Two standardized benchmark exams were instituted in 2004 to ensure that students have the requisite language and cognitive processing skills to succeed in subsequent classes and obtain the degree. By achieving the required benchmark scores, students are minimally prepared for more complex coursework and are more likely to persist through the program.
Benchmark #1 – Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI)
The SLPI is a nationally standardized test produced by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in Rochester, NY and is taken toward the end of ASL IV. Levels awarded range from Survival to Superior and the standard of achievement on the SLPI is the Intermediate Level. This test is videotaped at UA Little Rock in an informal interview setting. The tapes are sent to an outside evaluation team consisting of Deaf and hearing raters who have been trained by NTID.
Students must receive the Intermediate level to register in the fall for the following courses: INTR 3320 ASL V, INTR 3347 Introduction to interpreting, and INTR 3344 Interpretation Theory and Process. For those that do not achieve this rating, a plan of remediation will be developed with these students who may re-take the test at a later date.
Benchmark #2 – Mid-America Quality Assurance Screening Test (QAST)
The QAST is a state standardized test of interpreting and transliterating skills. The IEP Program Coordinator schedules these exams with the Arkansas Rehabilitation Services QAST Coordinator. Students are prepared for this exam during INTR 3364 Sign to Voice Interpreting/Transliterating, INTR 3366 Voice to Sign Interpreting/Transliterating, and a Mock QAST is administered in early April. The QAST evaluations are usually scheduled for late April.
The QAST measures skills on a level of I –V, with I being the apprentice level and V being the advanced level. Students must achieve a Level I in both interpreting and transliterating (called a Level I/I) to proceed to the next semester of BA degree courses. For those that do not achieve this rating, a plan of remediation will be developed with these students who may re-take the test at a later date. The required waiting period between testing is six months.