What do you do during testing?

Week two is off to a good start.  The school is doing some testing which can be daunting for interpreters.

In Florida, I couldn’t find any specific information, like an Educational Interpreters Guidelines.  I did find this from the Ohio Guidelines for Educational Interpreters and I think this is how most districts approach testing with interpreters.

For the purposes of statewide testing, sign-language is considered a second language and should be treated the same as any other language from a translation standpoint. The intent of the phrase “sign verbatim” does not mean a word-to-word translation per se as this is not appropriate for any language translation. The expectation is that it should faithfully translate, to the greatest extent possible, all of the words on the test without changing or enhancing the meaning of the content, adding information, or explaining concepts unknown to the student.

In no case should accommodations be provided beyond regular classroom practice. For example, when the student‟s IEP stipulates interpretation, that generally includes interpreting such things as directions, prompts for the writing test, and test questions, including corresponding answer choices. Individual words should not be interpreted; instead, the interpreter may interpret the entire sentence in which that word occurs. Interpretation of reading passages is never permitted since the purpose of the test is to assess the student‟s ability to comprehend text. Interpretation of the reading passage requires the school to invalidate
the test.


This information from the EIPA Guildlines for Professional Conduct gives good insight as well.

Standardized testing is a critical aspect
of assessing the student’s achievement.
Because of this, the interpreter should have
preparation time to discuss test
administration with a professional
knowledgeable about students who are deaf
or hard of hearing and about the specific test.
There are some interpreting practices that
may invalidate test results or may overly
assist the student. On occasion, the
educational team may decide that a student
who is deaf or hard of hearing should have an
alternate method of testing. The educational
interpreter should be familiar with, and
competent to make the language used on a
test as accessible as possible to the deaf or
hard of hearing student.


It wouldn’t seem like this would be a tough interpreting gig but it can be.  Not adding bias takes concentration.  While it’s okay to set up concepts in sign it can not add or change the English word order. Yeah, that level of concentration can wear an interpreter out. Especially when their little faces are looking at you trying to understand.

Thank goodness that isn’t the bulk of our job.



2014-2015 I’m ready!

JSMAL_logoI’m prepared for tomorrow.  Have schedules printed out for the first day. I think they have changed over the weekend but I hope not much. Have my black shirts ready for another year.  I made it really easy on myself this year and have bought five of the same shirt.  The cadets (students) all have to wear uniforms this year so I am planning on my own uniform of sorts.

I’m really excited.  The Deaf/HH program at the school has grown this year.  We will have three interpreters to cover classes this year.  Monday is going to be a little chaotic because one of the interpreters just got hired and will be heading to the School Board building to fill out paperwork.  Thank goodness we knew ahead a time and will have a sub-interpreter come for a couple of days.

I’m sure Monday night I’ll be exhausted after trying to get used to little hands, that I’m not familiar with, signing at me. Ahh receptive skills…how you elude me.

To all the educational interpreters, good luck and enjoy the school year.  Remember to hydrate, stretch, and take care of yourselves.


Just a few more days….

I head back to work on Thursday.  We have two days of planning.  Hopefully the students schedules will be settled so I can go talk to teachers and get materials for classes.  Hmm..wonder if I’ll have a space to store materials.  Ah…all the uncertainties of the new year, exciting and scary at the same time.

I’m really going to work on being more patient with school politics.  I want change, but I know that it’s going to take time before Interpreters are taken serious in this district.  Right now we are “labeled” as office personal.  With the new license bills that are being presented, interpreters will have to college degrees or equivalent. Hopefully that will me more money, recognition that we need a work-space of our own in the school, and a planning period so we can prepare for classes we are interpreting.  I have to remember that these things take time….

I’ve had a wonderful summer working on my interpreting skills.  Silent Weekend and Summer Institute are amazing resources and I hope to expand my workshop attendance more this school year. I already signed up for one on September 13th!!