Australian Sign Language Receptive Skills Test

The  BSL Receptive Skills Test (Herman, Holmes, & Woll, 1999) was adapted for Australian Sign Language (Auslan) within the framework of a research project to assess the Auslan and English proficiency of deaf and hearing students in a bilingual program in Sydney, Australia. For the adaptation of the BSL receptive skills test to Auslan (Pilot Auslan Receptive Skills Test or PARST), the introduction, explanations,and the actual test were refilmed, while only two lexical signs (PENCIL and DOG) needed to be substituted (Johnston, 2004). This was possible due to the historical relationship of BSL and Auslan (Johnston, 1989, 2002; McKee & Kennedy, 2000; Woll, 1987). Both show similarities in the lexicon and grammar. The only problem with the translation/adaptation is that the BSL signs used for WRITE/PENCIL apparently show a noun-verb distinction. The usual Auslan signs for these two concepts have separate lexical signs for WRITE and PENCIL, so the Auslan version of the test cannot assess for this. Given there are only 40 test items, this fact may make the pilot Auslan test easier than the BSL test it is based on.

The Pilot Auslan Receptive Skills Test has been administered to a total of 45 deaf and hearing students, aged 4 to 11 in 2000 and 2002. The test was conducted by a deaf teacher of the school. Before the PARST started, a vocabulary check was conducted. The test was administered as described in the guidelines of the BSL test. Prior to the actual test starting, three practice items were conducted. The intention has only ever been to gauge if the pilot test can assist in evaluating Auslan skills in young children as part of an assessment of the bilingual program, not to produce a published test for wide spread use in Australia, or elsewhere. (T. Johnston, personal communication, December 13, 2000; Johnston, 2004).

The Auslan Receptive Skills Test is currently been used in the Auslan Assessment and Early Intervention Strategies Project at La Trode University, Australia (June 2011 to June 2012)- The  Auslan Assessment Tool has been published in spring 2014.



Summarized by Tobias Haug (2004).

For more information regarding this test, please contact   Adam Schembri at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia or visit the   project's website.