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Students take biliteracy test to earn Biliteracy Seal on diploma

Max Feldman, Ruby Lueras, Bear Facts Contributors

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Students signed up for a biliteracy test this week to receive a seal as well as a Bilingual status on their transcripts, students were interested but most did not sign up.

Seniors in language levels IV and V signed up for a foreign language test that would allow them allow to potentially receive the Biliteracy Seal on their diploma, teachers said. The cost of the test varied from test to test, and a good performance on approved assessments such as: ACT, SAT, AP language tests, ACTFL-AAPL. Gabriela Martin, chair of the foreign language department, said that the Seal was excellent for recognizing a student’s hard work.

“The purpose of the Seal is to promote linguistic proficiency and cultural literacy in other languages. […] Mainly, its a recognition for [outstanding] work in language studies. I strongly believe that colleges see [this recognition],” Martin said.

 This recognition is important to students, so there is pressure to do well on the test, according to Janie Huels, senior. Huels says that as long as a student is prepared and has been learning a language for the past four years the test should be easy.

“Honestly I’m not really sure what kind of test it is, if it’s speaking, listening, or reading. But either way I’m pretty confident I’ll do well on the test. We have an excellent language program at our school and the AP teachers prepare us very well for tests like this. One problem I do have with the test is that it seems like an AP test so it’s pretty unfair to those who are not in AP language classes, ” Huels said.

Some students like Huels also have a problem with the test: it is useless to a lot of seniors who have already applied to their colleges. One such student, Chloe Wallace, senior, thinks the seal is an interesting idea but will not directly impact her future.

 “The seal really will not benefit my studies at all, I have already been accepted into my schools and I have no plans on transferring. The other thing is that my college doesn’t offer anything additional for receiving the seal. I think [the seal] would definitely interest juniors more because the college application process is competitive and stressful, and I believe the seal can give juniors an advantage,” Wallace said.

Even though mostly for those still applying to colleges, this opportunity for an extra achievement to add to the transcript is a well received one. In fact, one former student and now teacher in training, Katie Pelayo, says she wished that this was an opportunity when she was in high school.

“I do wish they offered this when I was in high school because I think I would have done it. It would be one more thing to add to my transcript, and I like that it’s proof, you’re not just saying that you took classes in high school. For this seal, you actually have to pass tests that prove you can do it,” Pelayo said. “Learning French was harder before, it was cool and students were eager to learn it. I feel like now students aren’t as interested because there is such easy access to online classes and Information in general. I hope the Seal of Biliteracy causes students to be more ambitious when learning a language, I really do,” Pelayo said.

Though not all appreciate the test at the same level, students agree that the value of biliteracy is immeasurable. According to students, language teachers have recently been pushing this seal as well as the value of being bilingual. One of these instructors, Catherine Norberg, French teacher, says that biliteracy is growing ever more important in this day and age.

“Perspective employers potentially would prefer somebody who has the seal over somebody that doesn’t have the seal, somebody who is proficient in more than one language. It would be more than saying ‘I took Spanish in high school’, it would be proof,” Norberg said. “I think it’s being able to communicate with people of other cultures and languages, that would make you a very valuable member of society. I have some students that are able to experience things they never would have if they hadn’t learned another language.”

          

          

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Lake Zurich High School Student Media
Students take biliteracy test to earn Biliteracy Seal on diploma