Preparing Students from Around the World for the World

BiliteracyDes Moines Public Schools educates students from around the world. Our students come to Des Moines from a hundred different nations and speak more than 80 languages and dialects.

At the same time, DMPS educates students to be prepared to go out and succeed in the world, including a robust World Languages curriculum. That’s one reason DMPS is participating in the Iowa Seal of Biliteracy program.

The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by the district to recognize students who have attained proficiency in two or more languages, one of which is English, by high school graduation. Some of the goals of this new effort include:

  • Encourage students to study world languages
  • Certify attainment of biliteracy
  • Provide a method of identifying people with language and biliteracy skills
  • Prepare students with 21st century skills
  • Recognize and promote world language instruction in public schools
  • Strengthen intergroup relationships, affirm the value of diversity, and honor the multiple cultures and languages of a community


Being able to know and use more than one language is a critical skill for the 21st century. The seal of Biliteracy:

  • Values language as an asset
  • Recognizes the value of language diversity & cultural identity
  • Prepares students for the 21st century skills that will benefit them in the labor market and the global society
  • Provides employers, universities, and grant/scholarship providers with a method to recognize applicants for their dedication to attainment of Biliteracy.

For more information about the State Seal of Biliteracy, visit the Iowa Department of Education website.



To be eligible to be awarded the Iowa Seal of Biliteracy, students shall demonstrate proficiency in a world language. The assessment options to demonstrate proficiency in a world language include:

Assessment Language(s) Minimum Score to Qualify for Seal of Biliteracy More Information on Assessment
Advanced Placement (AP) Language and Culture Exam Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese 3 AP Language and Culture Exams
Advanced Placement (AP) Latin Exam Latin 3 AP Language and Culture Exams

AP Latin


To be eligible to be awarded the Iowa Seal of Biliteracy, each student shall demonstrate proficiency in English. The requirement must be met during the course of each student’s high school years. The assessment options to demonstrate proficiency in English include

Exam Minimum Score
ACT English 18
AP Language or AP Literature Exam 3
English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA 21) in grades 9-12 4 or 5 in all domains (reading, writing, speaking, and listening)
SAT English 470
Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) in grades 9-12 Proficient in English/Language Arts
Most recent Iowa Assessment results (2018-19 only) Proficient in Reading Comprehension

Curriculum - World Languages & ELL

Roslyn Billy, PhD
Address: 2820 Center Street, Des Moines, IA 50312