Frequently Asked Questions


Who can apply to use the tests?

Practitioners, researchers and educators can apply for permission to use the tests. Other deaf people or family members who wish to get access for assessment should speak to a teacher, clinician or another practitioner, or contact us about our DCAL assessment clinic (HYPERLINK).

How do I apply to use the tests?

You can apply to use a test on the test information pages. You must apply and get the approval confirmation email before buying tokens. You must apply and get approval for every test that you wish to use. If you do not have approval for a test you will not be able to use tokens for that test until approval is obtained. The application will ask you about your profession and how you plan to use the test. Applications will not be approved if a user is not using a test for its intended purpose or if they are planning to use it to test people outside the UK. You should only use the test with people who use British Sign Language or the British dialect of spoken English.

Can I use these tests with deaf people in my country?

Sign languages are not international. Each country will have its own sign language(s). The tests on this site are developed only for users of British Sign Language. You should be aware that the tests and norms are not valid for use with people who use a sign language other than BSL. Sign dialects will differ even for sign languages that are similar to BSL such as Auslan or New Zealand Sign Language. The tests should be adapted before use with non-British populations or test use should be subject to caveats stating that the norms are invalid. The speechreading tests on the portal use the Southern British dialect of spoken English and are normed on British people. Norms will not be valid for non-British users of spoken English. Information is available for people wishing to adapt or translate the tests into their own language. HYPERLINK

Can I try before I buy?

You can view test demos on this site before you make a purchase. It is not possible to use the test before purchasing.

Once my tokens have been used will I still be able to access my data?

Yes, you will be able to access your caseload, and download your data and reports.

Is it possible to share my caseload and data with a colleague working in the same organisation?

No, at the moment this is not possible. The caseload and data are assigned to a single email login.

Can I share tokens with a colleague?

Yes, the person purchasing the tokens can allocate a specific number of tokens to several different email addresses. It is also possible to transfer purchased tokens to someone else’s email address from your account if you contact us. That person will need to be registered user of the portal with permission to use the test that you wish to allocate their tokens to.

Can I switch tokens between different accounts or between different portal tests?

Yes, if you want to do this please contact us and we will do our best to help. Whoever uses the tokens will need to have permission to use the test already set up on their account.

How can I see how many tokens I have remaining?

This information is available in 'My Account'. When you 'run test' a dialog appears telling you how many tokens you are about to use.

If I cancel a test will my tokens be refunded?


How can I see a list of my subscriptions?

This information is available in 'My Account'.


Which browser should I use?

Chrome and Firefox will give you the best performance. The portal may also be used with Safari, Edge and Internet Explorer.

Can I use the keyboard instead of the mouse?

For some tasks, it may be easier to use the keyboard instead of the mouse to respond to trials. Use space to select the currently highlighted button. To move between buttons on the screen, use tab to select the next button and shift+tab to select the previous one. Note that using the keyboard in this way is controlled by the browser, and we have relatively little control over how it acts. Tabbing between elements will also include things like your active tabs and other parts of the browser that are not to do with the current web page.

Why are the tests taking a long time to load?

Check your upload speed.

Why are the tests not working?

Make sure that the portal website is not barred by your institution.

We recommend using Chrome or Firefox browser.

Make sure you are not using another email address. Portal tokens are only assigned to one email address. Sometimes people get confused when they have more than one portal account under different email addresses.

Your portal tokens will only be assigned to the portal account used to make purchases unless it is specified that you want the tokens assigned to another account and email address at purchase.

Why are the tests freezing?

We recommend using Chrome or Firefox browser. Tests may freeze if you are using another browser.


Is the DCAL Portal GDPR compliant?

Yes, the portal is fully encrypted and GDPR compliant.

Is my data safe on the DCAL Portal?

We take data protection very seriously. Read our privacy policy.

For Practitioners

Who is responsible for consent?

If the person is over 18, and not an NHS patient, they will be asked for their consent at the start of the first test.

If the person is under 18, and not an NHS patient, you will need a parent or guardian to fill out a consent form before they can complete tests on the portal.

Do I need repeated parental consent forms if repeating tests with a child at a later date?

No, once permission is given for tests on the DCAL portal, it does not need to be obtained for further tests.

How do I add a case to my caseload?

This is described on our support pages.

How do I start testing?

Check out our support pages!

How do I set up a case for testing?

This information can be found on our support pages.

For Researchers

What is the difference between practitioner and researcher use of the DCAL Portal?

Practitioners are able to run tests and generate reports. Researchers are able to build experiments using the portal tests. Practitioners are able to purchase tokens to use the tests. At the moment, tokens do not work with experiments. If you are a researcher, please contact us with your requirements.

Who is responsible for consent?

When the participant clicks 'Begin Test' they will be taken to a web-browser and shown the consent form before they start the test.

How can I get parental consent?

This is described on our support pages.

I am a researcher, how can I recruit participants to my experiment?

Once you have set up your experiment, you can generate an invitation to participants with a URL or do a mailshot from within the portal.

Can I conduct my experiment remotely and wholly online?

This depends on which test you are using, your participant group and the design of your study. It is certainly possible using some of our tests but not all.

Can I download video data?


Using tests for teaching

How could I use the tests in my teaching?

