Title 17. Education

Chapter 1. General School Law

Part III. Public Schools and School Children

Subpart D. Required Courses of Study


17:273.4     State Seal of Biliteracy


A. The legislature finds and declares all of the following: 


(1) It is the intent of the legislature to encourage excellence for all students, and the legislature wishes to publicly recognize students for exemplary achievements in academic studies. 


(2) The study of world languages in public elementary and secondary schools should be encouraged because it contributes to a student’s cognitive development, the national economy, and national security. 


(3) Proficiency in multiple languages is critical in enabling Louisiana residents to participate effectively in a global political, social, and economic context and in expanding trade with other countries. 


(4) The demand for employees to be fluent in more than one language is increasing both in Louisiana and throughout the world. 


(5) The benefits to employers in having staff fluent in more than one language are clear and include access to an expanded market, allowing business owners to better serve their customers’ needs, and the sparking of new marketing ideas that better target a particular audience and open a channel of communication with customers. 


(6) The maintenance and promotion of Louisiana’s heritage languages among its youth contributes to the vibrancy of the state’s culture and supports its unique place in the United States and the world. 


(7) It is the intent of the legislature to promote linguistic proficiency and cultural literacy in one or more languages in addition to English and to provide recognition of the attainment of these skills through the establishment of the State Seal of Biliteracy. 


B. The purposes of the State Seal of Biliteracy are as follows: 


(1) To encourage students to study languages. 


(2) To certify attainment of biliteracy. 


(3) To provide employers with a method of identifying people with language and biliteracy skills. 


(4) To provide universities with a method to recognize and give academic credit to applicants seeking admission. 


(5) To prepare students with twenty-first century skills. 


(6) To recognize and promote world language instruction in public schools. 


(7) To strengthen intergroup relationships, affirm the value of diversity, and honor the multiple cultures and languages of a community. 


(8) To continue and renew Louisiana’s historical tradition of bilingualism. 


C. (1) The state superintendent of education shall be responsible for the following: 


(a) Preparing and delivering to participating public school governing authorities an appropriate insignia to be affixed to the diploma or transcript of a student who has earned the State Seal of Biliteracy. 


(b) Providing other information he deems necessary for school governing authorities to successfully participate in the State Seal of Biliteracy program. 


(2) Public school governing authorities are encouraged but not required to participate in the State Seal of Biliteracy program. A participating school governing authority shall maintain appropriate records in order to identify students who have earned the seal and affix the appropriate insignia to the diploma or transcript of each student who earns the seal. 


D. (1) The State Seal of Biliteracy certifies that a student meets all of the following criteria: 


(a) Completion of all English language arts requirements for graduation. 


(b) Passing the Reading and English parts of the ACT series with a score of nineteen or above. 


(c) Proficiency at the intermediate-high level or above in one or more languages other than English, demonstrated through one of the following methods: 


(i) Passing a world language Advanced Placement examination or a world language International Baccalaureate examination with a score determined by the state Department of Education, in consultation with the examination provider, to be indicative of language proficiency. 


(ii) Completion of a four-year high school course of study in a world language or completion of at least four Carnegie units in content courses in a world language immersion setting. 


(iii) Passing a foreign government’s approved language examination and receiving a certificate of competency from the authorizing government agency at the corresponding European B2 level. 


(iv) Passing a nationally recognized world language proficiency examination with a score determined by the state Department of Education, in consultation with the examination provider, to be indicative of language proficiency. 


(2) If the primary language of a student in grades nine through twelve is other than English, he shall do both of the following in order to qualify for the State Seal of Biliteracy: 


(a) Attain a composite score of proficient on an English language development assessment that addresses all modes of communication. 


(b) Meet the requirements of Paragraph (1) of this Subsection. 


E. (1) The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall promulgate rules in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act to implement the provisions of this Section.


(2) For purposes of this Section, “world language” means a language other than English and includes American Sign Language. 


Added by Acts 2014, No. 99, § 1. Amended by Acts 2018, No. 89, § 1.