Sign Language Proficiency Interview in American Sign Language (SLPI:ASL)

Bridges Oregon’s National Sign Language Assessment (NSLA) uses the Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) conducted in American Sign Language (ASL) to get the best sample of the candidate’s ASL skills. NSLA SLPI: ASL is an assessment conducted remotely which involves a one-to-one conversation in ASL between an interviewer and the candidate. The NSLA SLPI:ASL assesses a person’s skills in using natural sign language for communication (function) and provides an analysis of a person’s sign language vocabulary, production, fluency, grammar, and comprehension skills (form).

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.

The interview content varies and may include topics such as your background, job responsibilities, schooling, and other interests of each candidate. The interviews are recorded and subsequently rated independently by NSLA SLPI:ASL raters. We do all of our assessment remotely (through You do not need to create an account for this. We will send you an email link for the video meeting for assessment.

Ratings are based on 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.

Signed Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) for American Sign Language (ASL) is listed on National Seal of Biliteracy and State of Oregon Seal of Biliteracy as an acceptable assessment for purposes of demonstrating proficiency in a language other than English.

Contact Information

Buffy Reis, MS
NSLA SLPI:ASL Coordinator
(971) 800-6253


Service fees:

$185 results report with no diagnostic feedback

$220 full results report with diagnostic feedback

Additional service fees:

$80 Expedite Service fees

$45 Replacement NSLA results report


The Expedite Service is available upon request for assessment results within 72-hours. This service is $80, in addition to the cost of the assessment and report fee.


If the candidate’s NSLA report has been lost, stolen, or damaged and the candidate needs to replace their NSLA report, they may request a replacement report. The cost for this service is $45.


The standard to complete the full report with diagnostic feedback is up to 14 business days. The report with no full diagnostic feedback is up to 10 business days.


Please make payment online. Please contact the NSLA office if alternate payment arrangements are needed.

Payment, including purchase order, is due at least one week before the evaluation date, or the evaluation will be rescheduled.

If any of the following occurs, the candidate(s) will not be reimbursed the prepaid evaluation fee:

  • Candidate(s) cancels NSLA evaluation less than 48 hours prior to the scheduled evaluation date.
  • Candidate(s) does not show up for the scheduled NSLA evaluation.
  • Candidate(s) arrive more than 10 minutes late for the scheduled NSLA evaluation. Evaluation will also be canceled due to late arrivals impacting other scheduled evaluations.


The NSLA registration purchases are non-transferable. The registration fees will not be refundable within one week of the scheduled appointment. Refund requests must be submitted in writing at least 8 days prior to the scheduled appointment. Please note: We will assess a $20 administrative fee for any refund processed. Please provide a minimum of 30 days to receive your refund.


The National Sign Language Assessment (NSLA) Sign Language Proficiency Interview for American Sign Language (SLPI:ASL) is confident that we are the only entity that is located in Pacific Standard Time to administer a sign language assessment. We provide SLPI:ASL service anywhere in the United States and US territories.

The SLPI:ASL provides both a rating and comprehensive diagnostic feedback. The assessment will provide you a better sense of your strengths and areas for improvement to continue work on toward a higher rating.

NSLA values our relationship with you. We believe open and honest feedback is what differentiates National Sign Languages Assessment (NSLA) from others.


NSLA SLPI: ASL is a one-to-one conversation in sign language between the interviewer and candidate/interviewee. Interview content varies according to the background, job responsibilities, schooling, and other interests of each SLPI:ASL candidate/interviewee.


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.


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).


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.


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. NSLA is proud to serve as one of two national sites to administer SLPI:ASL.


The two kinds of assessments are the result report and full report. The result report will give skill level only and no diagnostic feedback. The full report will include the result, reasons that determined the candidate’s result, and recommendations on how to improve their skills. No diagnostic feedback will be needed for those who obtain the range of Superior and Superior Plus. We also offer expedited services in which we can deliver the candidate’s result within 72 hours for an additional fee. NSLA SLPI: ASL results are valid and good for three (3) years. If the candidate is not satisfied with the rating, the candidate is eligible to reschedule for a new session after six (6) months.


The candidate will not be reimbursed the prepaid evaluation fee if the candidate cancels their NSLA appointment less than 48 hours (2 days before) prior to the scheduled evaluation date; the candidate does not show up for the scheduled NSLA appointment; the candidate shows up more than 10 minutes late for the scheduled NSLA appointment and/or the appointment will be canceled due to late arrivals impacting other scheduled appointments.


Please use a computer (desktop or laptop) with an ethernet connection. We discourage using a WiFi connection. The candidate shall identify a neutral and private location to effectively participate in the session. There will be no additional participants observing the session. The chair shall be comfortable and it is strongly advisable not to use a chair that comes with arms, wheels, or swivel mechanism. Limit direct and excessive sunlight and no windows in the background is advised. The space shall be clutter and distraction free. In addition, there will be absolutely no interruptions during the session.


We will have a conversation about social and work topics. The interviewee will ask you questions, and you may ask the interviewee questions.

We want to get the best sample of your American Sign Language (ASL) skills.

In order to elicit your best ASL skills, the interviewee may ask you to “re-sign” (restate) some responses. 

We will evaluate your ASL skills, including: (a) ASL vocabulary; (b) clarity and control of sign production; (c) use of ASL grammar (for example, use of space, sign directionality, classifiers, time indicators, and sentence and discourse structure); (d) non manual behaviors such as facial expressions and body shifts; (e) fluency or smoothness of sign and fingerspelling production; and (f) comprehension (skill in receiving ASL).

Please try to maintain a good “signing posture;” that is, please sit upright. This should help you show your best ASL skills.

Please answer the interviewee questions as completely as possible.

Do you have any questions? Please use ASL.



  1. RELAX: Sip a cup of coffee, rub your hands, talk about the weather—anything that will help you to relax and be confident.
  2. RATE OF SIGNING: Sign at a rate that is comfortable for you. If you know that you make many mistakes when you sign quickly, slow down.
  3. KEEP SIGNING: Don’t stop the conversation by answering simply YES or NO.  Be generous. Give details, explain your point, develop your thoughts, and make comparisons. Anything that shows you can discuss a topic in depth will help you perform better. If you are not a “talkative” person by nature, you must make an extra effort to communicate during the interview.
  4. DO NOT DOWNGRADE YOURSELF: Don’t apologize for your signing skills.  Be positive. Let the interview show your skills.


  1. IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE: If you know you made a mistake, correct it and continue.  Correcting a mistake can help your performance.
  2. IF YOU ARE LOST IN A LONG EXPLANATION: Stop…Think.  Say something like, “Let me tell you again—it is complicated.”  Then try again. Don’t worry about what happened. No one expects you to sign without mistakes.
  3. IF YOU BECOME NERVOUS DURING THE INTERVIEW: The interviewer will know you are nervous and help you. You can stop for a few seconds and get control.  Relax. Admit that you are nervous and joke about it. Often this is enough to make you comfortable again.
  4. IF SOMETHING IS INTERFERING WITH YOUR SIGNING: If the air conditioner bothers you, say so. If you can’t see the interviewer clearly, say so. Remember that this is your interview. You should have the best possible interview conditions.


**Note: These video clips are from SLPI:ASL archives. They may or may not represent the current skill levels of the candidates shown.

These video clips demonstrate ASL skills rated at the following SLPI:ASL 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)