Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI:ASL)

Overview

The Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI:ASL) involves a one-to-one conversation in sign language between an interviewer and candidate/interviewee. Interview content varies according to the background, job responsibilities, schooling, and other interests of each SLPI:ASL candidate/interviewee.

The SLPI:ASL was adapted by Bill Newell and Frank Caccamise from the Language/Oral Proficiency Interview (L/OPI), an interview technique for assessing spoken language communication skills. Just as the L/OPI may be used to assess a variety of spoken languages the SLPI:ASL may be used to assess a variety of sign languages. For example, it is used in Kenya as SLPI:KSL, in South Africa as SLPI:SASL, and in New Zealand as SLPI:NZSL.

SLPI:ASL interviews are recorded and subsequently rated independently by SLPI:ASL raters. The basis for ratings is the SLPI:ASL Rating Scale, a standard scale based on the sign language communication skills of highly skilled, knowledgeable native/native-like signers. In application, a primary use of the SLPI:ASL has been to assess how well people are able to use sign language for communication, and, as appropriate, to use this information to assist people in development of their sign language communication skills. In the Evaluators’ Resources part of this website, Training Workshop Materials Sections 1, 5, 7 and 8 provide additional information about the SLPI Rating Scale, what the SLPI:ASL assesses, and SLPI:ASL use; and Section 10 provides information on connecting sign language instruction and SLPI:ASL results.

For more information about ASL training and evaluation at RIT/NTID, please visit the ASLTE website

Seal of Biliteracy:  https://sealofbiliteracy.org/state-guidelines/evidence-language-proficiency-required/

Frequently Asked Questions

The Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI:ASL) Rating Scale is a standard scale for rating sign language communication skills that is based on highly skilled, knowledgeable native-like signers. Since each SLPI:ASL candidate's performance is compared to this standard scale, not other candidates, the SLPI:ASL is a criterion referenced test.

More about the SLPI:ASL Rating Scale (PDF)

The SLPI:ASL assesses a person's skills in using a natural sign language for communication (function), and it provides an analysis of a person's sign language vocabulary, production, fluency, grammar, and comprehension skills (form).

More about the SLPI:ASL assessments (PDF)

In 1980 at the Third National Symposium on Sign Language Research and Teaching in Boston, Protase Woodford from Educational Testing Services, Princeton, NJ, presented information about the Language/Oral Proficiency Interview, an interview technique for assessing spoken language communication skills. Based on Woodford's presentation, several individuals began to explore the application of interview techniques to the assessment of American Sign Language (ASL), including faculty from the College of Staten Island, Gallaudet University (then Gallaudet College), and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID). Our application at NTID was originally developed and piloted for evaluating the sign language communication skills of NTID faculty and staff, with the first formal implementation of the SLPI:ASL occurring for residential staff at the Louisiana School for the Deaf.

More about the SLPI:ASL history (PDF)

SLPI:ASL Training Workshops and implementation have occurred at more than 50 academic and vocational rehabilitation programs across the US and in Canada, Kenya, and South Africa.

Program implementation resources

  • Factors Important for Development and Refinement of Sign Language Program Philosophy, Policy and Procedures Documents (pdf)
  • Principles For Development and Refinement of Sign Language Program Philosophy, Policy, and Procedures Documents (pdf)
  • Sign Language Skills Development Timeline Study (pdf) (doc)
  • ASL Skills Development Study Model Spreadsheet (xls)
  • Angles and Other SLPI Recording Guidelines (pdf)
  • Accepting SLPI Results from Other Programs (pdf)
  • Monitoring SLPI Team Members' Ratings (pdf)
  • Monitoring Sign Language Communication Skills Development (pdf)
  • Connecting ASL Instruction and the SLPI (doc)
  • Models (sample guidelines to follow)
    • Model Sign Language Policy and Procedures for Student Teacher Applicants (pdf) (doc)
    • Model Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) Information for University Students Majoring in Education of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students (pdf) (doc)
    • Model Research Study for Establishing Sign Language Skill Level Expectation for University Students Majoring in Education of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students (pdf) (doc)
    • Community Policy and Procedures Model Document (pdf) (doc)
  • Sample 1: South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind
    • South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind (SCSDB) Sign Language Communication Philosophy and Policy (pdf) (doc)
    • South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind (SCSDB) Sign Language Communication Philosophy and Policy: Procedures for Implementation (pdf) (doc)
    • South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind (SCSDB) Sign Language Communication Philosophy, Policy, and Procedures for Student Teacher and Intern Applicants (pdf)
  • Sample 2: Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind
    • Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) Total Communication Philosophy (pdf) (doc)
    • Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) Staff American Sign Language Policy (pdf) (doc)
    • Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) Staff American Sign Language Program: Procedures (pdf) (doc)
  • Other samples
    • NTID Master of Science in Secondary Education (MSSE) Program Applicant and Student Sign Language Communication Skills Assessment and Follow-Up Process (pdf)
    • Alabama Department of Mental Health Sign Language Proficiency Philosophy and Policy (pdf) (doc)

