Degree Planning and Academic Review

Evaluator Report One


Student Request

Sign Language 4 cr.
Lib: N - Ad: N (GenEd:NONE)

Evaluator Recommendation

Deaf Culture and Communication 4 cr.
Lib: N - Ad: N (GenEd:NONE)

Evaluator Report

I reviewed the student’s learning description and materials submitted in her request and interviewed her by phone.

Ms. Sample has requested 4 introductory-level credits for her understanding of what she called Sign Language. I would retitle to Deaf Culture and Communication. In her essay, Ms. Sample described the kinds of training in which she has participated. In an hour-long interview, she accurately described the methods of communication used by deaf people, as well as the skills needed by hearing people in order to communicate.

Ms. Sample has worked for three years in this field and has participated in two in-service courses to develop basic sign language skills. She has gained information and an understanding of deaf people, their culture and communication systems used by hearing impaired people.

In our interview, I focused on Ms. Sample’s understanding of terminology, use of sign language terminology and differences between the various communication systems and their uses. Ms. Sample was able to articulate very clearly an understanding of various aspects of manual communication including definitions of sign systems and methods currently in use. (Simultaneous Communication, American Sign Language, Signed English, Fingerspelling, Pidgin Sign English). She also revealed a clear understanding of the philosophy of total communication. During our interview, I used a Basic Sign Language test to ascertain Ms. Sample’s knowledge as compared to that normally gained in basic in-service courses.

One of the most important aspects of “knowing” a language, especially sign language, is an understanding of the people who use this language as a primary mode of communication and their culture. Ms. Sample exhibited such understanding and was able to explain the various terms currently in use with regard to hearing loss and the hearing impaired population, such as congenital deafness, adventitious deafness, prelingual and postlingual deafness, hearing impaired, hard of hearing, deaf, residual hearing and speechreading. She also has good insight about what some people refer to as the “deaf subculture.”

I feel that Ms. Sample has mastered this cognitive information very well. I must state that we did not evaluate her skills in sign language itself but rather knowledge about sign language. I feel that through her work and her interaction with deaf students and deaf staff members, Ms. Sample has gained a very valuable understanding of communication with deaf people. This would be very difficult to acquire in a formal structured classroom situation. On the basis of my familiarity with credit gained for classroom instruction and of the richness of her experiential learning, I believe the award of 4 credits would be more than justified.