Determining aspects of text difficulty for the Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT) Functional Assessment instrument
Papers in Language Testing and Assessment
Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
In this paper we describe our work in progress on the development of a set of criteria to predict text difficulty in Sign
Language of the Netherlands (NGT). These texts are used in a four year bachelor program, which is being brought in line with
the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (Council of Europe, 2001). Production and interaction proficiency
are assessed through the NGT Functional Assessment instrument, adapted from the Sign Language Proficiency Interview (Caccamise
& Samar, 2009). With this test we were able to determine that after one year of NGT-study students produce NGT at CEFR-level
A2, after two years they sign at level B1, and after four years they are proficient in NGT on CEFR-level B2. As a result of
that we were able to identify NGT texts that were matched to the level of students at certain stages in their studies with
a CEFR-level. These texts were then analysed for sign familiarity, morpheme-sign rate, use of space and use of non-manual
signals. All of these elements appear to be relevant for the determination of a good alignment between the difficulty of NGT
signed texts and the targeted CEFR level, although only the morpheme-sign rate appears to be a decisive indicator.
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