Assessing deaf children’s NZSL development
With the NZSL Board’s support, the Combined Board of Kelston Deaf Education Centre and van Asch Deaf Education Centre has rolled out the training course for the Assessing NZSL Development toolkit across Aotearoa during February 2018.
The NZSL Board allocated $41,166.66 towards a series of training for 39 Advisors on Deaf Children, First Signs facilitators, Speech-Language Therapists, NZSL Tutors and Teachers of the Deaf in the use and implementation of two NZSL assessment tools (Productive Skills Test and Receptive Skills Test).
For the first time in New Zealand’s Deaf Education, a national standardised assessment is available that accurately monitor the acquisition of NZSL by deaf and hard of hearing learners aged 3-11 years. The assessment will help determine if our learners are developing age appropriate NZSL. The implementation of the Assessing NZSL Development Toolkit for will contribute to the lifting of achievement levels for deaf and hard of hearing learners who use NZSL to access learning. The toolkit was adapted from the Assessing British Sign Language Development toolkit and took three years to develop. This work was supported by the NZSL Board with an $80,000 contract to develop the NZSL student assessment tool.
To support the roll out of Assessing New Zealand Sign Language Development toolkit, a training course was provided in two parts to education professionals who will use the resource.
The first training took place over three days and was presented at KDEC in Auckland and van Asch Deaf Education Centre in Christchurch. Six trainers from van Asch and Kelston were chosen to present the course: Krista Clifford, Darryl Alexander, Nirvana Graham, Pollyanna Ferguson, Sarah Cameron & Alice Bennett. They were supported by Dr Hilary Sutherland, one of the six original authors of the Assessing British Sign Language (BSL) Development toolkit. Dr Rachel McKee representing Victoria University of Wellington was also there to present a workshop focusing on the grammatical features of NZSL. At the end of the three days, participants are given homework tasks to complete and they are marked on their reliability to ascertain their suitability to be a registered toolkit user. This will ensure that when the assessment tool is used on a child, the assessment criteria used by all assessors will be consistent. The second part of the training is a follow-up day in May 2018.
The participants gave very positive feedback on the content and delivery of the course.
“Thanks for an awesome week. Great supportive people to work with on a momentous task! So honoured to be involved.”
“Methodical step by step training covering everything we needed to know. Just when I had a question - your following presentation would address it. What a fabby team of trainers we have. So lucky.”
“Be prepared for a challenge, the resource is excellent and will be a fantastic tool for Deaf education.”
The assessment tools will also provide the Combined Board and Deaf Education stakeholders with critical information on acquisition and use of NZSL by deaf and hard of hearing learners, which in turn will contribute to further policy development and strategic planning.
For more information, please contact Krista Clifford firstname.lastname@example.org
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