Frequently Asked Questions

Part I: General Questions About the ASL Honor Society

What is the American Sign Language Honor Society for?

The ASL Honor Society is an opportunity for ASL students to gain recognition for high academic achievement in their study of ASL. Recognition takes the form of honor cords, the Alice Cogswell Medal, or the Laurent Clerc Medal. In addition to high academic achievement, members of the ASLHS are required to perform community service in their local Deaf community (if available) which enhances ASL skills in addition to developing character and citizenship.

Why do I have to be a member of ASLTA to sponsor an ASL Honor Society chapter?

The ASL Honor Society is sponsored by the American Sign Language Teachers Association, the only national organization devoted to ASL teachers at all levels of instruction. ASLTA membership is one indication of an Honor Society sponsor's dedication to high quality ASL instruction.

Why are there different ASL Honor Society fees based on certification level?

The ASL Honor Society chapter fee structure is a benefit for those teachers who possess ASLTA certification and encourages non-certified ASL teachers to pursue the highest level of professional certification available.

What is the registration deadline to form a new chapter?

ASL Honor Society chapters may be formed at any time by submitting the registration information and fees.

Part II: Graduation-Related Questions

My high school only offers 2 years of ASL. Can second year students qualify for the Laurent Clerc Medal?

The Laurent Clerc Medal is available only to students who have studied ASL for a minimum of 3 years.

My high school only offers 2 years of ASL. Can second year students qualify for the Alice Cogswell Medal?

The Alice Cogswell Medal is available only to students who have studied ASL for a minimum of two years at a post-secondary institution, such as a community college or four-year university.

Can students get both the honor cords AND a medal at the same time?

No. The honor cords and medals are conferred based on the overall number of years ASL is studied at the time of graduation. If a high school student graduates after studying ASL for two years, then he / she has the right to wear honor cords. If a high school student graduates after studying ASL for three years, then he / she has the right to wear the Laurent Clerc Medal. If a college student graduates after studying ASL for two years, then he / she has the right to wear the Alice Cogswell Medal.

Students who complete two years of ASL studies at a community college and then transfer to a university and continue studying ASL may be eligible for both the Alice Cogswell and Laurent Clerc Medals.

Can I change or add to the graduation eligibility requirements?

Yes, you may. GPA minimums, community-service hours, and other requirements may be modified as long as the minimum ASL Honor Society eligibility requirements are maintained.

Why are both high school and college students eligible for the Laurent Clerc Medal?

Students who undertake a third (or fourth) year of advanced ASL study should be recognized for their persistance regardless of where the study occurs.

What recognition is there for students who studied ASL in high school and continued in college?

Students who begin their ASL study in high school and continue into college are eligible for the Alice Cogswell Medal (2 years), or the Laurent Clerc Medal (3+ years) depending on the length of study at the school from which they graduate.

How do I order graduation honor materials?

Step 1: Several weeks prior to the graduation honors deadline, determine which students meet the graduation honors criteria, including GPA and community service requirements.

Step 2: Submit your order and allow for 7-10 days for processing and shipping.

Graduation honors materials will be mailed to the ASL Honor Society sponsor requesting the materials. Order forms available here.

What happens if a student did not meet the graduation honors criteria when I sent in the request, but has now met the criteria?

All requests for graduation honors must be submitted by the deadline. The ASL Honor Society sponsor may wish to order a few extra graduation honors for cases like this. Extra graduation honors (cords & medals) cannot be returned for a refund.

What kind of community service projects satisfy ASLHS requirements?

Determining which community service projects satisfy requirements for graduation honors is left to the Sponsor's discretion.

My school offers 4 years of ASL instruction. Can I save the Laurent Clerc Medal for 4th year students only?

Yes, you may. Reserving the Laurent Clerc Medal for those students who pursue the most advanced ASL coursework is strongly encouraged.

I teach in a rural area. How can my students obtain the required Deaf community service?

There are many options for schools in areas with a small Deaf community. Sample ideas: Write advocacy letters in support of Deaf causes; visit Deaf senior citizens at a local retirement community; arrange showings of Deaf-related films at the local library, etc.

What scholarships are available from the ASL Honor Society?

The ASL Honor Society provides mini-grants to chapters for activities relating to ASL study. Funds may be used for ASL materials, to pay for guest lecturers, or for other purposes. For more information on the ASL Honor Society Scholarship Fund, click here.

I missed the graduation honors deadline. What do I do?

Unfortunately, graduation honors materials such as the honor cords and Alice Cogswell / Laurent Clerc Medals must be ordered with sufficient time prior to your graduation event. The Honor Society cannot and will not expedite last-minute orders.

Can graduation honors materials be returned for a refund?

No. Graduation honors materials (cords, medals) cannot be returned for a refund. Consider saving the items for the following year.

Graduation honors are expensive. Do I have to pay for them?

Graduation honors, including the honor cords, Alice Cogswell Medal, and Laurent Clerc Medal, must be purchased by the student or school. Costs are reasonable and provide high-quality recognition of ASL achievement. Some ideas to lower the costs include hosting fundraisers, Silent Dinners, silent auctions, approaching the foreign language department or school to defray costs, etc.

Can you process purchase orders?

Yes. Please refer to the order form for more information.

Can parents or other individuals purchase graduation honors materials?

No, the order must come only from the ASL Honor Society sponsor who is responsible to verify GPA and community service requirements.

How do I compute GPA?

Most schools include GPA on transcripts or report cards. You may wish to ask the student's counselor or school registrar for current GPA information. A sample GPA computation divides the total number of letter grade points by the total number of class credits:

Course Units Grade Grade Points
ASL1 4 x A- (3.67) = 14.68
ASL2 3 x B (3.0) = 9.0
23.68 / 7 = 3.38 GPA

The two major GPA scales are provided for you:

GPA Scale

Letter-Percent GPA Scale
A = 4.0
100 = 4.0 (A) 86 = 3.1 (B) 72 = 1.7 (C-)
A- = 3.67
99 = 4.0 (A) 85 = 3.0 (B) 71 = 1.6 (D+)
B+ = 3.33
98 = 4.0 (A) 84 = 2.9 (B-) 70 = 1.5 (D+)
B = 3.0
97 = 4.0 (A) 83 = 2.8 (B-) 69 = 1.4 (D+)
B- = 2.67
96 = 4.0 (A) 82 = 2.7 (B-) 68 = 1.3 (D)
C+ = 2.33
95 = 4.0 (A) 81 = 2.6 (B-) 67 = 1.2 (D)
C = 2.0
94 = 3.9 (A-) 80 = 2.5 (C+) 66 = 1.1 (D)
C- = 1.67

93 = 3.8 (A-) 79 = 2.4 (C+) 65 = 1.0 (D)
D+ = 1.33

92 = 3.7 (A-) 78 = 2.3 (C) 64 = .9 (D-)
D = 1.0

91 = 3.6 (B+) 77 = 2.2 (C) 63 = .8 (D-)
D- = .66

90 = 3.5 (B+) 76 = 2.1 (C) 62 = .7 (D-)
F = 0.0

89 = 3.4 (B+) 75 = 2.0 (C) < 62 = 0 (F)

88 = 3.3 (B) 74 = 1.9 (C-)

87 = 3.2 (B) 73 = 1.8 (C-)