Implicit Theory of Intelligence and American Sign Language Proficiency Efficacy as an Advising and Student Information Toolkit for Potential Interpreting Majors

Name of Award

Spring 2019 APDC Grant

Date Awarded



ASL and Interpreting

Project Description

Justin Small, Assistant Professor of American Sign Language and Interpreting, received $7,325 from the APDC Grant fund to conduct research that will set the stage for ongoing curriculum, student, and program assessment and enhancement. According to data collected in the ASL and Interpreting department, 14 students struggled with success in the ASL Interpreting major from 2015-2018 (mean of 3 students per graduating class). Students are highly motivated when entering the major, yet some are not able to respond to the rigor of interpreting as a field.

Students eventually graduate, typically with an ASL major. Informal assessments indicate the students may have chosen the major and advisors did not have enough information about the student’s compatibility for successfully meeting the requirements of the courses. It’s believed that the problems are a compound of underdeveloped ASL fluency and possible issues related to self-efficacy and their ascribed Implicit Theory of Intelligence (ITI) based on the Implicit Theory of Intelligence Scales (ITIS) (Dweck, 1999). Discovering students’ ITI and establishing proficiency benchmarks before entering the interpreting major will allow them and their advisors to develop the supports, timeline, and possible re-direction necessary for retention and successful completion of all courses in the major.

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