MEDWAY — Principal John Murray and District World Languages Coordinator and Educator Dr. Marieangie Ocasio-Varela are pleased to announce that 11 Medway High School students participated in the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy testing earlier this month.
On Tuesday, June 2, students were virtually administered the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL) test and the ACTFL Latin Interpretive Reading Assessment (ALIRA) test. Students from all languages, including Latin, participated in the Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy testings.
Students’ testing windows were open from Tuesday, June 2 at 9:30 a.m. until Thursday, June 4 at 1 p.m. Prior to testing, Dr. Ocasio-Varela hosted a virtual information session on Monday, June 1, to provide students with a general overview, technology requirements, frequently asked questions and login credentials for the AAPPL and ALIRA tests.
The AAPPL test is designed to assess students’ abilities with interpersonal listening/speaking, presentational writing, interpretive reading and interpretive listening, while the ALIRA test assesses students’ ability to read for comprehension in Latin.
Both tests support the Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy by offering proficiency and performance-based assessments.
The Seal of Biliteracy aims to encourage the study and mastery of languages, honor the linguistic proficiency of students, certify attainment of biliteracy skills and provide evidence of these skills to future employers and college admissions officers.
To acquire the Seal of Biliteracy, students must meet the following requirements:
Demonstrate a High Level of proficiency in English by satisfying the following:
- Earn a score of 240 or higher on the 10th grade Legacy English Language Arts MCAS.
- Earn a score of 220 or higher on the 10th grade Legacy English Language Arts MCAS and complete an Educational Proficiency Plan.
Demonstrate a High Level of proficiency in a world language through one of the following:
- Attaining a minimum score equivalent to an American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency level of Intermediate-High on a state-approved assessment.
- For languages that do not have readily available assessments, completing a portfolio demonstrating Intermediate-High proficiency in speaking, writing, reading and listening.
Upon completion of these requirements, the Seal of Biliteracy’s special state insignia will be affixed to the graduate’s diploma.
This is the first year Medway Public Schools has offered the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy. Offering the Seal of Biliteracy for students is a significant shift towards building a proficiency-based language program.
To create a proficiency-based language program, Medway Public Schools has partnered with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to begin preparing the district for the new MA World Languages Standards framework.
“I want to thank everyone who made it possible for me to bring the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy to our district,” said Dr. Ocasio-Varela. “This is a step in the right direction for our district. We are in the process of strengthening our World Languages Department from fifth grade through twelfth grade with proficiency based models that incorporate social justice, SEL competencies and global citizenship skills. World Languages has the perfect platform to engage students in conversations that promote social justice, awareness of 21st century global realities and global citizenship skills.”
The MA Seal of Biliteracy celebrates and promotes multilingual and multicultural skills acquired by any student. Additionally, it recognizes languages that are not taught at Medway Public Schools but might be part of a students heritage.
Dr. Ocasio-Varela would especially like to thank those who encouraged the district’s participation in this program since the very beginning.
“Incorporating the Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy into our program illustrates the overall support and commitment that the district has towards the World Languages program, and its amazing students,” said Dr. Ocasio-Varela.
Dr. Ocasio-Varela was chosen by DESE to co-facilitate the Communication Strand for the new DESE World Languages framework. She has also assisted in writing and creating the new MA World Languages framework.