Frequently Asked Questions

If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for contact us at

+ What is the Global Seal of Biliteracy?

The Global Seal of Biliteracy is similar to an individual state Seal of Biliteracy. It certifies through testing that an individual has a certain level of language proficiency in two or more languages. In the United States, one of those languages should be English.

+ What does a Seal of Biliteracy do for you?

A Seal of Biliteracy is a credential that provides documentation of language skills in two languages (In the United States, one of those languages is English). In most states, it was earned through externally validated language testing that certifies a globally recognized level of language fluency or proficiency. It can be used to provide competency-based or advance language placement as well as provide an employer with a credential documenting language skills for hiring or pay differentials for language.

+ Why was the Global Seal of Biliteracy created?

The Global Seal of Biliteracy is a strong and active supporter of the state Seal of Biliteracy movement. In most states, however, the state Seals can only serve students in participating public schools. Because there are so many other ways that language skills are acquired, it was important to design an alternate process so that anyone could have the opportunity to celebrate and credential their commitment to language learning. The Global Seal enthusiastically certifies bilinguals from private, independent, charter, parochial, international, community heritage language, public and home schools. We are also excited to recognize those who have learned their languages at home, through travel abroad or work experiences, at college or as an adult. The Global Seal believes so strongly in the value of bilingualism that we want to acknowledge all of its pathways.

+ How is the Global Seal of Biliteracy different from the State Seals of Biliteracy?

The Global Seal of Biliteracy is different because it is available to everyone whereas the state Seals are usually only available to students graduating from a public school that has adopted the program. The Global Seal of Biliteracy credentials all qualifying language learners, including those who have already graduated from high school but would like to certify their language skills for academic or work purposes. The Global Seal can also be used in partnership with state Seals to provide benchmark awards or an alternative award to language learners above or below state Seal criteria.

+ How many states have a Seal of Biliteracy?

36 states plus the District of Columbia have a State Seal of Biliteracy. Click State Resources for more information on each state and its criteria.

+ Who recognizes / accepts the Global Seal of Biliteracy?

Just like the state Seals, the Global Seal will certify that you have a certain level of language based on the ACTFL Proficiency Scale that is recognized by most colleges or universities for placement purposes. Employers can use this same scale to determine the skills the applicant has for workplace applications.

+ Who can get a Global Seal of Biliteracy?

The Global Seal is available to anyone who can meet the criteria for one of our two award levels, “Functional Fluency” (Intermediate Mid) or “Working Fluency” (Advanced Low), by providing documentation for both languages. There is no age or grade-level requirement for the Global Seal of Biliteracy. The Global Seal has already been awarded to middle school, high school and university students as well as to bilingual adults.

+ How do you get a Global Seal of Biliteracy?

The Global Seal website describes the process which includes:

  1. an application completed by your school or organization (individual applications coming soon) to determine your certification needs.

  2. submission of qualifying scores on an approved test. A referral for testing will be provided upon request. The Global Seal of Biliteracy1.0 list of qualifying tests includes those most widely accepted and used by the current state Seal of Biliteracy programs.

  3. the Global Seal of Biliteracy award and award certificate with embossed seal are issued to qualifying candidates at no charge. Schools and/or recipients may choose to select and pay for one or more optional Global Seal Award packages.

+ What is the cost of the Global Seal of Biliteracy?

The Global Seal of Biliteracy is similar to an individual state Seal of Biliteracy that requires language testing. When a school or school district signs up to have its students qualify for the Global Seal, the district will determine which test(s) to administer and either the district or the student will pay the cost of testing. All testing expenses for educational institutions are contracted with the test companies directly. Although we ask schools to register in advance of testing so that we can partner with them in the process, the Global Seal itself does NOT test students. Schools will submit test scores to the Global Seal organization. For each qualifying candidate, we will provide the Global Seal award at no charge, including the Global Seal of Biliteracy Presentation Certificate and Embossed Seal, which we will send to the school. Upon receipt of their awards, schools and candidates will have an opportunity to purchase additional award items which include a transcription service to provide universities and employers with the recipient’s language credentials.

+ How were the Global Seal of Biliteracy qualifying tests selected?

The Global Seal of Biliteracy’s Board of Advisors selected Version 1.0 tests that met the following criteria:

  • Externally validated (not developed or scored at the local/state level)

  • Assesses all 4 basic skills -- Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing*

    *Exceptions made for languages such as Latin or ASL where a component may not be assessed or for Lesser Taught/Tested Languages s where tests may not be available.

