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OSEP Project

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, awarded a grant (H325K100234: 2010-2104) to the University of Northern Colorado focused on improving the services of educational interpreters in K-12 settings. One aspect of the award was designed to identify and describe patterns that exist within the work of educational interpreters. As a result, a multi-step, multi-year, national project was undertaken. The overarching goal of the investigation was to better understand the day-to-day practices of educational interpreters in order to better define and implement effective pre- and in-service curricula to prepare and support these service providers as highly qualified members of the educational team.

Young girl looking at an adult male in the classroom.

As of December 2014, this grant project is no longer active. This page will remain available as a resource.

The patterns of practice investigation and its findings were compiled and will be published as a book late summer 2018.

The investigation examined patterns of practice on a macro-level. Six reviews were completed:

  1. A literature review and annotated bibliography from 2000 to present;
  2. A review of state education agency requirements for employment and educational interpreter handbooks;
  3. An analysis of interpreter education curricula from programs preparing interpreters for the K-12 classroom setting;
  4. A national survey of educational interpreters;
  5. A national summit on educational interpreting; and
  6. A national EIPA data analysis.
  • 2013 Annotated Bibliography

    This project wanted to acknowledge and build on other’s work in exploring patterns of practice in educational interpreting, which was done through a literature review, resulting in an annotated bibliography. The literature review narrowed the scope of investigation to the past decade of publications. Research regarding educational interpreting at a macro-level was not readily available as the majority of articles were focused on a particular subset of the educational interpreter’s work. Nonetheless some important patterns were identified.

    2013 Annotated Bibliography Interpreting in the K-12 Setting

  • State Employment Requirements & Handbooks

    The study began with an examination of current state requirements for employment as an educational interpreter.  Information has been verified for 50 states and the District of Columbia. This comprehensive view of the landscape provides an administrative backdrop for the work interpreters do in an educational classroom.  There have been some notable shifts in the state standards since UNC did similar work in 2007.

    The next investigation in the process was to look for patterns in the official handbooks for educational interpreters published by the state education agencies.  Here the roles and responsibilities are delineated; there are often certification/licensure expectations and procedures noted; and other pertinent information, such as continued education requirements, is made available. As there are no national standards for educational interpreters, seeing the patterns at the state level can inform educational opportunities for this workforce. 

    Below is the U.S. states and the District of Columbia comprehensive profile of the states' license/regulation (if available) as of spring 2016, the URL available for further information, and a contact name.

  • Interpreter Education Curricula

    An analysis of interpreter training curricula was also undertaken to determine patterns in the preparation of educational interpreters. Two- and four-year programs were considered in order to provide a representative sampling of educational patterns. For the purpose of this analysis, several curricular areas were considered: a) type and title of the degree, b) foundations in language and culture, c) foundations in interpreting skills, d) interpreting skills development, e) professional ethic courses, f) educational interpreting emphasis sequence and g) the internship expectations.

    The patterns are summarized in Patterns of Educational Interpreting: An OSEP Funded Project; a presentation given at the 2012 Conference of Interpreter Trainers.

  • National Survey of Educational Interpreters

    To uncover patterns of practice from the lens of the practitioner, a national survey of educational interpreters working throughout the United States was undertaken. Multiple avenues were used to solicit input from a broad range of interpreters who work in education about the day-to-day experiences of the interpreter. 

    Eight specific categories were addressed in the survey:

    1. Demographics,
    2. Interpreter background,
    3. Professional development,
    4. K-12 interpreter requirements,
    5. Roles and responsibilities,
    6. Salary and benefits,
    7. Student demographics, and
    8. Working conditions.

    The findings of the national survey are published in the 2014 CIT Conference Proceedings.

    Johnson, L., Brown, S., Taylor, M., & Austin, N. (2014).  Patterns of practice: Current investigation
    in educational interpreting.  In D. Hunt & S. Hafer (Eds). 2014 CIT conference proceedings, Our roots: The essence of our future (pp. 63-72). Portland, OR: CIT Publications.

  • National Summit on Educational Interpreting

    The purpose of the National Summit on Educational Interpreting was to solicit confirmatory data, rather than exploratory data, related to the day-to-day work of the educational interpreter. The summit brought together K-12 interpreters, one representative from each state, who provided validation of the patterns of working and interpreting in K-12 settings identified in three data sources:

    1. National Survey of Educational Interpreters results;
    2. Skills and knowledge sets identified from the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment data analysis; and
    3. K-12 state handbooks and standards found on state education agency websites.

    The Summit was to further clarify and advance the understanding of the day-to-day work of interpreters in K-12 settings.

    The data gathered during the national summit is published in the 2014 CIT Conference Proceedings.

    Johnson, L., Brown, S., Taylor, M., & Austin, N. (2014).  Patterns of practice: Current investigation
    in educational interpreting.  In D. Hunt & S. Hafer (Eds). 2014 CIT conference proceedings, Our roots: The essence of our future (pp. 63-72). Portland, OR: CIT Publications.

  • EIPA Data Analysis

    The Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) system is currently used throughout the United States as an evaluation tool for K-12 interpreting competencies. It is comprised of two assessments:

    1. A written knowledge exam (EIPA:WT), and
    2. An interpreter performance assessment (EIPA).

    This assessment system is administered through Boys Town National Research Hospital, EIPA Diagnostic Center in Omaha, NE. The Center granted permission to analyze the existing EIPA database for the purpose of identifying patterns of practice – both knowledge and skills – as ascertained by this national evaluation system.

    The EIPA Data Analysis identifies which states use the EIPA, changes over time, scores by grade and language, predictors of EIPA scores, and provides conclusions. The EIPA Summary provides an overview of states that require or accept the EIPA.