Department of Communication, Journalism, and Public Relations

Wilson Hall, Room 316
371 Wilson Boulevard
Rochester, MI 48309-4486
(location map)
(248) 370-4120

General Department Questions:
Debra Koehler

Two adults speaking in American Sign Language with a cloudy sky in the background.

ASL Advanced Placement Assessment Procedures

While students with limited to no experience in American Sign Language (ASL) can enroll directly in COM 1500: Introduction to American Sign Language – students who are interested in placement into advanced ASL courses are required to schedule an ASL Placement Assessment. The placement interview has been calibrated specifically to align with the courses and the instruction offered at Oakland University, and is free.

To schedule an appointment for assessment, or ask questions about the ASL placement interview, email Communication Program Director and ASL Coordinator, Dr. Robert Sidelinger at sideling@oakland.edu.

Assessment guidelines
  • If you have no formal training in ASL, do not use ASL in daily life, or have completed one year of high school ASL, it is recommended that you register for COM 1500: Introduction to ASL.
  • If you have had two or more years of ASL training in high school – no college or university ASL courses – you will need to submit your transcripts and relevant course syllabi (if appropriate) before you can schedule your assessment.
  • If you have an extensive ASL background, and use ASL in daily life but have not taken any formal courses, please include details when you email the ASL coordinator to schedule your assessment.
Preparation for the exam

Your previous ASL coursework in high school, coupled with experience using the language, will be assessed. The interview is intended to measure your conversational abilities using ASL structure, grammar, and vocabulary. It is also important to note that placement assessment is not something that you can study for.

What to expect during the ASL assessment

The ASL placement assessment is a process to determine your ASL skills based on the Signing Naturally Curriculum and other ASL resources. The assessment, administered by the ASL coordinator, is a live, conversational dialogue in person, which takes approximately an hour. Students should be prepared to engage in an ongoing, natural exchange of thoughts and information.

What you will be assessed on
  • fluency in use of ASL.
  • comprehension abilities of conversation in ASL.
  • ASL grammar, including all linguistic elements such as sentence types, question types, depiction verbs (e.g. classifiers), and grammatical categories.
  • use of ASL vocabulary in discourses.
  • articulation: clarity of sign production; flow and cadence between signs.
  • sharing a narrative or storytelling in ASL.
Assessment results

You may receive immediate feedback from the ASL instructor after the interview. The instructor will also share feedback with the ASL coordinator, who will email you in approximately one week with the final outcome.

Registering for a class after the assessment

You will be allowed to register on the date and time assigned to you by the registrar. Placement assessments do not guarantee you a seat in a course or advanced registration opportunities. To register:

  • identify an open section(s) of the level of course for which you were assigned.
  • select one that fits into your schedule.
  • email the ASL coordinator to request permission to register.
  • be sure to include the course section number.

Provided the section has open seats, you will be granted permission to register.