TASK12- EIPA Frequently Asked Questions

  • Would you please tell me about the EIPA?

    Since the passage of PL-94-142 in 1975 (reauthorized in 1990 and updated in 1997 as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA), the inclusion of deaf students in public school settings has increased markedly. Because of this, the demand for qualified educational interpreters has increased. As a result of updates in 2004, IDEA now stipulates that the educational interpreter is a related service provider and, as such, is considered a legally defined member of the Individual Education Program (IEP) team.

    A goal of federal mainstream initiatives is to provide deaf students access to advanced academic study and competition. Educational interpreters are typically the most consistent sign language models for deaf students in mainstreamed classrooms. They are the professionals who make access to instruction a reality. Given this key role, it is critical to ensure the highest level of competence in classroom interpretation. In response to requests for an assessment tool for educational interpreters, the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) was designed in 1993 and piloted in the state of Colorado. Today, approximately two-thirds of the states in the U.S. are using the EIPA to determine educational interpreter competencies.

    The EIPA is designed to evaluate the skills of interpreters working in educational settings with deaf children. It is recognized that this form of interpretation is unique and differs considerably from interpreting for deaf adults. The EIPA is designed to assess several aspects of the interpreter’s skills, including use of intonation (e.g., stress, phrasing and facial expression), spatial organization, and ability to convey the intended meaning (pragmatics). As a member of the educational team, the interpreter also is responsible for facilitating the deaf student’s language and academic development. Therefore, the EIPA evaluates the interpreter's ability to convey academic terms (vocabulary and concepts) that are essential for mastery of English literacy and educational content.

    The EIPA is viewed as an ecologically valid assessment of an educational interpreter’s skills. The EIPA's statistical consultant is Dr. Haggia Kupermintz. Dr. Kupermintz has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Stanford University and has conducted inter-rater reliability and reliability masures on the EIPA. According to Dr. Kupermintz, “The test is highly reliable, both in terms of agreement among teams of raters and in internal consistency of skills comprising each domain.”

    The EIPA has four major assessment areas:

    1. Intonation, Grammatical and Spatial Representation (used when signing)

    2. Ability to Read Child/Teen Sign Language

    3. Sign Vocabulary

    4. Pragmatic Representation/Overall Behaviors

    There are a total of 37 measures made during an EIPA evaluation.

  • What is the EIPA process and what are the components?

    You will be taking the EIPA, which will evaluate your ability to: a. expressively interpret classroom content and discourse, and b. receptively interpret child or teen sign language.

    Specially designed classroom and child-signing videotapes will be used as stimuli for your assessment. You will select either an Elementary EIPA Assessment or Secondary EIPA Assessment.

    When you have selected the appropriate grade level, you will then select the type of sign language interpreting you will use during your EIPA expressive (classroom) sample (ASL/PSE, PSE/ASL, MCE/PSE or MCE). The type of signing you use during this sample will also determine which child-signer you will view during the receptive component of the assessment.

    You will have a time scheduled for your EIPA assessment. Prior to your actual assessment, you will be given time for “warm-up.” During this warm-up period you will have a chance to preview child-signing videotapes as well as select the classroom stimuli you would like to use for your assessment. You will be asked to complete an EIPA confidentiality agreement and other paperwork.

  • What is the Elementary EIPA Assessment?

    Classroom/Expressive Sample You will have the option of choosing between two classroom videotapes (OPTION A or OPTION B) for your EIPA expressive assessment. To help guide your decision, you will be given the grade level and content area presented on each videotape.

    Each classroom videotape for the Elementary EIPA features four different educational settings. Each setting will last approximately 7 - 10 minutes. Thus, your expressive sample will take approximately 40 minutes to complete. On the classroom videotape you select for your expressive sample, you will see a “peek into the classroom.” This peek will give you the opportunity to see the instructors’ teaching style and pace. Following the peek, the narrator will inform you that you should begin interpreting.

    In addition, after selecting the videotape you will use for your evaluation, you will be given a specially-designed study guide to help you prepare for the content on the videotape. The videotape will clearly mark the transition between each content area.

    Child Signing/Receptive Sample

    You will also have the option of choosing between two child signers for your EIPA receptive assessment. To help guide your decision, you will preview the signing styles of both children. You will then select CHILD SIGNER OPTION A or CHILD SIGNER OPTION B. Remember, you will have the opportunity to select a child-signer using the sign language you currently use while interpreting (ASL/PSE, PSE/ASL, MCE/PSE, MCE). The receptive portion will take approximately 25 minutes to complete.

