The student news site of Morton East High School

Pony Express News

The student news site of Morton East High School

Pony Express News

The student news site of Morton East High School

Pony Express News

1,000+seniors tested for Seal of Biliteracy

For the first time ever, nearly 1,000 seniors at Morton East were tested to earn the Seal of Biliteracy, this first semester.

During 7 testing days, senior teachers and EL 4 teachers offered 1,303 AAPPL Tests to 818 of Morton East seniors and EL 4s.  There were 1,114 students invited, so that means that 73.4% of the invited students got a chance to complete a test.

According to Chatgpt, Illinois’ Seal of Biliteracy, which began in 2013, is a way to recognize and promote students who know more than one language.  The Seal is an award that shows that a student can use multiple languages to possibly be more successful in a global economy and society. The Seal of Biliteracy also promotes multiculturalism and inclusivity in Illinois high schools.  Students can receive a Gold Seal of Biliteracy or a Silver Commendation in Biliteracy by showing proficiency in two language tests; each language has four tests: speaking, listening, reading and writing.  Students can also submit a portfolio of work in both languages to qualify for an award.  According to Wikipedia, currently 39 US states and the District of Columbia offer Seal of Biliteracy awards to high school students.  Illinois was one of the first states to offer the Seal of Biliteracy.  Morton East has been testing for Seal of Biliteracy since 2016. Of course, Cicero has been a biliterate community for many years.

“The times (being bilingual) helps is whenever I’m with my grandma and she needs help with English, so I’m usually the person who always translates and helps her understand what people are saying,” junior Ivan Pule said.

Many Morton East students translate for members of their family – sometimes for personal business or health or medical needs.

“Knowing two languages is very important, I grew up learning Spanish and English. Translating happens a lot because my parents don’t know much English but because I know English, I am able to translate from English to Spanish for my parents every time they are unable to understand it,” senior Diego Orozco said.

Other students act as Good Samaritans to those in need in the community.

“The time when knowing two languages helped, was when I went to go get pizza and the guy Infront of me didn’t know much English and the worker only speaker English. So, I helped him order his food I would translate it to Spanish for him and talk in English to the worker,” junior Adrian Barrios said.

Before this year, testing for the Seal of Biliteracy was mostly voluntary.  Some senior teachers made it part of their curriculum, but for the most part, seniors had to sign up on their own.

“The only thing holding most students back from earning a Commendation in Biliteracy or Seal of Biliteracy is themselves; they don’t sign up for the test, or they don’t commit the time to take it.  I wish they would all realize the opportunity that it provides to them,” journalism teacher Kent Frankfother said.

However, some students are tired of mandatory testing and feel that Seal of Biliteracy testing is a personal decision.

“I don’t want to take the test.  I think it’s not fair that it’s mandatory for seniors this year.  Proving whether I’m bilingual, and whether I want a certificate should be up to me,” senior Jose Avitia said.

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    Dyanara MirandaDec 15, 2023 at 9:34 am

    Many people think that testing for the seal is not beneficial but in reality it is because you get to receive an award for speaking more than 1 language which could help in the future.