Students Take Seal of Biliteracy Test

Missouri’s test of biliteracy offers students a distinguished stamp


Mollie Banstetter

Seniors Keaton Roof, Ally Schniepp and Brynn Bartram study and prepare for the Seal of Biliteracy test.

Mollie Banstetter, Layout Editor of The Ledger

A handful of Liberty students tested for the Seal of Biliteracy (also known as the Stamps test) is, an exam that measures proficiency in a language other than English. The tests were administered on March 17 and 18 beginning at 7:30 a.m. 

Seniors Brynn Bartram, Erick Ascencio and Trevor Dalton were just a few of the students who took the test. Bartram tested for Spanish, a course she has taken since freshman year. 

I did my best to prepare for the test by reviewing verb tenses, which was really difficult because there are so many different verb tenses in Spanish that all seem to blend together,” Bartram said.  

Ascencio tested for French, and Spanish, a language he is already fluent in. 

“I wanted to take this test to be able to show on my resume that I have the Seal of Biliteracy in both Spanish and French. I also wanted to give myself a challenge and take an exam that tests my language skills without being as hard as an AP test,” Ascencio said. 

Dalton tested for German.

I prepared for the test by practicing and watching the German version of Extr@, a show made to help people learn a language.”

Spanish teacher Senora Greminger shares the benefits that the seal brings for students. “Colleges and employers can see that a student has achieved a high level of proficiency in the language…there are many colleges in MO. that will award up to 12 credit hours for the Seal,” Greminger said. 

According to MO.’s Seal of Biliteracy website, schools such as Missouri State University, Missouri Southern State University, Northwest Missouri State University, University of Central Missouri, Truman State University, William Woods University, and Evangel University will accept the seal as a credit hours. However, each school has varying guidelines and requirements for just how many a student can earn.

Students complete five tasks in the test, such as: listening, reading, multiple choice questions, speaking and writing. They must achieve a 5 or higher (on a scale of 1-9) on all four sections of the exam in order to obtain the Seal of Biliteracy. A score of 7 or higher earns the students the Distinguished Seal of Biliteracy.”  

Before students can even take the test, they must first complete a Social Cultural Competency Project. Wentzville’s criteria sheet outlines the requirements for this project: Students will demonstrate positive attitudes toward bilingualism and use both languages in a culturally appropriate way.”

Bartram was able to write about how she has grown while learning a new language, “…through that, I was able to discover more about why I decided to learn a foreign language and reflect on what has happened so far as a result of that.”

German teacher, Herr Stoll, is adamant about the advantage that taking a language course all four years of high school has on a student.

Taking a language all four years will open up literally a whole new continent of opportunities,” Stoll said. “I always try to stress that outside of job opportunities and things like that, you also have educational opportunities in those countries that offer a lot of financial advantages to the American system. In Europe they don’t charge any tuition so when you’re looking at $40,000 a year to go to SLU or WashU vs. $0, they (European universities) offer you a pretty substantial leg up starting out when you’re young.”

Herr Stoll shares what the students are expected to know for the test.

The test assesses your ability over six different subject areas. You have families and communities, personal and public identities, science and tech. and global challenges. 

“If you think about the rungs of a ladder you’re working on level one and eventually you get to where you can talk about the things in the past, things in the future, conditional, things like that.” Stoll said. 

Students complete 5 tasks in the test, such as: listening, reading,  multiple choice questions, speaking and writing. They must achieve a 5 or higher (on a scale of 1-9) on all four sections of the exam in order to obtain the Seal of Biliteracy. A score of 7 or higher earns the students the Distinguished Seal of Biliteracy”  

After a semester and a half of preparation for the Stamps test, Bartram was pleasantly surprised by the ease she felt taking the test.

I was very anxious, but once I got started, I went one section at a time and made it through. The best thing I did when taking the test was switch my mindset from  ‘what do the graders want to see?’ to ‘show the graders what you know’.”

The Seal of Biliteracy is a stepping stone for students to  further their education and career and the recipients will end up having a competitive edge for jobs and scholarships.