With the demand increasing for the Seal of Biliteracy, we are helping to make sure the Seal is available to as many students as possible. Students studying more commonly taught languages like Spanish or French or only school districts that can afford the necessary language assessments should not be the only ones that can take part in Seal of Biliteracy programs. We believe any student who is proficient in a language other than English should be able to earn a Seal of Biliteracy.
That’s why Avant partnered with the Polish Mission of Orchard Lake Schools in Michigan to create the first-ever nationally-recognized Polish proficiency test. Polish students in Michigan were the first students in the U.S. to take a biliteracy test that gave them the opportunity to earn the Seal of Biliteracy for Polish language proficiency.
How The First Polish Language Proficiency Test Was Developed
None of this would have happened without Marzanna Owinski, the Polish language director at The Polish Mission. She has been on a mission to improve and expand Polish language education in America, particularly among Michigan’s abundant Polish-American population. She helped campaign for the Seal of Biliteracy and is now on a working task force on how it will be implemented statewide. Marzanna also approached Avant to develop a Polish language assessment so that her students would not be left out.
“We needed something that would be accepted everywhere in the country,” Owinski said. “Something accessible and affordable. The Avant was so great to work with in making this happen.”
Avant did not previously have a Polish assessment, but neither did anyone else. Together, we worked with The Polish Mission to develop a new Avant Polish STAMP 4S test based on nationally-recognized standards and models from Avant’s other language tests. This spring, the assessment is available for the first time ever to the thousands of students studying Polish across the country.
Why The Seal Of Biliteracy Is So Important
“There are thousands of students who have mastered Polish as a second language, and now with this assessment and the Seal of Biliteracy, they can demonstrate their proficiency and highlight it as a marketable skill for colleges or future jobs,” said Avant founder and CEO David Bong. “In today’s global economy and multicultural society, language skills are highly valuable. The growth of the Seal of Biliteracy is proof that people are recognizing this more and more.”
For Marzanna Owinski, the Seal of Biliteracy is just the beginning. She sees it as an opportunity for the Polish-American community to advance its heritage and culture.
“We need to work on being more visible to American educational institutions and promote learning Polish among Polish-Americans. So many of the previous generation regret that they didn’t learn from their parents. If a child’s heritage language is recognized and rewarded, they are more likely to maintain and develop it,” says Owinski.
As the Seal continues to gain traction, with new states and school districts implementing it by the day, Avant is committed to making sure any student with the drive and desire to learn a second language can take advantage of this opportunity.
“The Seal of Biliteracy is a lifetime award that can truly make a difference in a student’s life and career. It is crucial that as many students as possible have access to valid assessments in the languages that they speak so that their language skills can be recognized,” David Bong said.