This sub-section includes three MODEL Annual Sign Language Program Reports based on Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) and South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind (SCSDB) reports:

Annual Sign Language Program Reports are important to determining the fairness of expected sign language entry skill levels and standards/goals.

The MODEL 1 and MODEL 2 Annual Reports include information about SLPI services, the number and percentage of staff that have and have not achieved their sign language skill level standards/goals, and participation and success of staff below their goals in sign language instruction.

In addition, the MODEL 1 Annual Report includes an explanation of how SLPI results are used to help ensure staff members with similar sign language skill levels are placed together in ASL courses. This ASL course placement criteria is designed to help ensure course content is appropriate for the ASL skill levels of staff members and to help avoid the frustration that may arise for both instructors and staff members when staff members taking an ASL course have a wide range of ASL skills. This placement criteria is also helpful to instructors and staff members in making a direct connection between the ASL assessment tool being used, the SLPI, and ASL instruction.

The MODEL 3 annual report, which is based on a quarterly reporting process, includes a narrative summary that refers to two tables that summarize sign language program information for each of the four quarters of the fiscal year (FY) being reported. In addition, comparisons to past FY results and totals over several FYs may be included in the narrative summary.
 

Evaluator Resources

The following documents are best used in notebooks or binders provided to evaluators being trained to administer the SLPI:ASL to candidates. 

Section 1: Workshop Goal and Principles, Materials, and Procedures (pdf)

Section 2: SLPI:ASL Training Workshop Schedule and In-Service Materials (pdf) (doc)

Section 3A: SLPI:ASL Scheduling and Interviewing (pdf) (doc)

Section 3B: SLPI:ASL Rating and Sharing of Results

Section 4A: Sample SLPI:ASL Rater Worksheets

  • Individual Rater Team Procedures (pdf)
  • Two and Three Rater Team Procedures (pdf)

Section 4B: Guidelines for Completing SLPI:ASL Rater Worksheets (pdf)

Section 5: Skills Important for Effective Sign Language Communication and SLPI:ASL Rating Levels (pdf)

Section 6: ASL Grammar (pdf)

Section 7: Responses to Frequently Asked Questions about the SLPI:ASL (pdf) (doc)

Section 8: Selected Readings for the SLPI:ASL (doc)

Section 9: Suggested Documents for Programs Using the SLPI:ASL

Section 10: Connecting ASL Instruction and the SLPI:ASL (pdf)

  1. Rating Scale and Analyzing Function (pdf)
  2. Rater Worksheets
    • Rater Worksheet: 2 and 3 Team Member Process (pdf)
    • Rater Worksheet: Individual Rater Process (pdf)
  3. Discussion Worksheet (pdf)
  4. Grammar and Discussion Guidelines (pdf)
  5. Analyzing Form (pdf)

Rating levels

  • Novice range (Novice/Novice Plus)
  • Survival range (Survival/Survival Plus)
  • Intermediate range (Intermediate/Intermediate Plus)
  • Advanced range (Advanced/Advanced Plus)
  • Superior range (Superior/Superior Plus)

