The SLPI:ASL is a conversational approach to sign language communication skills assessment. The goal of the SLPI:ASL is to assess how well people are able to use sign language for their communication needs, and to assist people with development of their sign language communication skills. 


For NTID faculty and staff, the NTID SLPI:ASL process is confidential.
ASLTE will not release ANY SLPI:ASL information concerning you without your permission.* You may use any rating you receive for any purposes related to NTID, even if it is not the most recent rating given.

*MSSE students' SLPI:ASL ratings are sent to the director of the MSSE program.

The best way to prepare for the SLPI:ASL is to sign with native signers for extended periods of time regularly in the weeks and months before the SLPI:ASL interview.

  1. Meet with an SLPI:ASL team member or the coordinator to discuss the SLPI:ASL process, or invite the ASLTE coordinator to a department meeting to discuss the SLPI:ASL.
  2. Have a practice SLPI:ASL Interview with a member of the SLPI:ASL team (not with assigned interviewer). There are also multiple filming locations through NTID for personal usage to record yourself for analysis. 
  3. Watch the assigned SLPI:ASL Interviewer in a normal conversation with a third person, to become familiar with his/her signing.
  4. Visit the SLPI:ASL Room to see how it is set up for SLPI:ASL interviews.
  5. Arrange for a practice ASL conversation with a skilled signer immediately prior to SLPI:ASL interview. However, the best preparation is to sign with native signers for extended periods of time in the weeks and months before the SLPI:ASL. 
  6. Request a Deaf SLPI:ASL Interviewer.
  7. Request another SLPI:ASL Interviewer if you feel the assigned person is inappropriate.
  1. Be as relaxed as possible and use your normal signing.
  2. Sign at a rate that is comfortable for you. What's important is how clearly you sign, not how fast.
  3. Answer questions fully; do not be brief, and answer in depth.
  4. Don't apologize for your signing skills. Be positive. Let the interview show your skills.
  5. If you make a mistake with your signing, correct it and continue. No one expects you to sign without mistakes.
  6. If nervousness is a problem, tell the interviewer, who will help you relax.
  7. You may stop the Interview and start over if you feel it is not going well or schedule another time for an interview.
  8. Upon completion of the SLPI:ASL interview, you may immediately request another SLPI:ASL interview if you feel you did not demonstrate your best sign language skills.

Upon receiving the SLPI:ASL Rating, we encourage you to schedule a follow-up meeting through the ASLTE office to watch the videotape of your interview, and to discuss your strengths and weaknesses and recommendations for improvement. 

After the SLPI:ASL follow-up meeting, you may:

  1. Request another rating
  2. Request another interview to take place the next time SLPI:ASL's are offered
  3. Borrow your SLPI:ASL Interview DVD as part of structured sign language training program (course or tutoring).
  4. Request that the record of your SLPI:ASL be expunged. In this case, we will erase the video and remove your name from the record of the interview in the ASLTE database.

The Interview

The interview is a conversation with an SLPI:ASL team member. Two cameras record the interview on split-screen video equipment.

Upon arrival in the SLPI:ASL room, the candidate is greeted by someone from ASLTE or the SLPI:ASL Team, seated, and given the SLPI:ASL interview information sheet for review. Any questions can be discussed at that time. There is minimal conversation between the interviewer and the candidate prior to beginning the interview.

Interviews generally take 20 to 30 minutes and cover three major topics: work, interests and hobbies, and family and background. 

Because of the SLPI:ASL's formal rating process, interviewers are not able to discuss or answer questions regarding possible results or provide opinions about a person's signing.

Three SLPI:ASL raters independently view and rate each faculty/staff member's sign language communication skills using an SLPI:ASL Raters' Worksheet.

  1. If they agree on a rating, that becomes the official rating.
  2. If they cannot agree on a rating, the interview video is given to another team.
  3. If the second team agrees on a rating, that becomes the official rating.

In the rare cases where the second team cannot agree on a rating, the interview is judged unratable and the candidate is asked to come in for another interview.

All candidates rated Advanced Plus and above will be given a rating labeled "Advanced Plus to Superior Plus Skill Level Range".

