For many deaf people, born with no hearing, British Sign Language (BSL) is their first language. They cannot use word sounds for learning so deaf people often have lower literacy than their hearing peers, putting them at a disadvantage when taking assessment tests in English. It is agreed that questions should be signed in BSL, but for tests on technical topics there are not enough expert sign language interpreters.
The Scottish Qualifications Authority has developed PC Passport, a successful IT qualification and wishes to provide support in BSL. Technology from the University of East Anglia enables a virtual human character to perform BSL signs coded in a signing gesture notation. A team of Deaf people, at the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, has notated a lexicon of signs, enabling a range of BSL phrases to be animated.
A number of PC Passport questions will be translated to BSL. In addition, a glossary of computing terms used in PC Passport will be created, explaining each term in BSL. Deaf candidates will take the tests both with and without BSL support. The results will be analysed carefully to identify the most effective techniques for providing support for deaf candidates.
To improve support for people with preference for British Sign Language during automated assessment of PC Passport tests.
To learn new principles for designing and delivering item-banked tests that are suitable for candidates preferring BSL.
To demonstrate the effectiveness of avatar signing to support TEL by rigorous evaluation of sign accuracy and acceptability to BSL signers.
To develop a significantly enlarged lexicon and improved tools to enable efficient creation of avatar signing content.