Examining the Construct of Proficiency in a University's American Sign Language (ASL) Program: A Mixed-Methods Study

Public Deposited
Resource Type
  • American Sign Language (ASL) has become increasingly popular as a second language option at universities and colleges in North America. While a growing number of hearing, adult learners are enrolling in ASL classes, this has not been paralleled (yet) by an equal development in ASL research. There has been insufficient investigation into what constitutes ASL proficiency development and how proficiency can be validly and reliably assessed for this group of learners. This mixed-methods study explores the ASL program at a Canadian university. It investigates the construct of proficiency from three angles: instructors' understanding and definitions of ASL proficiency; how student proficiency is determined through current assessment practices and; student responses to assessment practices. Results of this study suggest that in this context ASL proficiency is not clearly defined. Without a clear construct definition, what current ASL assessments are actually measuring is unknown, and consequently may not be providing valid results.

Thesis Degree Level
Thesis Degree Name
Thesis Degree Discipline
Rights Notes
  • Copyright © 2014 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 2014


In Collection: