What to Expect During the Test Session

Test Format

The TASC–ASL is conducted as an interview. There are no test books or written responses associated with this test. The interview is structured as a conversation between you and an interviewer and covers topics of general interest. The interviewer has a prepared set of questions and prompts for stimulating communication. Responding to these questions and prompts will require you to demonstrate five communication competencies, in American Sign Language, and use a range of signing levels. The interviewer will also ask follow-up questions to further the conversation or explore a response more fully. You, in turn, should feel free to ask the interviewer questions or make any comments appropriate to the conversation. If you do not understand a question/prompt or sign, it is acceptable to ask for clarification during the interview. The direction of the interview will, in part, be determined by your questions and responses.

The combination of the prepared set of questions and prompts, and the interviewer’s questioning strategies within the conversation that occurs, is designed to allow you to demonstrate your highest level of proficiency in American Sign Language within a natural and dynamic conversation. The combination provides the scorers, experts who will evaluate your performance, with information by which to assess your expressive and receptive signed communication proficiency.

The TASC–ASL interview is conducted solely in American Sign Language. This principle is followed because research and experience have shown that people generally demonstrate their best sign language communication skills when using sign language alone. Any voicing you do will not be used in scoring; scorers will evaluate your proficiency based only on your signed communication.

The Test Session

Although the test session is approximately 30–45 minutes in length, part of this time is for directions and completing forms. The actual test interview lasts approximately 20 minutes and is digitally recorded for scoring. You should wear a solid color that contrasts your skin tone. You should avoid wearing black, dark blue, red or white clothing as these colors blend in with the backdrop and may cause difficulty in scoring the recorded interview. Additionally, it is critically important for scoring that you present a clear view of your face during the interview session. Therefore, consider how you wear your hair this day, avoid wearing such accessories as scarves or hats, and minimize large jewelry around the face, neck, fingers, and wrists. Lastly, be aware of your sitting position throughout the interview as scorers must have full view of your signed communication responses on the digital recording.

Helpful Information

The following information about the test session and what you should expect to do during the test session may be helpful to you.

  • Relax. The interviewer will welcome you and make some brief comments at the beginning of the test session. The purpose of these comments is to allow you to become familiar and comfortable with the test setting and procedures. This may help you to relax and prepare for the actual test questions.
  • Follow directions. At the beginning of the test session and throughout the test, follow all directions carefully. If you do not understand something about the directions, do not hesitate to ask the interviewer before testing begins. Any questions asked prior to the interview do not impact your score.
  • Show what you can do. Your goal is to demonstrate as fully as possible how well you can communicate using American Sign Language. When answering each interview question or responding to interview prompts, sign
    until you think you have given a thorough response or until the interviewer
    stops you by asking another question.
  • Always try to respond as well and as clearly as you can. Remember that during the test, you must use American Sign Language, as this is the test for which you registered. During the test, you are not allowed to switch between signed systems. However, if you choose to switch between signed systems, the interviewer must continue to conduct the conversation in American Sign Language.
  • Sign naturally and appropriately for each communication competency. Sign in a manner appropriate to the context of each question or prompt. The interviewer will progress through the five communication competencies, and you must respond appropriately to each interview question or prompt using appropriate American Sign Language to demonstrate proficiency. Different situations will require you to respond differently.
  • Don’t worry about finding the “right” answer. Interview questions and prompts are intended for you to demonstrate your American Sign Language ability. This includes your fluency, your accuracy of grammar, and the extent of your vocabulary. Questions or prompts are not intended to test your knowledge of facts, ideas or events. There are no “right” or “wrong” answers.