The Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) is a test that evaluates the skills of a sign language interpreter in the classroom. It was developed and is administered by the Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska aka Boys Town. It’s important because the results are acknowledged by law in many states.
The exam is a performance exam. There is a written exam, known as the EIPA Written which is not as well-known or as popular as the performance. EIPA in this post refers only to the Performance exam. The EIPA takes about 2 hours. Before starting, the interpreter gets to choose from 1 of 6 different tests: 3 language modes (ASL, PSE or MCE) over 2 age groups (elementary school or secondary school). (There is also a Cued speech option). The the candidate interprets a video of three scenarios in which children answer questions in the selected mode.
There is a limited number of places that you can take the performance EIPA. Alaska has several but Connecticut has none. There’s even a smaller list of places to take the EIPA written. It’s probably because of few state laws around education interpreting in those areas.
The cities that offer the performance EIPA and are within a few hours of ASLI’s main service areas:
New York, NY at LaGuardia Community College
Union County College, New Jersey
DHCC in Swarthmore, PA
The EIPA is great because you do get actual feedback on your performance, not just a score. But a score you get between one and five in tenths of a point. So, you may get a 4.2 or a 3.8. Most states that require the EIPA set 3.5 as the minimum, but a few use 4.0 or 3.0.
The EIPA and Boys Town is completely different exam process and organization from the NIC and RID. It even has a separate code of ethics. There is a slight cross-over in that RID at one point (between 2006 and 2016) you could apply for a special RID certification if you had a 4.0 or higher on the EIPA. That no longer is true.
The EIPA is completely separate from any other screening process conducted by ASLI or the NYC Department of Education.
The EIPA is a strong indicator of an interpreter’s ability to work well in classroom settings, but is not the only measure. ASLI is working with some local organizations and Boys Town to get local exam sites established in New York.
For even more information on the EIPA, visit https://www.classroominterpreting.org.