Seal of Biliteracy

What is the State Seal of Biliteracy (SSB)? 

The California Seal of Biliteracy is a recognition conferred by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for graduating high school students who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages, in addition to English. While there are countless benefits to earning the Seal of Biliteracy, these are among the most salient for students:

  • encourages the further study of languages
  • identifies high school graduates with bilingual communication skills for future employers
  • provides universities with additional information about applicants seeking admission 
  • prepares students with 21st century skills
  • recognizes the value of foreign and native language instruction in schools
  • affirms the value of cultural and linguistic diversity in a multilingual society


SFUSD’s Multilingual Pathways Department collaborates with high schools to promote the Seal of Biliteracy and recognize Seal earners. The Seal of Biliteracy originated in California and was signed into law in October 2011, with the first California Seals of Biliteracy being issued in early 2012.


Seal of Biliteracy Criteria 

To earn the California State Seal of Biliteracy, graduating seniors must meet the following requirements: 

  1. Complete all English Language Arts requirements for graduation (40 credits)  

       with a grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher in those classes.

  1. Pass a standardized English Language Arts assessment with “standard met” or higher on SBAC
  2. Demonstrate advanced proficiency in one or more languages other
              than English through one of the following methods: 
  • Successful completion of 4th year coursework in a world language, attaining an overall GPA of 3.0 or above in that course
  • Score of 3 or above on a world language Advanced Placement exam
  • Register to take the SFUSD-created assessment for Korean, Arabic, Filipino, or Russian
  1. For English learners, earn an overall score of 4 on the ELPAC exam

Students’ eligibility to earn the Seal of Biliteracy is contingent upon their second-semester coursework and graduation requirements being met.

Provisional Seal of Biliteracy 

Provisional Seal of Biliteracy earners are students in the process of earning the Seal of Biliteracy, but they are still missing one or more of the Seal requirements. These students can officially earn the Seal of Biliteracy in the summer after graduation when final course grades are verified or when the AP exam scores are posted. After verification of these requirements, Provisional Seal earners will receive a notice home with the official Seal of Biliteracy. These students can then visit the Multilingual Pathways Department office (750 25th Avenue, 2nd floor) to pick up their Seal of Biliteracy Medal.

Communication with School Sites

During the Spring semester of each year, the Multilingual Pathways Department provides school counselors with two lists: 

  1. A list of 12th-grade students that have earned the Seal of Biliteracy by meeting the above criteria.
  2. A list of 12th-grade students that are identified as Provisional Seal earners.  

The Multilingual Pathways Department will also provide school counselors with two sets of letters to send home with students: 

  1. Congratulatory letters for 12th-grade students that have earned the Seal of Biliteracy by meeting the above criteria.
  2. Notices for 12th-grade students who are Provisional Seal earners.

Any student who receives a congratulatory letter or provisional notice from the Multilingual Pathways Department is not required to submit an application.


Seal of Biliteracy Award

In addition to the California State Seal of Biliteracy that will be affixed to students’ high school diplomas, each student earning the Seal of Biliteracy will receive an official medal that can be worn during their high school graduation ceremony. Seals and medals will be sent to high school counselors or other identified liaisons during the month of May -- prior to graduation. We encourage each school site to award and publicly acknowledge the accomplishments of these students. This flyer offers a variety of ways in which your site may choose to celebrate.


This page was last updated on October 14, 2022