How should I prepare?

With regard to preparation, consider any language and acquiring that language—English, Spanish, French, etc. Learning, understanding and using any language with proficiency takes time and hard work. It is also important to remember that becoming proficient in any language does not always come as quickly (or as easily) as we would like. Preparation for taking the ASLPI is not like preparing for an exam in a course (i.e., memorizing core information and regurgitating it in the same form on paper). The ASLPI is evaluating what you can do with the target language at a given point in time. Proficiency in a language gives us the ability to discuss a wide range of topics, known or unknown to us. As with all language proficiency evaluations, the focus is on use of language features, the range of language features incorporated, and the accuracy, consistency and building complexity of those language features across a variety of topics. The evaluation is not a focus on what you know about the topics.

Becoming proficient in any language happens over time and that time varies from person to person. When you take the ASLPI, you will do your best to demonstrate a range of ASL features, aspects and nuances that you have in your language repertoire. Depending upon where you are in the language acquisition process, you may have full control over some of the features, while others you may have some control, and still others are just emerging (no control). The goal is to show what you CAN DO with the language, no matter the topics discussed. This is not a test of your knowledge. When topics are raised, rely on your life experiences, personal perspectives and opinions to respond. If a question or topic is raised that is unfamiliar, ask for clarification or additional information to gain understanding. Questions are an important language function, and each language has parameters for how to present questions with accuracy (e.g., use of eyebrows, eyes and body movement -- grammar indicators). Once you understand the topic or question, respond from your personal perspective. The focus of the evaluation is not on what you know about the topic, but the features and function of the target language (e.g., syntax, grammar, vocabulary, semantics, surrogates, depiction, etc.).

Think of the ASLPI in those terms. The challenge is when our language skills are still developing and we are limited with vocabulary, grammar, syntax, etc. in a language and then attempt to demonstrate increasing complexity with accuracy via that language. When you take the ASLPI, put all of your energy into showing what you CAN DO with the language. You will attempt to use features that you might not have full control over. You may also be influenced by a non-target language. Do your best to make every attempt to show what you can do. The ASLPI will evaluate your accuracy, consistency, complexity and flexibility with ASL.

Preparation can include but is not limited to: using the language as much as possible so features become part of your natural language repertoire (we lose what we don't use); continually involve yourself in ongoing formal instruction (classes, workshops, conferences); immerse yourself in social events at which you remain in the target language for extended periods of time; conduct ongoing personal assessments of your language (consciously think about what you are generating: Are you using ASL, or a more English like signing? Are you using correct grammar, semantics for intended meaning, etc.)? Ask proficient users to point out errors when they occur, and incorporate that feedback.

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Gallaudet

800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002