

   After the test, if a high enough score is earned they can qualify for the SoBL. For students who have excelled in the language, there is a possibility to earn the Distinguished Seal which requires higher test scores and is a step above the regular one. 

   Since the seal is intended to recognize proficiency in two languages, students also have to show that they are skilled in English by achieving good standardized test scores as well as high AAPPL scores. 

   This award is a huge honor and not only recognizes the hard work someone has put into learning a language, but can also have benefits when it comes to college. Many universities within Missouri recognize the Seal of Biliteracy and can award students with up to 18 hours of world language credits.

   Students get recognized at graduation and have possible college advantages with earning the seal, but another benefit is having more job opportunities in the future. Many employers look highly upon multilingual individuals and prefer them over other applicants.

   “It opens up many opportunities, and many careers favor people who are bilingual,” Hagen said.