ASL grammatical features

  • Indexing
  • Eye Gaze and Body Shift
  • Verb Movement Directionality
  • Sign Movement Modification for Degree
  • Sign Movement for Repeated Action
  • Repetition of Sign Noun Movement (a)
  • Repetition of Sign Noun Movement (b)
  • Number Incorporation
  • Non-Dominant Hand Listing
  • Conditional Sentence
  • Classifiers CL:V and CL:B

 

When interviewing a candidate, it is best to keep the following in mind:

  1. Your goal is to bring out the candidate’s best ASL. You are the candidate’s ally.
  2. Model ASL for the candidate. This means:
    • Don’t code-switch to more English-based signing.
    • Mouth movements must match natural ASL signing.
  3. If candidate doesn’t understand:
    • Repeat the question just as you signed it the first time.
    • Repeat, but more slowly.
    • Re-phrase the question with ASL syntax (don’t change to English syntax).
    • Rephrase again…slow down.
    • Do not use more fingerspelling.
  4. Please be aware that the candidate may be anxious, as is normal in a testing context. If you feel frustrated with the candidate, showing it will only increase their anxiety. Never show your frustration, no matter what.
  5. 20 minutes, three topics.
    • Work
    • Family/home/background
    • Hobbies/leisure activities
  6. Sample videos of common strategies
    • Rephrasing a question
    • Requesting a Description
    • Probing for Hobbies

Workshop training room set-up (pdf)

Diagram of setup of a training room

Interview room set-up

Below is an example of setting up the interview room to make good use of one camera. Notice a few things about this arrangement:

  • This is for a right-handed candidate; the candidate sits on the right and the interviewer on the left. This is best for viewing the candidate's signing and, especially, fingerspelling.
  • The camera's main capture is of the candidate; however, it's pointed in such a way that it will also capture the interviewer's facial expressions. This helps the raters judge the quality of the interaction. In particular, it allows the raters to know when the candidate's signing is not clear to the interviewer.
  • Behind the candidate is a clock. The interviewer can glance at the clock discretely to help judge both the overall length of the interview and the three segments (work/study, family, and leisure activities/hobbies).
  • There are no alligators anywhere in the interview room.

These details are discussed in Paper 6: Angles and Other SLPI Recording Guidelines in Training Notebook Section 7.

Photograph of the setup of an interview room

Evaluator training resources

The documents below provide information and materials important to planning and hosting workshops for training potential SLPI:ASL Team members. It includes both PDF and Word versions of the SLPI:ASL Training Workshop: Planning, Implementation, and Follow-Up document. The PDF version maintains the appropriate format for this document, but it cannot be edited. The Word version can be edited to fit the needs of each program that sponsors an SLPI:ASL Workshop, but the appropriate format may not be maintained when posted in a website. Therefore, programs can refer to the PDF version to assist them with the proper format when they make changes to the Word version to fit their application of the SLPI:ASL.

  • SLPI Training Workshop Planning, Implementation, and Follow-Up (pdf) (doc)
  • Support for Local SLPI:ASL Teams and SLPI:ASL Team Training (pdf)
  • Why Six to Ten SLPI:ASL Training Workshop Participants? (pdf)
  • May ASL Teachers Serve as SLPI:ASL Interviewers and Raters for People They Have Taught? (pdf)
  • Options for Conducting and Sharing Results of SLPI:ASL Ratings (pdf)
  • Options for Reporting SLPI:ASL Ratings (pdf)
  • Workshop training room setup (see Diagrams)

Find help near you

The National SLPI:ASL Leadership Board (NSLB) members below guide and monitor SLPI teams in the United States. They also provide SLPI evaluator training workshops. Workshops are conducted over four days, and trainers are paid a $4,000 stipend for their work.  

Sharon Lott, NSLB Coordinator
and ASL Training and Evaluation Coordinator
National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID)
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
sjlnod@rit.edu
(585) 286-3484 VP

Keith M. Cagle, Ph.D.
Department Chair
American Sign Language and Interpreting Education
Rochester, NY
kmcnss@rit.edu

This list contains the most current information on all the local SLPI:ASL Coordinators and their contact information.

John Rushton, ASLTE Staff Assistant
National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID)
If any corrections to names, locations, or contact information are needed, please let contact us at jsrnod@rit.edu.

