TIGERVILLE, S.C. (courtesy ngu.edu) — North Greenville University is the first higher education institution in the state of South Carolina to offer college credit to high school students who have earned the Seal of Biliteracy.
The Seal of Biliteracy is a certificate earned by high school graduates who demonstrate competence in a second language on a proficiency exam. Students who earn a bronze seal will be awarded credit for levels one and two of the language, 1310 and 1320. Those earning a silver or gold seal will be awarded credit for 1310, 1320, and 2310.
“The Seal of Biliteracy is a nationwide program,” said Dr. Ben Coates, professor of Spanish at NGU and chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics. “It’s very comparable to an advanced placement exam. If a student has a really great language experience in high school, but their school doesn’t offer advanced placement, they can now take the Seal of Biliteracy test and demonstrate their proficiency.”
Students completing the exam demonstrate skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking the foreign language.
“It’s a true measure of what the students can do with the language, and not just what they know about it,” Coates said. “That’s what language instruction is all about. You might be able to conjugate the verbs, but you have to be able to use the language to communicate.”
Coates said students who earn the seal should schedule a time to take the language placement exam at NGU to determine if more language credits may be exempted.
“A student that is proficient in Spanish shouldn’t start in Spanish 1 in college,” Coates said. “They should be in a class that meets their level of proficiency. As a professor, I want to recruit those students that are already at a high level coming in.”
NGU currently offers courses in three languages: Spanish, French, and American Sign Language.
Coates said he is proud the university is leading the way by installing the Seal of Biliteracy credit and believes the move demonstrates NGU’s commitment to partnering with secondary educators.
“I’m really proud that NGU is the first school in the state to give credit for the Seal of Biliteracy,” he said. “I think it shows that we appreciate what our high school colleagues are doing, and the proficiency levels they are able to get their students to reach.”