Article Act (ESSA), which was enacted with the

Article 1: Development
of American Sign Language Guidelines for K-12 Academic Assessments

This article analyzes the supposition that test developers ability to
produce test content applicable to D/HH students directly correlates to the
degree in which students are successfully assessed.

Purpose or Intent

The intent of this
article was to review the Guidelines for Accessible Assessment Project (GAAP)
sought to develop evidence- and consensus-based guidelines for representing
test content in American Sign Language and researching the quantitative
research findings and lessons learned (Higgins, 2016).

Research Question(s) or Areas of Inquiry

This article analyzes the question of “is the effectiveness of the U.S. Federal Every Student Succeeds Act
(ESSA), which was enacted with the goal of eliminating achievement gaps and
providing all students, including deaf and hard-of-hearing (D/HH) with access
to equitable and high-quality instruction in grades 3–8” impacted by the
ability of test developers producing appropriately focused content.  

Hypothesis

The stated
hypothesis is that more than half of all D/HH students fail assessments due to
being assigned interpreters with inadequate skills to provide sufficient access
to academic content in the classroom that meets their unique learning needs
(Schick, Williams, & Kupermintz, 2006). This means that students assigned
to a less qualified interpreter will achieve lower assessments than students
assigned highly qualified interpreters.  

 

 

Quantitative Design

The quantitative
design for this article included computer-based assessments and other digital
media that enable the ASL test accommodations to be unaffected by human inconsistencies
that exist whenever an educator, sign interpreter, human reader, etc. translates
test materials. The result of those assessments was compared to students with human-based
interpreters.

Sample/Participants and Related Larger Population

            The study consisted
of a total of subjects from five states, participating in a cognitive lab
environment to explore the potential impact of different test content
representations.  The demographics of the
study included 16 elementary schools, 14 middle schools, and 16 high school
students.  A total of 279 students participated,
all of which were D/HH who normally utilize ASL support during assessments.

Quantitative Data Collected

The study used cognitive
lab assessments obtained from fingerspelling, equation/graphical
representations, item structure, plurality (reduplication of subject matter vs.
referring to the topic a number of times), and graphic represented on signers
hand vs. in front of body). Analysis of the cognitive lab data revealed a
common theme across all grade levels. First, that students preferred mathematical
content presented in ASL and secondly, that students regardless of hearing
ability (hearing & d/hh) grasped mathematical and difficult concepts more
readily when explained in a plurality (ASL and traditional speaking) format.  

Summarize Ethical Treatment

            The ethical
treatment of the study participants was ensured by using a team-based approach
to translation.  For example, when
creating the ASL format videos for testing, a team structure was used where a
deaf content expert (native ASL fluency and English–ASL bilingual recreated
English items in ASL while not altering the English measured constructs.  

Quantitative Data Analyzed

            Data was analyzed
in multiple stages including analysis gained via cognitive lab data and
assessments achieved from previous test scores of student ability to ensure a
comparable mix of students was distributed. The researchers chose to use historical
teacher ratings of students’ mathematical and reading ability, instead of
utilizing pre-test scores to minimize the amount of required testing time.

Result Validity

            Historically, administering
standardized tests in English can potentially create a barrier for students who
cannot access print in an equal fashion (e.g., blind students) or whose primary
language is not English (Qi & Mitchell, 2012). . For this reason, state
tests (including those used in this article) and applicable content is often
translated into multiple forms, with the goal to measure students’ proficiency
in content areas other than English (e.g., social studies, mathematics, and
science).

Overall Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths:

 The strengths leveraged in this
research were the use of multiple testing formats and the distribution of
participants by grade (3-5, 6-8, and 9-12) and historical teacher-rated ability.
Testing was conducted using:

·        
Low reading and low math ability

·        
Low reading and average or above math ability

·        
Average or above reading ability and low math
ability

·        
Average or above reading and average or above
math ability

   Weaknesses:

There are
several limitations to the research project that impacted the generalization of
the recorded findings. The first limitation is that statistical items were not
available or used in the research. The research placed emphasis on using test
items from a newly created pool of collegiate and/or career ready aligned test
content.  However, at the time the
content was selected, only English Language Arts and math items were available,
which had not been field-tested.  As a
result of this focus, it is unknown if the items studied were of a particular
issue are comparable in terms of difficulty.

 

Article 2: The effectiveness of a phonics based early intervention for deaf and
hard of hearing pre-school children and its possible impact on reading skills
in elementary school.  

Purpose or Intent

The study explored
the effects of a phonics-based early intervention package on the early reading
skills of three preschool students who were d/Deaf or hard of hearing who
differed in regard to degree of hearing loss, use of amplification, and
communication mode.

Research Question(s) or Areas of Inquiry

The research
question posed in this article sought to validate the supposition that students
who were explicitly trained with skills sustained in early elementary school demonstrated
at least some use of increased phonemic awareness and phonics skills, resulting
in overall reading levels at or above standardized age level when measured during
early elementary curriculums.

 

Hypothesis

Two research
questions guided this study:

1.      Will
a phonics based early intervention program, administered over a40 – 50 week period
, significantly impact the early reading skills of preschool d/hh students who otherwise
differ in regard to degree of hearing loss, use of amplification devices, and
mode of communication?