For remote SLPI services via videophone, contact:

National SLPI:ASL Services
614-678-5442
nationalslpiasl@gmail.com

National Sign Language Assessment (NSLA)
https://bridgesoregon.org/nsla/

Alabama

Charlene Crump
State Coordinator, Interpreting/Communication Access
Office of Deaf Services
Alabama Department of Mental Health

P. O. Box 301410
Montgomery, Alabama 36130

charlene.crump@mh.alabama.gov
www.mhit.org
334-353-7415 (voice)
334.242.0796 (fax)
And
Shannon Reese

shannon.reese@mh.alabama.gov; 334-239-3780 VP

Arizona

Emmett Hassen
Licensing & Certification Coordinator
Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing (ACDHH)

100 N. 15th Avenue, Suite 104
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
602-542-3323 v/tty

e.hassen@acdhh.az.gov

Arkansas

Joyce Scott, M.Ed.
Arkansas Rehabilitation Services

26 Corporate Hill Drive
Little Rock, Arkansas  72205
501-686-9688 v/tty
501-686-9685 fax

Joyce.Scott@Arkansas.gov

California

Cindy Woodrum
California State Bilingual Coordinator

10186 Atlantis Drive
Elk Grove, California 95624

cwoodrum@mac.com
(916) 548-1459

Florida

Katie Bechtold
Director of Interpreter Services
Florida School for the Deaf & the Blind

207 North San Marco Avenue
St. Augustine, Florida 32084

bechtoldk@fsdbk12.org  
904-827-2930 (V)
904-201-4493 (VP)

Georgia

Keri Meeks
Georgia School for the Deaf

232 Perry Farm Road, SW
Cave Spring, Georgia 30124
706-777-2238, x2200 (main),
800-497-3371, x2204 (Fax)

talalahlkm@aol.com

Damita Boyd
Sign Language Interpreting Program    
Georgia Perimeter College

Clarkston Campus
555 N. Indian Creek Drive
Clarkston, Georgia  30021
678-891-3605
678-8913608 fax

Damita.Boyd@gpc.edu

Jimmy Peterson, Executive Director
Georgia Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
4151 Memorial Drive, Suite 103-B
Decatur, GA 30032
404-292-5312

jpeterson@gcdhh.org
www.gcdhh.org

Illinois

Craig Kuhn
SLPI:ASL Coordinator
Illinois School for the Deaf

125 Webster Ave
Jacksonville, Il 62650
VP (217)303-8201

Craig.Kuhn@illinois.gov

Kentucky

Kimberly Curtis, NIC
SLPI Coordinator
Kentucky School for the Deaf

303 South Second Street
PO Box 27
Danville, KY 40423-0027
859-936-6783 Voice
859-439-0043 VP

kimberly.curtis@ksd.kyschools.us
http://www.ksd.k12.ky.us

Louisiana

Alla Tarasyuk
SLPI Coordinator
Louisiana School for the Deaf

2888 Brightside Lane
Baton Rouge, Louisiana  70821
VP (225)341-6528

atarasyuk@lalsd.org

Massachusetts

Paul Schreyer
SLPI Coordinator
Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

150 Mt. Vernon Street, Suite 550
Boston, Massachusetts

pschreyer@sprint.blackberry.net

Michigan

Jennifer Berrigan
SLPI Coordinator
Michigan Department of Education-Low Incidence Outreach

702 W Kalamazoo Street
PO Box 30742
Lansing, Michigan 48909
VP/Voice: 970 515 7737
Text Number: (517) 897-3943
Fax Number: (517) 335-1632
E-Mail: 
berriganj@michigan.gov
http://mde-lio.cenmi.org

Minnesota

Mary Cashman-Bakken
Director/Specialist
Minnesota Resource Center: Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing

Division of Special Education
615 Olof Hanson Drive
Fairbault, Minnesota  55021-0308
800-657-3936 (V/T)
866-575-1105 (VP), 507-332-5494 (Fax)

mary.cashman-bakken@state.mn.us

Amy Amundsen
SLPI Coordinator/Interpreter
Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf

