The SignMET project aims to provide a new approach to sign language (SL) assessment by developing or adapting from other European sign languages, adequate methodologies and tools for direct and indirect observation. This will allow to evaluate sign language abilities and use in bimodal bilingual deaf children. Materials and tools will be provided to assess Italian SL (LIS), Swiss German SL (DSGS), French SL (LSF) and Catalan SL (LSC).
The specific objectives of the SignMET project are:
1) define methodologies to study sign language acquisition and mastering processes in deaf children taking into account highly specific linguistic factors which also have been poorly or not at all explored in previous studies;
2) develop and/or adapt from other SLs adequate direct and indirect tools to evaluate SL comprehension and production skills in deaf children (4-11 years of age);
3) evaluate children’s linguistic skills, taking into account bimodal bilingualism;
4) improve teachers and teaching assistants’ skills, allowing them to verify the child’s linguistic competencies and to elaborate appropriate programs of study using sign language;
5) implement a multilingual SL platform in each SL involved in the project to host tests and materials;
6) disseminate new tools and methodologies to evaluate sign language in deaf children and to support bilingual bimodal education.
The SignMET project will change the way in which SL skills are evaluated, moving from an informal descriptive observation of deaf children SL skills, to proper formal assessment. This will be reached by using unified evaluation tools and methodologies, developed taking into account the specific properties of the different European SLs included in the project.
The SignMET project focuses on linguistic skills, access to language learning resources and development of assessing materials. Our objectives are related to support deaf children’s basic skills, improving the quality and efficiency of education system in the countries involved. Furthermore, we aim to provide grounds, descriptions and tools that could be shared, adapted, replicated and transferred at European level.
The SL tests developed though the collaborative project will be accessible across SLs and manageable for the practitioners. All tests will be hosted on an existing Web-based SL test platform adapted to all SLs involved in the project: Catalan Sign Language, French Sign Language, Italian Sign Language and German Swiss Sign Language. These tools will be invaluable for persons working with signing children in bimodal bilingual European school programs as well as within speech therapy situations, as they will allow teachers and the different professionals involved to verify the child’s linguistic competencies and to elaborate appropriate strategies and educational programs.