The American Sign Language (ASL) Test has three subtests. The subtests can be broken down as follows:
Literary and Cultural Texts and Traditions – 10 multiple-choice questions and 1 constructed-response question
Cultural Analysis and Comparisons – 20 multiple-choice questions and 1 constructed-response question
General Linguistics – 10 multiple-choice questions
Linguistics of the Target Language — American Sign Language (Language Structures; Contrastive Analysis; Sociolinguistics and Pragmatics) – 20 multiple-choice questions and 2 constructed-response questions
Linguistics of the Target Language — American Sign Language (Error Analysis) – 1 constructed-response question
Language and Communication: Receptive Comprehension – 18 multiple-choice questions and 1 constructed-response question
Language and Communication: Expressive Production – 2 constructed-response question
The first ASL subtest covers major movements, genres, and writers who work with ASL. This includes information on the history of ASL and its role in how deaf culture is perceived by other societies. The candidate must analyze several ASL-related works and demonstrate an ability to interpret ASL to written English. The test will also cover information concerning the development of deaf culture and how it relates to the rest of the world. There will be questions dealing with learning and perception and how becoming deaf at different ages impacts those processes.
The second ASL subtest focuses on linguistics and the study of language. The candidate must show an understanding of syntax, grammar, and the situational variations. Additionally, the candidate must understand how and why languages change. The test covers knowledge of how words are used to convey multiple meanings, and how different groups of people can interpret words differently. The next section examines the candidate’s understanding of how the body is used in sign language, beyond the formation of finger signs. This covers knowledge of how to sign with emphasis, inflection, and development of new signs to describe new situations. Finally the candidate must demonstrate the ability to recognize and correct errors in the use of ASL.
The third subtest examines the test taker’s comprehension of conversations in ASL, the ability to respond to questions, and the ability to ask questions. The person must be able to make deductions based on information received in ASL and be able to use similes, metaphors, irony, and sarcasm. The candidate must also be able to analyze the mood, and subtle messages conveyed in ASL conversation.
CSET American Sign Language Test Practice Questions
1. For a person to be accepted in the American Deaf culture, it is important to be:
A) Effortless ASL
B) Enrolled in a deaf school
C) Friends with people also fluent in ASL
D) Profoundly deaf
2. Which of the following actions did President Abraham Lincoln do to accommodate people who were hard of hearing and deaf?
A) Employed a sign language interpreter
B) Allowed hard of hearing and deaf soldiers to serve in the armed forces
C) Signed the charter for Gallaudet University
D) Had a profoundly deaf employee during his presidency
3. Which of the following characteristics is associated with deaf culture?
A) Particular food choices
B) Particular attire
C) Particular code of ethics
D) Particular social customs
4. How is the majority of deaf culture (such as language, values and customs) passed from one person to another?
A) Parent to child
B) Peer to peer
C) Child to parent
D) Deaf culture is not usually passed on.
5. All of the following are true about Louis Laurent Marie Clerc EXCEPT:
A) He had no education during the early years of his life.
B) Gallaudet persuaded Clerc to come to America and open a school for the deaf.
C) What we now know as ASL was strongly influenced by Clerc, in that around 2/3 of ASL signs have French origins.
D) Clerc was able to speak clearly.
CSET American Sign Language Test Answers
1. Answer: A
Becoming fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) is essential to comprehending the American Deaf culture. Lack of fluency limits a person’s ability to be involved in the deaf community.
2. Answer: C
President Abraham Lincoln signed the charter for Gallaudet University in 1864. The school’s founding was an Act of Congress.
3. Answer: D
In deaf culture, social customs differ in terms of what is suitable and what is unsuitable in public. Some examples of these customs include more touching, maintaining steady eye contact, and letting someone know if one is leaving the room (even for just a few minutes). Answers A, B, and C describe differences in ethnic cultures, but they do not necessarily apply to the deaf culture.
4. Answer: B
The majority of deaf people were not born to deaf parents, so the parents do not normally know how to teach deaf culture to the child. Most learn about it from their peers – other deaf children and adults.
5. Answer: D
During a lesson in pronunciation, Clerc’s teacher hit him very hard under the chin. As a result, Clerc bit down hard on his own tongue. Afterwards, he vowed to never learn to speak. Answer A is true in that Clerc lost his hearing in an accident when he was around 1, and he had no education or real means of communication for the next 11 years. At age 12, he began school and excelled at it. Answer B is true. Gallaudet was in France looking at the schools for the deaf when he became familiar with Clerc and asked for his help in creating an American deaf school. Answer C is true in that although Clerc did know some English, he used French signs in his teaching. These were added to and combined with other signs to form the ASL we know today.