  • Results aligned with or correlated to the ACTFL Proficiency Scale.

  • Tests and English language criteria that are currently widely accepted by state Seal programs for use in GSB V. 1.0

+ What proficiency level is required for a Global Seal of biliteracy?

The Global Seal offers Awards at two proficiency levels: Functional Fluency (Intermediate-Mid) for those who have sufficient skills for short, commonplace workplace interactions and Working Fluency (Advanced-Low) for those with enough skills to handle lengthier conversation, problem solving and unexpected workplace situations. For more information, download the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.

+ What languages does the Global Seal of biliteracy test?

The Global Seal will make every effort to find an approved test for all of its applicants.

+ What is on the Global Seal of Biliteracy Test?

In order to receive a Seal of Biliteracy, the Global Seal and most states require a test of language fluency that measures speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. The test will require that the test-taker read and listen to authentic media (news, articles, radio, signage, etc.) and answer questions that demonstrate comprehension. Speaking and writing portions will require that the test-taker respond to open-ended questions and prompts or have a conversation. It is not a pass/fail test, but rather a placement test that uses evidence to determine a language users "proficiency level" as determined by the ACTFL Proficiency Scale which includes 5 levels: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Superior and Distinguished.

+ What test(s) do / can you take for the Global Seal of Biliteracy?

The Global Seal’s Board of Advisors determine which tests best meet proficiency-based criteria. The GSB V. 1.0 group of tests includes those most commonly accepted by state Seal of Biliteracy programs. The Board of Advisors’ work is ongoing, and additional tests, including international tests, will be evaluated in 2019.

+ When can I get the Global Seal of biliteracy?

The Global Seal of Biliteracy is available now! The Global Seal of Biliteracy awarded its inaugural awards at ACTFL 2018 in New Orleans. Schools and organizations can click APPLY before or after testing to recognize their language learners at both Functional an Working Fluency levels.

+ Can only 1 student test? Can an individual get the Global Seal if they are not in a class?

Yes. Individual tests cost more, but details will be available for this option in 2019.

+ Can homeschoolers get the Global Seal of Biliteracy?

Yes, homeschoolers can earn the Global Seal of Biliteracy. Individual testing costs more, so homeschoolers are recommended to form a group in order to test at a lower cost.

+ Can you receive college credit for the Global Seal?

YES! Students who receive a Global Seal of Biliteracy award and complete a course at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) to document their language journey will receive TRANSFERABLE college credit from SNHU. The total number of credit hours received is based on fluency level: Functional Fluency (3 hrs) and Working Fluency (6 hrs). Participating awardees will receive a transcript from SNHU indicating completion of World Language coursework. Click here to learn more.

+ How do I add my "Global Seal of Biliteracy" credential to my LinkedIn profile?

Watch our YouTube video or follow the directions below. Login to your LinkedIn account and click "Edit public profile." Scroll down past Education to the profile section "Licenses and Credentials." Click the + in the top right corner to "Add Licenses and Credentials." In the "Name" box add: Global Seal of Biliteracy "Working Fluency" in English and Japanese (changing it to your appropriate Fluency level and languages). In the "Issuing Organization" box, enter "Global Seal of Biliteracy" and our icon will appear. Add the issue month and year. Finally, add your unique Global Seal of Biliteracy serial-number in the "Credential ID" box. Click SAVE and your new language credential will now appear on your LinkedIn profile.

+ What is the difference between bilingual and biliterate?

A bilingual person can speak two languages. A biliterate person can comprehend two languages (reading and listening) as well as speak and write in two languages.

+ What is the relationship between the Global Seal of Biliteracy and Avant Assessment?

Avant Assessment is the proud founder and first sponsor of the Global Seal of Biliteracy. Avant launched the Global Seal to close the opportunity gap for learners that do not have access to a state Seal program. The Global Seal of Biliteracy has its own independent Board of Advisors that created the Guiding Principles and determines which tests can be used to qualify individuals for the Global Seal award. It is important to note that the Board of Advisors has accepted as qualifying assessments for the Global Seal many tests that were not developed by Avant Assessment. The Global Seal hopes to attract additional sponsors who are interested in providing scholarships, especially to offset the cost of testing, for language learners in economically challenged situations.

+ MEDIA: We would like to interview someone re: the Global Seal. Who do we contact?

Contact the Global Seal’s Executive Director:
Also take a look at our Press Kit