Students who are Deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH) represent a small yet diverse population of students with individual needs who often receive educational services provided by sign language interpreters and teachers of the Deaf/hard of hearing (D/HH). Many interpreters and teachers appear unprepared to model fluent American Sign Language (ASL) skills when working with D/HH students who use sign language for communication and instruction. We investigated the ASL skills of 19 interpreting and Deaf education candidates within one university preparation program at two points in time: the end of ASL I class (Time 1) and a year later at the end of ASL IV (Time 2). We used video recordings of candidates’ signed renditions of a picture book, a rubric of 12 sign language indicators with five levels of proficiency across each indicator, and ratings conducted independently by the candidates and the five authors. Four of these authors were university professors in two different Deaf education/interpreting preparation programs and the fifth was a teacher at a residential school for the Deaf. Three have typical hearing and use ASL as a secondary language; two are Deaf and use ASL as their primary language. We compared candidates’ self-ratings to those of the five authors. We found that candidates tended to over-estimate their skills at T1; self-ratings and author ratings increased from T1 to T2, and candidates had higher agreement with most authors at T2 compared to T1. In addition, we found differences among ratings between the university faculty and the high school teacher. We discuss these differences in our findings and address implications for evaluating and improving university candidates’ ASL skills.



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