Linguistics Department

American Sign Language (ASL) Proficiency and Placement Testing

Students may request a proficiency and/or placement examination in ASL at the beginning of each semester. With regard to proficiency, credit can be gained for ASL 601D, ASL 610D, and ASL 311D, based on a student’s performance.


Placement Testing

Students who are not seeking credit for a degree program, but who wish to be assessed to determine which ASL course may be most appropriate, should contact and request a placement test. This test must be requested and taken before the first day of classes. The reason for this rule is that the ASL classes have a strict attendance policy (anyone who does not attend the first two days of classes will be dropped from the course), and decisions about placement need to be made before classes begin.


Proficiency Testing for Credit

The ASL Program follows a Departmental Credit-By-Examination (CBE) process, which is informed by the Student Testing Services guidelines.

If you want to gain credit for ASL courses that you could successfully pass (601D, 610D, and 311D), you need to start the process by visiting the Student Testing Services office ( and purchasing a form (see their website for fees). The form should then be brought to the Department of Linguistics (RLP 4.304) office.

After you bring the form to the Department of Linguistics, you will create a short (3 minute) video, in ASL, about yourself.  You will then upload that video to a UT Box folder (you will receive a link to that folder via email once you have brought your credit-by examination form to the UT Department of Linguistics, RLP 4.304).  The video will be viewed by our ASL faculty, and based on that review you will be given instructions for the second part of the assessment.

In order for you to prepare that video, you should plan to cover the following information

  • basic introduction, including your name, major, year in school
  • your background, including where you're from and how you learned ASL
  • any experience with the Deaf community, including volunteer activities, family affiliations, etc.
  • explain what extracurricular activities (or work, etc.) you’re involved with now
  • anything else you would like to share

When you create the video, ensure that the lighting is good (bright enough, but no light coming from behind you), that you’re signing is clear and centered within the camera frame, and that you are wearing a solid-colored shirt to reduce visual “noise”.

After you have completed and uploaded the video, send a message to the email address below and you will be contacted by an ASL faculty member to schedule the in-person portion of the Departmental credit-by-examination.


Testing periods and deadlines:

Examinations will occur during the first three full weeks of classes so that students will know which ASL course to register during the upcoming registration period later in the semester. Applications for testing can be submitted to the Department of Linguistics office until the 10th calendar day after classes begin. Testing will be scheduled during the first three weeks of the semester, and results will be made available to students by the second week in October.

Note: UT Student Testing Services also offers a test for credit in American Sign Language (see, although this test was designed to only evaluate skills that would be gained based on the current entry-level course (ASL 601D). If you wish to be tested on skills that are taught in ASL 610D and ASL 311D, you will need to complete the Departmental CBE process.


Feel free to contact us if you have any questions:

  • Department of Linguistics

    University of Texas at Austin
    305 E. 23rd Street STOP B5100
    Robert L. Patton Hall (RLP) 4.304
    Austin, TX 78712