2.      Will
d/hh students who received phonics-based early intervention in preschool
sustain a measurable increase in phonemic awareness and phonics skills that
lead substantial improvements in reading skills, regardless of their
instructional method/experiences in reading received in early elementary
school?

Quantitative Design

The quantitative
design for this article consisted of a 40-week intervention (50-week in one
case) was delivered through individual and group phonics-based instruction
supplemented by Visual Phonics in a language enriched preschool classroom.
Standardized assessments were conducted before, during, and after the
intervention. Along with some additional assessments, the same assessments were
conducted in early elementary school.

Sample/Participants and Related Larger Population

            With prior
approval from the institutional review board, the study used the convenience
sampling method with three student participants from a private d/hh preschool within
a clinic in a mid-size, mid-western U.S. city.

 

 

 

Quantitative Data Collected

Two formal
assessments, the Test of Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL) and the Phonological
Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) were administered at four different points (Lonigan,
Wagner, Torgeson, & Rashotte, 2007).

(a) Pre-intervention
baseline

(b) Six months
through the intervention

(c) Post-intervention;

(d) Follow-up
conducted in early elementary school

Summarize Ethical Treatment

            The ethical
treatment of the study was ensured with prior university approval and parental
participation during and after the study data was collected, collated, and
reported.

Quantitative Data Analyzed

The stated
hypothesis is that average students with severe to profound hearing loss leave
the educational system reading at the beginning of the fourth-grade level, and that
more than 90% of these individuals are reading at the sixth-grade level or
lower (Beal-Alvarez, 2011).

Result Validity

            Study validity was
assured by limiting scores to only three subject areas in a baseline assessment
period: Name Writing, Upper Case Recognition, and Lower Case Recognition

Overall Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths:

 The strengths leveraged in this
research were that the medium for test assessment used Visual Phonics in
combination with a Direct Instruction phonics-based curriculum that utilized
emerging technology (smart-board, tablets, etc.) in a language-enriched
classroom that eliminated test bias.  

   Weaknesses:

 The present study highlighted the challenges
of conducting assessments with young children who are d/hh, as evidenced by the
baseline assessment; all three participants demonstrated non-collaborative
avoidance behaviors, particularly on the sound-based tasks, that are common
among that age group.

Article 3: Reading
for d/hh readers: Qualitatively and/or quantitatively similar or
different?  

Purpose or Intent

The authors of
this article discuss whether the reading process differs qualitatively and/or
quantitatively for hearing and deaf peers and whether formal reading
instruction should be different for deaf and hearing students.

Research Question(s) or Areas of Inquiry

 The authors argue that hearing status (deaf,
hearing) is less important in learning to read than environmental factors,
including: (a) the richness of the early linguistic environment leading to an
age-appropriate L1 prior to formal reading instruction and (b) clear, complete
visual access to the instructional language (e.g., English, Spanish, American
Sign Language) used to deliver curriculum via conventional or English Language
Learner methods.

Hypothesis

Of the available
communication systems for conveying English conversationally (oral-aural
methods, Manually Coded English sign systems, Cued Speech), only Cued Speech is
structurally capable of affording clear, complete visual access to English.

 

Quantitative Design

The researchers for
this article utilized the premise that ASL is a complete visual language, which
is capable of being acquired naturally when d/hh children have early, clear,
complete visual access to ASL at the fundamental phonological level and
sufficient opportunities to interact with fluent ASL users. The quantitative
design included common spoken English, common spoken French, common spoken Spanish,
and 60 other traditionally spoken languages and associated dialects.

Sample/Participants and Related Larger Population

            Formal reading assessments
and informal oral reading assessments were given to 75 d/hh student, aged 3 -7,
with various foundational languages.  The
sample participant’s fluency scores were compared in visual phonics and cued
speech, as it relates to the development of reading skills.

Quantitative Data Collected

            Quantitative data
was collected on the following:

1.      Visual
Phonics recognition

2.      Cued
Speech techniques to overcome oral-aural limitations

3.      Memory
related learning techniques

Summarize Ethical Treatment

            The ethical
treatment of the study was ensured by data collection occurring in both
classroom and home environments. Regardless of whether the language in the deaf
child’s home and school environment is ASL or English, Spanish, or another
traditionally spoken language, the least restrictive language/communication
environment for a deaf child is one in which the child is afforded consistently
clear, complete visual access to the language of conversation and instruction (
Chaleff, 2001),

Quantitative Data Analyzed

The data analyzed if
the reading process, regardless of hearing status (deaf, hearing), is instance
specific is significantly varied between individuals (including native
language) regarding the content, code, or reading test at the time of reading

Result Validity

            Study validity was
assured by administering testing criteria in the student’s home language and preferred
modality (alphabetic, tonal, etc.) in an environment of their choosing.

Overall Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths:

 The strengths of the research successfully
argued that all children, regardless of hearing status, are biologically
predisposed to acquiring language and speech proficiency (Gee & Goodheart,
1988)

   Weaknesses:

 Studies suggest that a student’s performance
on a reading test may or may not accurately reflect that student’s reading
comprehension and a wider study base would result in a more accurate overall
assessment (see LaSasso, 1999, and LaSasso & Crain, 2010).