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Maryland graduates can now get a certificate of biliteracy

In the future, Maryland's graduating seniors may be able to get a seal of biliteracy attached to their diplomas.

A law that goes into effect on July 1 sets up a system for graduates who achieve a certain degree of proficiency in at least one foreign language to have a seal attached to their diploma.

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Maryland joins 20 other states around the nation that have adopted the seal of biliteracy as a way to encourage students to take more than the minimum amount of a foreign language required for graduation. The seal is intended to give graduates a competitive edge in college admissions and job applications.

Immigrants, many of whom become bilingual, would be eligible for the seal.

A Maryland State Department of Education workgroup is now meeting to plan the implementation of the seal of biliteracy, and no list of assessments to determine proficiency in a foreign language has yet been passed by the state school board.

The seal of biliteracy is voluntary, so each school district in the state will have to determine whether it wants to put it in effect.

The state board is expected to discuss the details at its regular meeting in August.

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