More than 40 years after American Sign Language (ASL) and interpreter education were first offered as programs of study in higher education, little is known about the level of ASL proficiency of graduates from baccalaureate degree programs in interpreting and what level of ASL proficiency may be associated with passing the performance portion of the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) examination. With this in mind, we posed three questions: 1) What is the distribution of ASL Proficiency Interview (ASLPI) ratings of a national sample of novice interpreters relatively near the time of graduation from baccalaureate degree programs in interpreting? 2) What is the distribution of ASLPI ratings of a national sample of novice interpreters relatively near the time of taking the NIC Performance Exam? 3) What is the relationship between ASLPI ratings and passing/not passing the NIC Performance Exam? Results showed that relatively closer to IEP graduation (N = 134), about 56% of ASLPI proficiency levels were at or below Level 2+ and 44% were at or above Level 3. For ASLPI proficiency levels obtained relatively closer to taking the NIC Performance Exam (N = 154), about 30% were at or below Level 2+ and 70% of ratings were at or above Level 3. Results showed that all those who passed the NIC Performance Exam, and who had a rating for the ASLPI taken relatively closer to taking the NIC Performance Exam (N = 27), obtained an ASLPI proficiency level of 3 or higher. However, it is important to note that approximately 75% of participants who obtained a proficiency level of 3 or higher did not pass the NIC Performance Exam the first time they took it. Additionally, the higher the ASLPI level, the higher the proportion of people passing the NIC Performance Exam. This study has implications for further research regarding ASL proficiency for students entering and exiting IEPs and preparing for national credentialing.
Swabey, Laurie; Olson, Andrea M.; Sever-Hall, Aimee M.; and Gamache, Keith
"Novice Interpreters, American Sign Language Proficiency, and the National Interpreter Certification Performance Exam,"
Journal of Interpretation: Vol. 30:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unf.edu/joi/vol30/iss1/3