World Language Competency Test
Can you read, write, speak, and listen in a language other than English?
In the Northshore School District you can earn high school credit in a World Language by successfully passing a World Language Competency test and demonstrating your proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening. You may also earn a Seal of Biliteracy on your high school diploma for demonstrating a high level of proficiency.
- Registration Information
- Who Should Test?
- Languages Offered
- Test Information
- Getting Credit
- What is the Seal of Biliteracy?
For the 2023-24 school year, the District has made some revisions to the existing World Language Competency Test. Due to current and future budget constraints, testing procedures have changed and we would like to share the following details with families:
Testing will be for high school students only. There is no testing for middle school students this year.
Each high school will have one test date during the months of January-March 2024. There will not be a fall and spring test, nor make-up testing opportunities.
Schools will send out testing and registration information in their school bulletins through ParentSquare.
Each high school test fee will be $75, paid online through Touchbase or directly at the school.
Fees will be waived for students who:
Qualify for free or reduced-price meals and who have provided consent to share their status for fee waivers.
Demonstrate financial hardship and are working with the school support team.
Students may develop world language skills in many ways. They may use another language at home, attend language programs in the community, learn language skills online or spend time living abroad. Students who have achieved some proficiency in a world language may seek to earn credit by taking an assessment that measures their proficiency.
Your test score is based on your lowest level of proficiency in the areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Take a moment to think about your current language skills in the language in which you wish to be tested (not English). If you can answer "Yes, I can do this fairly easily" to each statement, you will likely be able to earn 1 to 2 credits. If you can answer “Yes, I can do this very easily” to each statement, you may be able to earn 3 to 4 credits.
Listening: I can understand ideas on familiar topics expressed through phrases, short sentences, and frequently used expressions.
Reading: I can understand the main idea and some details in simple texts that contain familiar vocabulary.
Person-to-Person Communication: I can exchange information with another person about familiar tasks, topics and activities.
Speaking: I can use a series of phrases and sentences to provide basic information about familiar topics.
Writing: I can write simple descriptions and short messages and request or provide information on familiar topics.
Below is just a small sampling of the languages available, representing some of the languages we see requested most frequently. NSD utilizes three test vendors covering over 100 languages, so it is rare to have a language requested for which a test is not available.
To request a language not listed below, please indicate your language preference when registering.
...and many more!
When you register, you will choose the language in which you wish to test. Different languages use different tests.
If you plan to test in Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified or Traditional), Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian or Spanish, you will take the online Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP 4S) offered through Avant Assessment. Try out a sample test to have an idea of the format. Students usually complete the STAMP test in about 2 to 3 hours, though some students will take more or less time. The test is not timed.
If your testing language is Amharic, Armenian, Chin (Hakha), Chuukese Czech, Filipino (Tagalog), Haitian-Creole, Hawaiian, Hmong, Ilocano, Kannada, Marathi, Marshallese, Samoan, Somali Maay Maay, Somali Maxaa, Tamil, Telugu, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese, or Yup'ik you will take the World Speak online test. For more information and sample tests, check out the Avant Assessment World Speak webpage.
Students requesting to test in most languages for which a STAMP or WorldSpeak test are not available will take the ALTA Writing Skills Assessment offered through ALTA Language Services on the main testing day. Students who score at level IRL 0+ or higher on the writing assessment will take the Speaking and Listening Assessment in a live phone interview arranged at a later date. Students must exhibit the skills equivalent to a level 4 or better on ALTA's 12-point Writing Performance Levels to score at IRL 0+ or higher and move on to the Speaking and Listening Assessment.
What if my language is not available in one of the above tests?
Indicate your language preference when you register. It is very likely there is a test available that can be scheduled for you. If there is not one available, custom tests in Writing and Speaking are offered through the Washington Association for Language Teaching (WAFLT). Note that some custom tests may require more time to create, and you may have to test at a later date. We will notify you immediately if this is the case.
Have you already taken a Washington State OSPI approved World Language test?
If you have already tested for proficiency in a World Language in another Washington State school district, please complete the Request for Approval of Credit for Proficiency in a World Language/Seal of Biliteracy (2409F) for Northshore School District. Submit this form with a copy of your test results and official documentation to your school counselor.
The Northshore School District receives your test results within a few weeks. You will receive a letter from the district with a copy of your test results indicating proficiency levels attained in the tested language and how many world language credits, if any, may be awarded. You will also receive a copy of the Request for Approval of Credit for Proficiency in a World Language and Seal of Biliteracy (2409F). Credits are not automatically added to your transcript. In order to get the credits you earned posted to your high school transcript, a completed Request for Approval form, your test results and official documentation need to be turned in to your school counselor.
World Language competency credits will appear on your transcript as "[LANGUAGE] 1 COMP" ( and 2, 3, and 4, depending on the credits earned). Example: A student who tested in Spanish at a proficiency level equivalent to 3 credits will see this on their transcript:
SPANISH 1 COMP
SPANISH 2 COMP
SPANISH 3 COMP
Because there is no grade associated with competency credits, the grade will be listed as "P" and will not calculate into the GPA.
Note: Students can earn up to four competency credits through proficiency testing. However, it's important to note that if students have also earned class time credits in the same language in which they test for proficiency, only those credits in addition to the class credits, up to a total of four, will be added to the student's transcript. Example: The student has taken and passed two years of Spanish classes for two credits, and has also tested at a proficiency level earning him/her three competency credits in Spanish. One additional credit may be added to the student's transcript for a total of three credits (2 class credits, plus one additional competency credit).
(download a copy of the Request for Approval of Credit for Proficiency in a World Language and Seal of Biliteracy)
The Washington State Seal of Biliteracy (RCW 28A.300.575.) was passed by the Legislature in 2014. The Seal is intended to highlight the benefits in today’s world of speaking, reading and writing in English and at least one other language. Students receive a Seal of Biliteracy sticker to affix to their high school diploma. Additionally, students’ transcripts will also reflect that they have received the Seal of Biliteracy.
The Seal of Biliteracy honors bilingualism. Heritage speaking students can be recognized for their bilingual assets. Students of a World Language can be recognized for the value they see in studying another language. The Seal of Biliteracy promotes meaningful and interactive communication with people of diverse cultures and languages.
Seal of Biliteracy Qualifications
Students must satisfy both requirements below to qualify for the Seal of Biliteracy:
- English Language Arts requirements
- Meet all graduation requirements for English Language Arts (ELA) and pass the state ELA Smarter Balanced Assessment.
- Complete one of the following World Language Competency tests
- Demonstrate proficiency on a World Language Competency test at Intermediate-Mid proficiency level or higher
- Pass an Advanced Placement (AP) Language test other than English with a score of 3 or higher
- Pass an International Baccalaureate Language test other than English with a score of 4 or higher
- Demonstrate proficiency on the Sign Language Proficiency Interview for American Sign Language (SLPI ASL) at Intermediate Plus level
Use the OSPI Flow Chart (PDF) to determine eligibility.
To find out more about the Washington State Seal of Biliteracy visit OSPI's website.
If you meet the proficiency requirements listed above in a language other than English and are on track to meet the ELA graduation requirements, submit the Request for Approval of Credit for Proficiency in a World Language and Seal of Biliteracy form to your school's counselor to request that the Seal of Biliteracy be added to your transcript. Note that the Seal of Biliteracy will not show on the transcript as "earned" until all of the above requirements have been met.
Learn more about eligibility, testing, credits and more!