Center Papers

The Effects Of American Sign Language As An Assessment Accommodation For Students Who Are Deaf Of Hard Of Hearing

Cawthon, S., Winton, S., Garberoglio, C.L., & Gobble, M. (2011). The effects of American Sign Language as an assessment accommodation for students who are Deaf of Hard of Hearing. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 16, 198-211.

Students who are deaf or hard of hearing (SDHH) often need accommodations to participate in large-scale standardized assessments. One way to bridge the gap between the language of the test (English) and a student’s linguistic background (often including American Sign Language [ASL]) is to present test items in ASL. The specific aim of this project was to measure the effects of an ASL accommodation on standardized test scores for SDHH in reading and mathematics. A total of 64 fifth- to eighth-grade (ages 10–15) SDHH from schools for the deaf in the United States participated in this study. There were no overall differences in the mean percent of items students scored correctly in the standard vs. ASL-accommodated conditions for reading or mathematics. We then conducted hierarchical linear regression analyses to analyze whether measures of exposure to ASL (home and classroom) and student proficiency in the subject area predicted student performance in ASL-accommodated assessments. The models explained up to half of the variance in the scores, with subject area proficiency (mathematics or reading) as the strongest predictor. ASL exposure was not significant with the exception of ASL classroom instruction as a predictor of mathematics scores.