    You will decide the order in which you would like to be evaluated (i.e., child signing first, classroom content second, or vice-versa).

  • What is the Secondary EIPA Assessment?

    Classroom/Expressive Sample You will have the option of choosing between two classroom videotapes (OPTION A or OPTION B) for your EIPA expressive assessment. To help guide your decision, you will be given the grade level and content areas presented on each videotape.

    Each classroom videotape for the Secondary EIPA features three different educational settings. Each setting will last approximately 10-12 minutes. Thus, your expressive sample will take approximately 40 minutes to complete.

    After selecting the videotape you will use for evaluation, you will be given a specially-designed study guide to help you prepare for the content on the videotape. The videotape will clearly mark the transition between each content area.

    Child Signing/Receptive Sample

    You will also have the option of choosing between two teen signers for your EIPA receptive assessment. To help guide your decision, you will preview the signing style of both teenagers. You will then select TEEN SIGNER OPTION A or TEEN SIGNER OPTION B. Remember, you will have the opportunity to select a teen signer using the sign language you currently use while interpreting (ASL/PSE, PSE/ASL, MCE/PSE, MCE). The receptive portion will take approximately 25 minutes to complete.

    Again, you will decide the order in which you would like to be evaluated (i.e., child signing first, classroom content second, or vice-versa).

    The entire testing process will take approximately 2 hours. (This includes paperwork, warm-up, the expressive sample, and the receptive sample).

  • What is ASL, PSE and MCE?

    American Sign Language (ASL) is a language of signs separate from English. ASL has its own unique grammatical structure. ASL signs are those generally used by the Deaf community. Raters expect to see Non-manual markers, use of classifiers and space during the Interpretation.

    Pidgin Sign English (PSE) is using ASL signs in English word order. PSE can use ASL structure at times and the interpreter is not penalized by the rater for doing so. Raters expect to see non-manual markers, use of classifiers and space during the interpretation. English is not consistently mouthed, although key words may be mouthed. Markers are not used. PSE has also been called Contact Sign Language or Conceptually Accurate Signed English (CASE).

    Manually Coded English (MCE) is a category of sign systems that includes Signed English and Signing Exact English (SEE II). Raters expect to see consistent use of the morphological markers associated with the system used, whether Signed English or SEE II. Raters expect to see English being mouthed all the time while signing, with the exception of appropriate use of non-manual markers. The raters do expect to see the incorporation of some classifiers and use of the signing space to represent verb agreement, pronouns, to indicate locations of referents, cause and effect statements, etc.

  • What will the testing environment be like?

    Here are the steps you will follow in completing your EIPA sample:

    You will be scheduled with an EIPA evaluation time. This time will consist of a 35 minute warm-up opportunity as well as approximately one hour of actual assessment.

    Upon arrival at your testing site, you will be required to complete the confidentiality forms regarding the stimulus materials. All materials viewed, including warm-up materials, are strictly confidential.

    As outlined above, you will then select the stimulus materials based upon:

    1. Grade level (elementary or secondary)

    2. Child/Teen Signing Style (ASL/PSE, PSE/ASL, MCE/PSE, MCE)

    You will be given time to view child signing materials and study the “lesson plans” for your classroom videotape.

    You will then be videotaped interpreting both the classroom videotape and the child signing videotape.

  • Videotaping the Classroom/Expressive Sample

    When you enter the testing room, someone will be there to operate the equipment and to help you get positioned. You will only need to focus on the interpreting you will be doing.

    For the expressive sample, you will interpret the classroom videotape you have selected. You will face both the camera and the TV/VCR. This will allow you to see what the teacher is doing in the classroom and to have optimal sound from the videotape/DVD.

    PLEASE REMEMBER TO:

    Imagine that the camera is the deaf student.

    Maintain eye contact with the camera.

    Move around as little as possible in order to avoid moving outside of the camera’s recording range.

  • Videotaping the Child or Teen/Receptive Sample

    When you enter the testing room, someone will be there to operate the equipment and to help you get positioned. You will only need to focus on the interpreting you will be doing.

    For the receptive sample, you will interpret the child/teen videotape you have selected. You will face the TV/VCR. The camera will be positioned off to your side, focusing on both you and the TV. This is so that the evaluation team knows who is doing the receptive sample as well as where you are on the videotape as you interpret (see photo above).

    Please remember to speak as if you were interpreting for someone in a regular classroom.

  • Who will do my evaluation?

