ASL Screening & CPL Test

All students wishing to begin American Sign Language (ASL) courses at Towson University above the ASL I level must take the program's ASL screening. Please select the option appropriate for your situation (below).

For students who have taken the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI) exam

Students who have taken the ASLPI exam and earned a score of 2+ or higher will be placed into DFST 304 American Sign Language V.

For students with college credit on a transcript:

Email the Deaf Studies Program Coordinator () to schedule an appointment to be screened into the appropriate level of ASL class.

For students with no college credit on a transcript:

Students with knowledge of ASL from high school, continuing education, or family/community experience, but no college credits on a transcript, who want to begin the ASL sequence above the ASL 1 level must take an ASL screening for placement into a class.

Students who are taking the screening exam for the purposes of placement and who do not want college credit for the courses do not have to pay an examination fee.

Students who take the exam for purposes of receiving college credit must participate in the Credit for Prior Learning Program.   To have credits for DFST courses posted on their transcript, students must pay a $90 testing fee and $30 per unit posting fee (total: $180) per course.  Students will be billed for the credits after the screening.  Students are permitted a maximum of 15 credits of Credit for Prior Learning in the Deaf Studies major.

Please note: Students in the DFST, SPPA, and ELED majors MUST HAVE credit for at least one ASL course on their transcript in order to graduate. Students who want ASL 1 to fulfill their Core 5 must have ASL 1 on their transcript.  

What does the test cover?

The test includes vocabulary and grammar from the following:

ASL 1: Signing Naturally, level 1, units 1-6

ASL 2: Signing Naturally, level 1, units 7-12

ASL 3: Signing Naturally, level 2, units 13-17

ASL 4: Signing Naturally, level 3: units 18, 19, Birds of a Feather, For a Decent Living

ASL 5: Signing Naturally, level 3: units 20-24

What is the format of the test?

The screening for each level takes about 20 minutes, so students should schedule the appropriate amount of time. The exam will require the student to (a) watch a video of a Deaf person signing a series of questions in ASL and (b) respond in ASL with appropriate answers. Each question is signed twice. An evaluator will observe the responses and rate the student on comprehension, sign production, and non-manual grammatical aspects of ASL. The examiner will be looking for answers in complete and grammatically correct ASL responses (more than “yes” or “no”). Some of the items require creative answers – for example, if the signer asks “What is the price of tea in China?” and the student does not know, a creative response could be "Tea in China costs 700 yen per pound.”

What is “passing?”

Students in the Deaf Studies major must earn a grade of “B-” or better to complete the requirements for each ASL class. Because Towson University uses the “plus/minus” grading system, a grade of “B-” is 80%.

Students may schedule a short appointment with the DFST Program Coordinator to determine if ASL skill level appears to be appropriate to schedule a screening, and to obtain the required signature to register for the screening.