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Role of ASL Diagnostic and Evaluation Services expands, gains recognition beyond campus

November 15, 2011
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ASL Diagnostic and Evaluation Services (ASL-DES) provides American Sign Language Proficiency Interviews (ASLPI) year-round for Gallaudet students, staff, and faculty.

Results of the ASLPI are used for personnel actions, faculty re-appointment, tenure, merit increase, promotion, student practicum and internship placement, readiness for specific courses, graduation, etc. ASLPIs are also conducted as part of the pre-admissions process for many academic programs, including all prospective hearing undergraduates, applicants to the B.A. in Interpretation Program, and JumpStart students.

ASLPIs are also utilized for some undergraduate students for ASL 101, 102, 201, 202, and GSR 103 class placement. There is discussion of the ASLPI becoming a requirement for all incoming undergraduate students. The ASLPI is also a prerequisite by the American Sign Language Teachers Association for ASL teacher certification. Numerous schools, programs, businesses, and boards of education nationwide require the ASLPI for admissions and employment purposes.

The demand for ASLPI service has been on the rise in recent years and continues to increase:

The chart illustrates the growing demand for ASLPI service. During FY 2007-08, ASL-DES provided 340 evaluations. In FY 2008-09 and FY 2009-10, that number grew to 496 and 613, respectively. In FY 2010-11, ASL-DES served 690 examines, and the demand is still growing.

The chart illustrates the growing demand for ASLPI service. During FY 2007-08, ASL-DES provided 340 evaluations. In FY 2008-09 and FY 2009-10, that number grew to 496 and 613, respectively. In FY 2010-11, ASL-DES served 690 examines, and the demand is still growing.

In 2008, Mel Carter, the individual who originally coined the term “American Sign Language Proficiency Interview-ASLPI”) transferred the intellectual property rights for the ASLPI evaluation system from The ASLPI Center in California to Gallaudet University’s ASL Diagnostic and Evaluation Services. “It is a tremendous honor bestowed upon Gallaudet and one that comes with great responsibility in carrying the ASLPI into the future,” said Loretta Roult, director of ASL-DES. “The utmost priorities include quality assurance, reliability, and consistency.” She said that with the transfer of the evaluation system to Gallaudet, the ASLPI logo was developed and has been legally trademarked.

All individuals who successfully pass required training to become an evaluator must participate in a comprehensive, cyclical, biannual refresher training program focusing on maintaining strong interviewing skills and rating reliability. Refresher training monitors and supports evaluators as they work to maintain this competency. Given the high stakes nature of the ASLPI, the training and expectations of ASLPI evaluators are much more comprehensive and rigorous than in years past.

This spring, ASL-DES was contacted by a group of ASLPI evaluators in Wisconsin after they learned of Gallaudet’s official oversight of the ASLPI. This group had been conducting evaluations in their area; however, there was no official oversight and they had not received cyclical retraining since they began working with the ASLPI many years ago. After a series of meetings to work out logistical details, and screenings to ensure participants met the prerequisites to participate, remote training was scheduled the week of July 25-29. This was technologically challenging but an extremely cost-effective approach to providing training. All aspects of the training were conducted via webinar, videophone, the Blackboard online teaching and learning management system, and Vimeo video sharing. Prospective evaluators who passed the initial training week are now in the next phases of training-Mock Interviews: Cycle 1 and 2.

“In addition to the growing demand for ASLPI evaluations, training efforts like this reflect Gallaudet’s expanding role and leadership in the field of ASL proficiency evaluation and how ASL Diagnostic and Evaluation Services is becoming recognized as the nation’s leading experts in this field,” said Roult. “ASL-DES provides and promotes first rate customer service, high quality interviews, reliable ratings, and rigorous and ongoing training to maintain the integrity of the evaluation system.”

(Note: the photos accompanying this article are of the remote ASLPI training.)

15 November 2011

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