American Sign Language


American Sign Language, commonly abbreviated as ASL, is one of the newest language programs in WLC. We teach courses from beginner through advanced, and we also offer courses in culture and independent study. Our students love our program, and our classes fill up quickly each semester. Check out the video below to see for yourself.


Just like spoken languages, this visual language has a phonology, morphology, and a standardized syntactic construction. Professionals fluent in ASL are needed in virtually every field. Learning ASL and gaining fluency in it provides you greater breadth in working with a diverse population in the United States. But just in case you are looking for an international experience, do not fear. Fluency in ASL will allow you to communicate with deaf people in Canada, France, many countries in Africa, Jamaica, Philippines, Guam, and many other places where the root language for deaf citizens is ASL. There is also a great need for teachers who specialize in education for the deaf as well as interpreters who facilitate communication in all walks of life.


Check out our full list of courses we offer on the ISU Course Catalog, and see this semester’s courses on the ISU Schedule of Classes.

If you already have exposure to or some proficiency in American Sign Language, please contact an ASL faculty member to take the ASL Placement Screening. The ASL Placement Screening is an assessment tool to determine your proficiency and skills in ASL and place you in the right course for you. This screening is based on Signing Naturally, the curriculum used by the ASL Faculty at Iowa State University. Please arrange this with an ASL faculty member, whom you can contact via email. You will be assessed on the following:

  • ASL grammar, including but not limited to: sentence types, grammatical categories, and discourse functions
  • Range and proper use of ASL vocabulary
  • Clarity of sign formation that includes the 5 Parameters (hand shape, location, movement, facial expression, and palm orientation)
  • Range of fluency in use of ASL
  • Comprehension of conversation in ASL



The student learning outcomes linked below are based on the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century (National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project). This page outlines the standards of a collaborative effort of nine national foreign language organizations. These outcomes establish a context that defines the central role of foreign language in the learning of every student. The standards, as well as our program outcomes and individual course objectives, suggest a paradigm shift in foreign language education that focuses on students’ ability to use the language in authentic situations.

ASL Outcomes