Sign Language Proficiency Interview Rating Scale

Superior Plus

Able to have a fully shared and natural conversation, with in-depth elaboration for both social and work topics. All aspects of signing are native-like.


Able to have a fully shared conversation, with in-depth elaboration for both social and work topics. Very broad sign language vocabulary, near native-like production and fluency, excellent use of sign language grammatical features, and excellent comprehension for normal signing rate.

Advanced Plus

Exhibits some superior level skills, but not all and not consistently.


Able to have a generally shared conversation with good, spontaneous elaboration for both social and work topics. Broad sign language vocabulary knowledge and clear, accurate production of signs and fingerspelling at a normal/near-normal rate; occasional misproductions do not detract from conversational flow. Good use of many sign language grammatical features and comprehension good for normal signing rate.

Intermediate Plus

Exhibits some advanced level skills, but not all and not consistently.


Able to discuss with some confidence routine social and work topics within a conversational format with some elaboration; generally, 3-to-5 sentences. Good knowledge and control of everyday/basic sign language vocabulary with some sign vocabulary errors. Fairly clear signing at a moderate signing rate with some sign misproductions. Fair use of some sign language grammatical features and good comprehension for a moderate-to-normal signing rate; a few repetitions and rephrasing of questions may be needed.

Survival Plus

Exhibits some intermediate level skills, but not all and not consistently.


Able to discuss basic social and work topics with responses generally 1-to-3 sentences in length. Some knowledge of basic sign language vocabulary with many sign vocabulary and/or sign production errors. Slow-to-moderate signing rate. Basic use of a few sign language grammatical features. Fair comprehension for signing produced at a slow-to-moderate rate with some repetition and rephrasing.

Novice Plus

Exhibits some survival level skills, but not all and not consistently.


Able to provide single sign and some short phrase/sentence responses to basic questions signed at a slow-to-moderate rate with frequent repetition and rephrasing. Vocabulary primarily related to everyday work and/or social areas such as basic work-related signs, family members, basic objects, colors, numbers, names of weekdays, and time. Production and fluency characterized by many sign production errors and by a slow rate with frequent inappropriate pauses/hesitations.

No Functional Skills

(May be) Able to provide short single sign and 'primarily' finger-spelled responses to some basic questions signed at a slow rate with extensive repetition and rephrasing.



Candidates will receive their ratings by email by the end of the semester.

All candidates are encouraged to schedule a follow-up meeting. This is the most helpful and informative part of the SLPI:ASL process.


  • NTID faculty applying for tenure and promotion
  • NTID faculty and staff documenting annual appraisals
  • NTID faculty and staff developing communication plans or working on professional development
  • Students in the Master of Science in Secondary Education of the Deaf program (MSSE)
  • Groups in the RIT Community (e.g. Public Safety) who have SLPI:ASL levels built into their job expectations

During the previous academic year. Interviews conducted during fall semester will not be rated before the tenure and promotion portfolio deadlines.

SLPI:ASL services are not offered in June, July or August.

As often as you like, subject to available slots and the priorities immediately above. However, there is not likely to be any improvement shown in SLPI:ASL that are taken less than a semester apart. Registration is announced through a university-wide e-mail and takes place on this website.

Yes. Confidentiality is maintained for all people during all phases of the SLPI:ASL process. ASLTE will not reveal any information about your SLPI:ASL without your permission.

Candidates are given the option to sign a document permitting their SLPI:ASL to be used in research, evaluation and training activities. If permission is granted, interviews are securely and confidentially stored. If not, interviews are stored for one year, after which the recordings are erased.

You may also request that the record of your SLPI:ASL be expunged. In this case, we will erase the video, and remove your name from the record of the interview in the ASLTE database.


If you have not signed up yet for this semester:

Follow the link to Register for an SLPI:ASL Interview to select 8 (or more) time slots you are available for your SLPI:ASL interview.

If you have already signed up for this semester, but want to change your available dates/times:

Follow the link to Register for an SLPI:ASL Interview and click "Edit Registration" to view and edit (Click the Edit tab) the times you are available for your SLPI:ASL interview.

Register for an SLPI Interview