American Sign Language Proficiency Levels

ASL Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI) is an assessment tool used to determine ASL proficiency level, conducted by a qualified organization that is recognized by Deaf community. [link]

LPI may be required by some schools, universities, agencies, employers and other programs to evaluate a candidate's language proficiency in a face-to-face interview. ASLPI certified interviewers and raters, who are native/fluent in ASL, have undergone training and years of ASLPI experience.

ASLPI consists of a structured interview of about 20-60 minutes of conversation, which is carried out between a candidate and a trained interviewer. ASL interviews are conducted either through videophone or in-person and recorded for raters.

The rater then evaluates a candidate's over performance in communicative competency including fluency, vocabulary, grammar, comprehension, etc. Then, the candidate is given an overall score, ranging from 0 (the lowest) to 5 (the highest proficiency).

According to the Sign Language Institute Canada under the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf, the following language proficiency levels in ASL are: [source]:

Level 0: Unable to function in the language.
Level 1: Able to satisfy routine travel needs and minimum courtesy requirements.
Level 2: Able to satisfy routine social demands and limited work requirements.
Level 3: Able to sign ASL with sufficient structural accuracy and vocabulary to participate effectively in most formal and informal conversations pertaining to practical, social, and professional needs.
Level 4: Able to use the language fluently and accurately on all levels pertaining to professional needs.
Level 5: Language proficiency equivalent to that of a sophisticated native signer.

The video samples below give you some idea of what level 5 is like.

Above, the video "Deaf Joke: Deaf King Kong" by Jay Harris demonstrates a general idea of what a level 5 (the native level) might be like.

Another example for the level 5 is the narrator in the video Vital Signs.

Now for the level 0 if you're wondering. Here it is below:

ASL proficiency level zero

Ha, ha!

Resources: ASL proficiency programs.

Related posts: How long does it take to learn sign language?

These are some ASL lessons, tutorials, and tips that ASL students and language enthusiasts can explore and learn some ASL on their own relaxing pace.

Seeking some challenges? Try some stories, fables, and others in ASL storytelling and poetry. Study a complex system of subtle eye gazes, role-shifting, classifiers, sentence structures, and other linguistic features as well as poetics.