Educational Sign Skills Evaluation

What is the E.S.S.E?

The Educational Sign Skills Evaluation (ESSE) was developed to provide a means of identifying the dominant signing style of an individual and to provide meaningful, helpful feedback on areas of strength and areas in need of improvement.  It provides an overall expressive skills rating as well as information on the type, level, and degree of understanding demonstrated receptively for both English-related signing and signing in American Sign Language. 

The E.S.S.E. consists of three different tests:

ESSE:R  (receptive)

ESSE:I   (interpreting)

ESSE:T  (teacher)

Time Investment

 The time needed is approximately two hours for the ESSE:R (group administration), and approximately 1/2 to 3/4 hour for the ESSE:I or ESSE:T (individual administration). 

Trainings for the ESSE


This workshop will review and discuss the expressive and receptive components involved with the ESSE a state approved test for K-12 educational interpreters.  Hands-on activities using classroom scenarios and/or materials will provide participants an opportunity to self-assess their knowledge of the necessary sign vocabulary associated with various classroom subjects.  Interpreting speed and fluency will be addressed through the use of timed audio materials. Small group activities will provide receptive and/or sign-to-voice practice.  In conclusion a “mock” receptive evaluation will be administered followed by a discussion of how the scoring is done.


ESSE Full Evaluation 

$350  (ESSE-I plus ESSE-R)

Expressive Evaluation Only 

$250  (ESSE-Interpreter or Teacher)

Receptive Evaluation Only 

$100  (ESSE-R)         

Special Arrangements

 School districts that have large numbers of interpreters in their program can make arrangements for on site evaluations by contacting the SEE Center. Travel costs will be needed for the person or persons who would be administering the evaluations.   

ESSE Results

Individuals can expect to receive an extensive detailed 8 to 10 page report in the mail in approximately 90 days. A SEE Center Certificate will also be issued which indicates when the Evaluation was taken and the Evaluation Results. 


ESSE Training Workshops are scheduled on selected Saturdays from 9:00 am - 4:30 pm (6 hours)



Fine Tune Your Interpreting Skills

This in-person Workshop includes a discussion of the ESSE rubric and has  activities designed to develop and enhance your sign vocabulary, fingerspelling, and overall interpreting skills.

Upcoming Workshops

Fine Tune Your Interpreting Skills

Irvine, CA

Summer 2018 TBD



Cost $60 - Early Registration  (When Register 7+ days before event)

Cost $75 - When Register <7 days before event)

Interested applicants can Subscribe to the SEE Center Email List on the Home page.  We will then automatically notify you via email when we schedule a new ESSE Training Workshop.  Applicants can then Register for the date and location they want to attend.  

Register HERE (for scheduled dates)

ESSE Process Webinar

Learn about the ESSE in the comfort of your own home.   This 60-minute ONLINE interactive session will explain the process of the ESSE and what to expect the day of the assessment.

Topics include:

- Set-up and scoring procedures for the receptive portion.

- Discussion of the Evaluation form which explains the individual components that are rated by the evaluation panel. 

Webinars are offered via the free ZOOM application.  You will need Internet access and a computer with a webcam.  

Please Download the free ZOOM app and run the free audio & visual test before registering for a webinar to ensure you will get the maximum benefit from this interactive webinar.  Check it out!  



Interested applicants can Subscribe to the SEE Center Email List on the Home page.  

We will then notify you via email when new ESSE Process Webinars are scheduled.  

Applicants can then Register 

for the date they want to attend. 

Sat. 8:30-9:30 AM PST

Cost $20 - Early Registration 

(When Register 7+ days before event)

Cost $25 - If Register <7 days before event)

Register HERE (for scheduled dates)

Zoom Instructions (docx)


ESSE Evaluations


ESSE assessments are scheduled throughout each year, usually in Irvine (Southern CA) and occasionally in Merced CA (Northern & Central CA). 

They may also be given in Wichita KS or Omaha NE by appointment only.

Schools Districts can also request assessments for 10 or more interpreters, and negotiate special dates with the SEE Center. 

We ask interested applicants to  Subscribe to the SEE Center Email List on the Home page.    We will then automatically notify you via email when we schedule a new ESSE Evaluation.  Applicants can then Register for the date and location they want to attend. 

The Evaluations are typically held at local schools and last from 9am until 4:30pm.  The exact locations and scheduled times are sent to the Registered applicants the week of the assessment.

Subscibe  (Add to monthly Email list)

See below to Register for an Upcoming Assessment.

Irvine, CA

Next Eval TBD

Probably in late August

Merced, CA

Winter 2018 (TBD)

Register HERE


Fall 2018 (TBD)

Register HERE

ESSE Registration

Click HERE to register for testing

Click HERE to register for training

Evaluation Results Schedule

Wichita, KS

          Test date  3/10/18        

                     Results Mailed                      


Irvine, CA

Test date  2/3/17 

Results Mailed


Merced, CA

Test Date  3/3/18

                      Results Mailed                      


Do You Need A Duplicate ESSE Certificate?


More about the ESSE

What is the ESSE?


The ESSE:I consists of videotaped samples of actual classroom teachers and an educational interpreter is asked to interpret as s/he would to students. The interpreter is given a choice of elementary school, middle school, or high school classes. Once the school level is established, a warm-up tape is shown of similar classes. At the end of the warm-up tape thirty seconds of each of the actual classroom teachers that will be interpreted will be shown. Therefore, the individual will know what subjects they will be interpreting and have a brief exposure to the teachers style. The individual can warm up until s/he feels they are ready to be videotaped. The interpreter is videotaped while interpreting three classes, in different subject areas and with different teachers. Each session is approximately 5 minutes in length. This videotape of the interpreter is viewed by a trained panel of five members (consisting of both hearing and deaf) familiar with a variety of signing styles and with education of the K-12 levels. Each of the five panelists completes a rating form with ratings from 1 (low) to 5 (high) for five separate areas: signs, fingerspelling, expressiveness, speechreading and an overall rating. In addition, checklists provide specific information on a number of components in each area and on technical factors such as dress, grooming, indicating speakers, eye contact, etc. The ratings of the five panelists are combined for an average rating in each of the five areas plus the receptive score of the dominant style of the individual. Also included are the pooled panelists comments and feedback on each component.


The ESSE:T is designed for teachers, aides, or others wishing information on their expressive signing skills when signing for themselves. A 60-word screening test establishes the vocabulary level at basic, intermediate or advanced levels. The individual is then presented with 20 to 25 test sentences constructed with vocabulary at that level or below and including specific visual features such as negation, question marking, directionality, or placement. These sentences are presented on a transparency, and the individual is videotaped while signing them.  The individual is then given a choice of topics appropriate to the school level at which s/he works, time to organize ideas, and then an impromptu presentation on that topic is taped for approximately three minutes. This videotaped sample of signing skills is then rated by the trained panel of five members (which consists of both hearing and deaf), similar to the rating for interpreters described above. In this way, both a vocabulary sample and a more free-flowing, normal signing sample are obtained.