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!

Related posts

Resources: ASL proficiency programs.

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