    Your EIPA video will be sent to the Educational Interpreter Diagnostic Center at Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, Nebraska. A three-member evaluation team, specifically trained in administering the EIPA, will rate your interpreting samples. At least one member of the team evaluating your videotape will be deaf. In addition, there is always one team member who is proficient in the language modality being assessed. Currently, EIPA evaluators have dual RID certification; have training in teaching interpretation, or both. Your EIPA evaluation is confidential.

  • What type of results will I receive?

    As previously mentioned, the EIPA has four major assessment areas:

    1. Sign Intonation, Grammatical and Spatial Representation

    2. Ability to Read Child/Teen Sign Language

    3. Sign Vocabulary

    4. Pragmatic Representation/Overall Behaviors

    The EIPA uses a 0 (no skills) to 5 (Advanced) Likert rating scale to indicate skill level. You will receive an overall rating level as well as specific ratings for each sub-skill under the major assessment areas indicated above. You will be able to determine, in a very specific manner, what areas need attention for professional development as well as those areas of competent performance.

    Specifically, evaluated interpreters will receive the EIPA evaluation report, highlighting strengths and areas targeted for professional development and a glossary of terms explaining each area evaluated.

    It is the goal of the EIPA authors and evaluators that educational interpreters not only receive information regarding over-all proficiency, but that they also receive information on how to continue their professional development.

    Test tapes are not returned to the candidate or the local test administrator (LTA).

    Further information on educational interpreting and the EIPA may be obtained at www.classroominterpreting.org. Specifically, interpreters should consult this site for specific information about assessment guidelines for the language forms (ASL, PSE, MCE).

  • Who created the EIPA?

    Brenda Schick, Ph.D. — Brenda Schick has a Ph.D. in Linguistics and Child Language Development from Purdue University. She has a Master's degree in Deaf Education from Lincoln.

    Dr. Schick's research focuses on the development of sign language skills in children, particularly those using ASL. She has conducted research on the relationship of language skills to cognitive skills, (specifically Theory of Mind) in deaf children who have deaf or hearing families as well as those in bilingual versus oral educational settings. She also has conducted and mentored research on educational interpreting, in terms of whether children learn best using direct communication or an interpretation (with Kim Brown Kurz) and in terms of what interpreters include and omit in their interpretations of classrooms (with Elizabeth Caldwell Langer). With Kevin Williams, she has published data on skill levels of working interpreters.

    Dr. Schick is the co-editor of an edited volume, published by Oxford University Press, that provides an overview of sign language development across various signed languages (with Marc Marschark and Pat Spencer). She is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. She has served as a school board president and board member for the Rocky Mountain Deaf School, a bilingual school for deaf children. She co-authored, with Mary Pat Moeller, Ph.D., a series of children's stories translated into ASL, titled the Read With Me series as well as a videotaped curriculum for hearing parents wanting to learn how to sign so they may communicate with their child, titled the Sign With Me series.

    Sample Publications:

    Schick, B., M. Marschark, & P. Spencer 2006. Advances in sign language development research. Oxford University Press.

    Schick, B. (2003). The development of American Sign Language and manually coded English systems. In M. Marschark & P. Spencer (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Deaf Studies, Language, and Education (pp. 219-231). New York:Oxford University Press.

    Schick, B. (2001). Interpreting for children: How it’s different. Odyssey, 2, 8-11.

    Schick, B., Williams, K. & L. Bolster (1999). Skill levels of educational interpreters. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education 4, 144-155.

    Kevin Williams, M.S., CI/CT — Kevin T. Williams holds his M.S. in Teaching Interpreting from Western Maryland College, Westminster, Maryland. He was Coordinator of the EIPA Diagnostic Center for Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, Nebraska from its inception through 2004. He currently is an independent consultant.

    Other past projects for Williams include serving as the producer for the Sign With Me parent sign language videotape curriculum and the Read With Me ASL storytelling series.

    Williams holds dual certification (C.I./C.T.) from the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and is the past-president of the Nebraska Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. He has served as a board member for the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. He has been a consultant to the Nebraska Department of Education. Williams is a member of the Conference of Interpreter Trainers as well as the Council of Exceptional Students, the Conference of American Instructors of the Deaf and the National Association of the Deaf. Williams has worked as a content expert for the new RID/NAD joint certification test, the National Interpreting Certificate (NIC).

  • Is there a grievance policy for the EIPA? If so, what is it?

    Yes, you can contact Boys Town National Research Hospital if you would like to file a grievance. Grievance Policy

  • How often is the EIPA available?

    Two testing sites and dates are scheduled in each participating state per calendar year.

  • What happens if I do not pass the EIPA?

    There is no limit to the number of times an interpreter can take the EIPA. However, it is recommended to wait at least one year before retaking the test.

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