With the cooperation of the New York State Education Department in 2015, LaGuardia Community College reached out to CASAS to pilot the National External Diploma Program (NEDP) within their Program for Deaf Adults (PDA). The PDA at LaGuardia is the largest, most comprehensive post-secondary program for deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the New York area. The purpose of the pilot project is to evaluate the flexibility and success of the NEDP performance assessment model with this clientele. We are happy to share the highlights below, which speaks to the successful start of this pilot project.
Meet Pamela Manzueta (seated left below) and Channel Arthur (seated right). Both are deaf, and both have dreams of becoming teachers of deaf children. After years of struggling to pass New York State exams in history and global studies, and coming very close to passing the GED, both are now fully immersed in the Generalized Assessment phase of the NEDP at LaGuardia Community College and making great strides. Pamela “can taste that diploma” and Channel reminds herself each day to “strive for success.”
Our NEDP team, as we like to call ourselves, is comprised of three assessors/advisors and two tutors who are all fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). One assessor/advisor, Pacts Cartagna, (standing at the far left) is deaf, himself, and another assessor/advisor, Liz Milana, (standing second from the right) is a staff sign language interpreter.
The biggest challenge thus far? Making the voiced interpretation of the clients’ longer oral responses as seamless as possible during the IOC. We have devised a procedure whereby clients are videotaped signing their responses and then are asked to watch their presentation to “sign off” on it. Once the client is satisfied with her signed rendition, Liz voice-interprets the client’s signing on the video into the NEDP recorder. To complete the process, Liz plays back her voiced interpretation and sign-interprets it so that the client can approve her answer before Liz submits it.
Are you still with us? We are very fortunate to have received start-up funds for the NEDP from the City University of New York (CUNY) through a Workforce Development Initiative (WDI) grant written by Dr. Sue Livingston (standing in the middle) which has helped support our assessment work as well as program tutors Jenna Gorman (standing second from the left) and Yakov Shifrin (standing at the far right).
Next up . . . Pamela and Channel in their caps and gowns. Stay tuned.