Maryland Seal of Biliteracy Test Dates and Registration

Greetings Whitman Community! 

The Maryland Seal of Biliteracy is an award from the Maryland State Board of Education, given by participating school systems, that recognizes a student’s high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages in addition to English. 

High school graduates who can function in two or more languages are equipped with the knowledge and skills to participate successfully in college, careers, and a diverse 21st century society. The Maryland State Seal of Biliteracy is established to recognize and reward excellence in language learning as measured by rigorous proficiency assessments.

To receive a Maryland Seal of Biliteracy, a student must:

 

1. Pass the PARCC in English 10 (or meet the graduation requirement for those impacted by lack of PARCC testing due to COVID19); AND 

2. Demonstrate Intermediate High proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in a language other than English, as measured by assessments that are aligned to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency guidelines.

(Students who have already earned a 4 or 5 on a World Language and Culture  AP Exam and have met the English requirement, have ALREADY earned the Seal of Biliteracy.  The Seal will be printed on their diploma automatically.)

We are excited to announce a  testing opportunity  for Juniors and Seniors to earn the Maryland Seal of Biliteracy.  

  • Testing will take place on December 16, 2021 

    • There will be one makeup opportunity on January 13, 2022 at 8:00am only for students who register for the December date and must miss it because of an unforeseen circumstance.

  • Students may choose the date that they prefer.   

  • A registration LINK can be found at the bottom of this document.  Please be sure to read ALL information before registering.  

  • Students must register by DECEMBER 1, 2021 AND attend a mandatory pre-test meeting on December 2, 2021.

What is the Seal of Biliteracy?

  • The Maryland Seal of Biliteracy is a recognition based on a level of proficiency of at least Intermediate High on one of several Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE)-approved assessments in a world language other than English and attaining the English language requirement set forth by MSDE for the graduation year of the student.  

  • The assessments MCPS will administer are the Avant STAMP 4S and the Avant STAMP WS.

Who can test?

  • MCPS Juniors and Seniors can assess only once per school year.

Can a student test before their junior year?

  • Students in grades 9 or 10 who wish to test may contact Avant Assessment (888.731.7887) to arrange for proctored testing at their own cost.  Approval will need to be obtained from Françoise Vandenplas, World Languages Supervisor prior to testing.

How much does the test cost?

  • MCPS Seniors may assess at no cost.

  • MCPS Juniors may assess at a fee of $16.90, payable to the school by the student.  Schools will later be invoiced by MCPS World Languages.

Are retakes allowed?

  • Retakes are only allowed by Avant for identified technology issues.

  • MCPS Seniors have one opportunity to test in the same language.

  • MCPS Juniors can retake the assessment once during their senior year.

What is the Avant STAMP 4S  assessment?

  • The Avant STAMP (STAndards-based Measurement of Proficiency) 4S (4 Skills - Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing) is a web-based, computer-adaptive test that assesses language proficiency.

  • There are 20 multiple choice questions for both the reading and listening sections.  There are three prompts each for the writing and speaking sections.

  • The Avant STAMP 4S is available in the following languages:

    • Arabic

    • French

    • German

    • Hebrew

    • Hindi

    • Italian

    • Japanese

    • Korean

    • Mandarin (Traditional)

    • Mandarin (Simplified)

    • Polish

    • Portuguese (Brazilian)

    • Russian

    • Spanish

  • Projected for late 2021 are Swahili and Yoruba assessments.

What is the Avant STAMP WS (World Speak / Writing & Speaking) assessment?

  • The Avant STAMP (STAndards-based Measurement of Proficiency) WS (World Speak or Writing/Speaking) is a web-based, computer-adaptive test that assesses language proficiency in writing and speaking.  The Avant STAMP WS was created to meet the growing need for heritage language communities to have rigorous, professionally scored, and affordable assessments. STAMP WS measures the speaking and writing proficiency  levels based on the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.

  • The test begins with a self-assessment based on CanDo statements.  Based on their score, students are given four Speaking and four writing prompts, with three prompts being delivered at the self-assessed level and one prompt delivered at a level above the self-assessed level.

  • The Avant STAMP WS is available in the following languages:

    • Amharic

    • Armenian

    • Chin (Hakha)

    • Chuukese

    • Czech

    • Filipino (Tagalog)

    • Haitian Creole

    • Hawaiian (‘┼îlelo Hawai’i)

    • Hmong

    • Ilocano

    • Kannada

    • Marathi

    • Marshallese

    • Samoan

    • Somali Maay Maay

    • Somali Maxaa

    • Tamil

    • Telugu

    • Turkish

    • Urdu

    • Vietnamese

    • Yup’ik

How long does the assessment take?

  • Both the Avant STAMP 4S and WS take approximately 120-180 minutes to complete, in addition to approximately 30 minutes of pre-test administration.

  • The maximum testing time is not to exceed 3.5 hours, which includes the pre-test administration. 

  • Students with extra time accommodations will be allowed the time allotted on their IEP in addition to the original testing time.

Can students have scrap paper and a pen or pencil during testing?

  • Test-takers are NOT allowed to use pencils or pens and paper during testing.  The STAMP tests are designed to enable students to show what they can do with their language in an unrehearsed and spontaneous way in a real world context.

How can students prepare for the assessment, including the writing section?

  • Students must be prepared to type in the language of the assessment using a Chromebook. 

  •  Students must complete a technology check including taking a sample test

  • The following languages will need a keyboard activated:  Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Cantonese, Chinese (Mandarin) Simplified & Traditional, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Marathi, Russian, Tamil, Telugu, Vietnamese, Urdu.  More information on how to do that is available here.

How can students improve language proficiency in order to earn the needed score in the language other than English?

  • Avant has created a Power Up Guide for students.  The guide gives suggestions on how to “power up” to the next level.  

    • For the STAMP 4S , a composite Avant score of 6, or Advanced Low on the ACTFL scale is needed to earn the world language requirement for the Seal of Biliteracy.  

    • For the STAMP WS, scores of 6 are required in both writing and speaking.

What if a student tests outside of MCPS?

  • When a student has met the state requirement on one of the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE)-approved assessments, the school registrar should collect and verify the paperwork and complete this form.  Return the form and score report to Françoise Vandenplas, World Languages Supervisor  via Brenda Hungerford, Administrative Secretary according to the form instructions.   

To register for the AVANT-STAMP test:

  • To register for a local test on December 16, complete the form at: https://forms.gle/RWqGECvQBbJR1PBx6 

  • We will be hosting a MANDATORY preparation session on THURSDAY DECEMBER 2 during 5th and 6th period lunches in the media center to share important testing procedures.

If you have any questions, please reach out to World Language Resource Teacher, Rebecca Zatz at Rebecca_L_Zatz@mcpsmd.org