Greater Numbers of Missouri Students Show Mastery of Multiple Languages


More than 1,000 Missouri students earned the Missouri Seal of Biliteracy during the 2018-19 school year for demonstrating proficiency in English and any of the world’s languages through standardized assessments and local measures. Being fluent in more than one language may provide a competitive edge for students in their future careers. In addition, students who earn the award may receive 12-18 credit hours at participating Missouri colleges and universities.

“We are pleased that Missouri students are gaining opportunities through their mastery of two or more languages,” said Blaine Henningsen, assistant commissioner with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). “The Missouri Seal program is among the ways we can prepare students for success.”

The 2018-19 school year saw 1,084 students earn the award, more than double the number of students earning the award the inaugural year. The languages other than English include Spanish, German, French, Amharic, Arabic, Bosnian, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Karen, Korean, Latin, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Tagalog, Urdu and Vietnamese.

DESE formally adopted the Seal of Biliteracy in October 2017, becoming at the time the 28th state in the nation to make the award available to local school districts. Many businesses throughout the state have formally endorsed the Missouri Seal as a potential career benefit in an increasingly diverse workforce.

In addition to the Missouri Seal earned at graduation, local school districts may also adopt Pathway Awards to encourage language study at other milestones in pre-K through grade 12.