Classroom Interpreting

Educational Interpreter Performance Test ®

In the ClassroomThe Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) is a tool designed to evaluate the voice-to-sign and sign-to-voice interpreting skills of interpreters who work in the elementary and secondary school classroom setting.

The EIPA evaluates the ability to expressively interpret classroom content and discourse and the ability to receptively interpret student or teen sign language. It is not limited to any one sign language or system. EIPA is used to evaluate interpreters who work with students and teenagers who use predominately American Sign Language (ASL), Manually-Coded English (MCE) and Pidgin Sign English (PSE)  is used to evaluate interpreters who work with students and teenagers who use Cued Speech (CS).

Areas the EIPA Does and Does Not Evaluate

Some professional skills can only be assessed by administrators/educators in the school district. The EIPA does not assess the interpreter’s performance as a member of the professional team, how well the interpreter performs as a professional (i.e., follows professional guidelines), or how well the interpreter completes duties other than interpreting, such as tutoring and aiding.

History of EIPA

Before the early 1990s, the only available methods for evaluating the skills of interpreters were designed to assess skills in individuals who interpreted for adults, not students. Yet, there are many differences between interpreting for an adult and interpreting for a student in the school setting. For example, interpreting interaction in the classroom is different than interpreting a lecture by an adult or a conversation between two adults.

For years, experts have stressed that in order to provide deaf students access to education that was equal to that of their hearing classmates, it is essential for classroom interpreters to possess competent interpretation skills. School districts wanting to ensure that educational interpreters were qualified became frustrated with the evaluation options available.

In 1991, Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska responded by designing and piloting the EIPA. Today, over half of all states use EIPA to determine minimal competency requirements for educational interpreters. In these states the EIPA is used for certification or licensure purposes. Other states have used the EIPA for purposes of assessment and training.

For test locations, dates and online registration click here

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to questions ranging from cost and testing sites to who will rate the interpreter’s Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment Only are answered here.

Evaluation Process
Rating System
Retest Policy
Grievance Policy
Local Test Administrators / State Contacts

Procedure for Requesting Testing Accommodations:

  1. Please submit a written request stating the disability or impairment and how it will impact your performance on the test.
  2. Submit a copy of a government issued identification card. (A valid and current driver’s license or passport will suffice).
  3. Explain the accommodation(s) you are requesting.
  4. Submit formal documentation of a qualified disability from a qualified/licensed professional or testing professional who has conducted testing or provided treatment for you. The documentation must include the following:
    1. The letter must be on official letterhead.
    2. It must state the specific disability or diagnosis.
    3. Include a description of the disability and why accommodations are needed.
    4. Tests or protocol used to confirm diagnosis.
    5. Describe past accommodations prescribed for the disability.
    6. The professional must sign the letter and include their title and contact information.

In considering a request from an applicant for special accommodations, the EIPA Diagnostic Center is guided by a sense of fairness. Special accommodations are granted to give an approved candidate the opportunity to be examined in an equivalent manner with other candidates, but not to provide an advantage over other candidates.

EIPA Training DVD’s

Elementary PSE – EIPA Training DVD
Secondary PSE – EIPA Training DVD
Educational Interpret Classroom Practice DVD3: Elementary Level
Educational Interpret Classroom Practice DVD4: Secondary Level

About the Authors