Graduating students in the Class of 2022, who were not able to take 10th Grade ELA MCAS due to the pandemic, now have the opportunity to earn the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy. Legislation passed in December allows 2022 graduates who earn the modified competency determination in ELA to also satisfy the English language criteria for the award.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is pleased to announce a recent and important update regarding the Seal of Biliteracy. Recent legislation has been enacted which allows students who graduate in 2022 to satisfy the English criteria for the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy by fulfilling the English Language Arts (ELA) modified competency determination requirements for graduation.
The LOOK Act requires students to demonstrate their proficiency in English by means of the Grade 10 English Language Arts (ELA) MCAS. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some students in the graduating classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 have experienced difficulties accessing the ELA MCAS. Last summer, Chapter 29 of the Acts of 2021 temporarily permitted the Commissioner to “establish an alternative means of demonstrating English language proficiency for the state seal of biliteracy for students in the class of 2020 or 2021.” On Monday, December 13, 2021, Governor Baker signed An Act Relative to Immediate Covid-19 Recovery Needs, which extends this provision students who will graduate in 2022. In accordance, 2022 graduates who earn the modified competency determination in ELA will also satisfy the English language criteria for the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy.https://www.doe.mass.edu/scholarships/biliteracy/
In their statement, the Department acknowledged the advocacy of the Language Opportunity Coalition on this issue. In October 2021, almost 100 language educators who implement the Seal of Biliteracy signed onto the Coalition’s statement Urgent Action Needed: State Seal of Biliteracy for Class of 2022 and provided stories about how the issue would impact their students.
We would like to thank Sen. Sal DiDomenico, who filed the amendment to make the modification, and the legislators who supported the change, including co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Education, Sen. John Lewis and Rep. Alice Peisch, Senate President Sen. Karen Spilka, and Speaker of the House Rep. Ronald Mariano.