The portal tests may be useful for teaching university students and BSL students about BSL and BSL assessment.

You could get your students to complete the tests. The tests can be used in many different ways. For example:

If you wish to demonstrate the complexity of speechreading, get your students to try the Test of Adult Speechreading.

If you are teaching about sign language negation, you might like to get your students to try the BSL Negation test in the Aphasia Assessment Battery (AAB). Non-signers can try and guess the answers. If you are teaching about sign language iconicity you could get your students to try the BSL Noun Comprehension test in the AAB - if they are non-signers then they should see an iconicity effect in their results because visually-motivated signs will help them to guess the answers. Your students might find it interesting to experience just how hard lipreading is using our Tests of Speechreading.

How do I demonstrate the tests to students?

At present the best way is to apply to use the DCAL Portal as a researcher, you will then be able to set up an experiment and provide your students with a URL to view the tests. In future we hope to add functionality so that students can explore the portal for a short time without collecting data.

You can use a URL link to show the tests to student practitioners or research students.

International Use (outside UK)

Can I translate or adapt a DCAL test into another sign language?

Yes, if you are interested in adapting one of our tests, please email

If you need access to the tests to see if they are suitable for international translation - please ask in your enquiry.

Can I translate or adapt a DCAL speechreading test into another spoken language or another dialect of spoken English?

Yes, if you are interested in adapting one of our tests, please email

If you need access to the tests to see if they are suitable for international translation - please ask in your enquiry.

Adapting BSL Tests

We have worked with a number of international colleagues to date, advising on the adaptation process for our tests. We are particularly keen that any adaptation is not simply a translation of the existing BSL test, because every sign language is different. In order to develop a parallel assessment that is valid for a different sign language, particular care must be taken at each stage in the development process. Below is an outline of the recommended stages. We are happy to advise where needed.

Terms and Conditions Financial and legal basis of supply

Your adaptation of our test will be without our transferring any property or other rights to you and without giving any legal guarantees or promises about our test. In essence, the test will be made available to you to adapt “as-is” and for you to use “at your own risk” – i.e. in accordance with the principles of “standard” academic-to-academic material transfers and not as the supply of a commercial product.

Our expectations

In working with you on the adaptation of our tests, we request various things of you, including that:

  1. You do not make the test available, whether directly or indirectly, to any other person or organisation during the adaptation process - either the BSL or new versions.
  2. You use our test solely for the purpose of developing the adaptation.
  3. You acknowledge that the adaptation must undergo rigorous testing in order to ensure that it is a high-quality product. In addition, you acknowledge that the adaptation must be of a similar standard to the BSL CS.
  4. You use the adaptation solely for your own non-commercial research or clinical purposes. You do not make the adaptation available, whether directly or indirectly, to any other person or organisation without our prior written agreement.
  5. You give the authors of our test appropriate acknowledgement (i) in any publication or presentation you make in connection with the adaptation, and (ii) on any copy of the adaptation made.
  6. In addition, we would also like to request that you share with us any data generated from the adaptation – and again agree to our using this for our own non-commercial research purposes.

We will provide you with advice, feedback and support during the various stages of development. We will ask for a fee to cover the cost of this support. In return we will waive any requirement on you to pay a copyright fee. Proceeding with an adaptation into another sign language will allow a credit for amounts previously paid to view a test.

Here are the stages we recommend you follow in developing your adapted test.

Stage 1 – Consultation

  • Consultation with sign linguists and adult native signers to determine:
  • a) The suitability of the test items

    b) The presence of regional alternatives

    c) The suitability of a direct translation into the local sign language – do the sentences make sense in your sign language and do they test the same content?

    d) Whether the existing pictures are viable alternatives for local sign language users

    e) The need to replace any BSL structures not represented in the local sign language.

    Stage 2 – Adapting the test materials

  • Development of new test items identified in e) above. Note: you should develop twice as many new items as you hope to retain as they may not all be equally effective. These should be developed with and checked by native signers.
  • Replacement of any culturally inappropriate images.
  • Recording of a new test video by a suitable local native signer with experience of communicating with older signers.

  • Stage 3 – Piloting the adapted test

  • You should pilot the translated test (and the translated questionnaire) on a sample of native or early signers within the desired age range. There should be a minimum of 20 pilot participants.
  • Analysis of the pilot results will allow you to consider the effectiveness of new items you have developed and see how participants respond to all the test items.

  • Stage 4 – Developing norms

  • If you wish to have norms for your adapted test, these must be derived for your population, not from our BSL users. This will involve carrying out the test on large numbers of cognitively healthy signers distributed across your desired age range and calculating age norms, either standard scores if you have sufficient participants, or percentiles where numbers are smaller.

  • Stage 5 – Publications arising from adapted versions of the BSL Cognitive Screen

  • We request that we are acknowledged by name in the adapted test. We also ask to be included in research publications based on the adapted test.

  • Will the DCAL Portal be able to host international versions of our tests?

    No. DCAL cannot guarantee the quality of adaptations to our tests. There are strict ethical rules relating to data storage. For these reasons, we can only host the original UK tests. If your team would like to discuss hosting international versions you may be able to transfer them to Please contact us if you would like to discuss this.

    Will the DCAL Portal provide a link to my international adaptation?

    Yes. We are happy to link to your test website.