615 Olof Hanson Drive
Faribault Minnesota  55021
507-384-6665 V; 507.412.5082

amy.amundsen@msad.state.mn.us

Missouri

Sharon Egbert
Communication Supervisor
Missouri School for the Deaf (MSD)

505 East 5th Avenue
Fulton, Missouri 65251
(866) 412-0497 (VP)
(573) 592-2522 (V)
(573) 592-2570 (fax)

sharon.egbert@msd.dese.mo.gov

New Jersey

Kim Arrigo
Staff Interpreter
New Jersey School for the Deaf

320 Sullivan Way
West Trenton, New Jersey 08628

kim.arrigo@mksd.org
609 498 7948 VP
609 530 2332 voice

New York (alphabetical by city)

Jessica Valenti
St. Francis De Sales
Sign Language Dept.

260 Eastern Pkwy
Brooklyn, New York 11225
718-636-4573 ext. 112

jvalenti@sfdesales.org

Dr. Marjorie Harrington, Chair
Department of Deaf Education
Canisius College

2001 Main Street
Buffalo, New York  14208-1098

harringm@canisius.edu
716-888-2261, 716-888-3142 (Fax)

Pam Rohring
St. Mary's School for the Deaf

2253 Main Street
Buffalo, New York 14214
(716) 335-9380

prohrign@smsdk12.org

Adele Agin, LCSW
Executive Director, SCPI Coordinator
Lexington Vocational Services Center, Inc.

Lexington Center for Mental Health Services
30th Avenue & 75th Street
Jackson Heights, New York  11370
718-350-3110 (V/T), x3072 (Fax), x3031 (VP)

aagin@lexnyc.orgadeleagin@aol.com

Sharon Lott
ASLTE Coordinator
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
Rochester Institute of Technology

52 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, New York  14623-5604
585-286-3484 (VP)

sjlnod@rit.edu
    

North Carolina

Cindy J. Decker-Pickell, Coordinator
National SLPI:ASL Services

1711 W. Hornes Church Road
Bailey, North Carolina  27807-9144
252-281-2369 (W)
252-281-2344 (H)

nationalslpiasl@gmail.com

Central Piedmont Community College
Cato campus, Room 214
Box 35009
Charlotte, North Carolina 28235
VP: 704.469.5910
Fax: 704-330-4850

Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf
1311 U.S. HWY 301 South
Wilson, NC 27893

Ohio

Bob Donaldson-Pirc, Interim SLPI: ASL coordinator
The Ohio School for the Deaf

500 Morse Road

Columbus, Ohio

614.678.5469

Donaldson@osdb.oh.gov

Oregon

Chad A. Ludwig, MSW, ADAC, DI
Director, Research and Resource Center with Deaf communities (RRCD)  
Richard Woodcock Education Center
Western Oregon University
(503) 468-5724  Fax-(503) 838-8228

ludwigc@mail.wou.edu
www.WOU.edu/rrcd/rsla

Pennsylvania

Todd Behanna
Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (WPSD)
300 Swissvale Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  15218-1469

tbehanna@wpsd.org

(570) 309-0173 - VP; (412) 244-4211 - Fax 

Tennessee

Michelle Swaney
Administrative Coordinator/Technology Specialist
Center on Deafness/PEPNet-South
University of Tennessee

239 Bailey Education Complex
1122 Volunteer Blvd.
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-3442
(865) 238-0722

mswaney@utk.edu

Virginia

Kathy Campbell CI & CT
Interpreter Coordinator/SLPI:ASL Coordinator

kathy.campbell@vsdb.k12.va.us
ASL Instructor/Specialist 
Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind
PO Box 2069 Staunton, Virginia 24441

Rhonda Jennings BS MA
ASL Instructor/Specialist 

rhonda.jennings@vsdb.k12.va.us
rlj224@gmail.com
Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind
PO Box 2069 Staunton, Virginia 24441

West Virginia

Claudia Mals
SLPI Coordinator
West Virginia School for the Deaf

301 East Main Street
Romney, West Virginia 26757
304-822-4860

cmals@k12.wv.us

Canada (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick)

Amy Parsons
Educational Interpreter Consultant
Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (APSEA)

5940 South Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia  B3H 1S6

aparsons@apsea.ca