Who are the deaf and hard-of-hearing students
leaving high school and entering
postsecondary education?

Paper submitted to Pelavin Research Institute as part of the project, A Comprehensive Evaluation of the Postsecondary Educational Opportunities for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, funded by the U.S. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

Thomas E. Allen
Gallaudet University
1994

Introduction

Demographic and social changes are occurring within the deaf and hard-of-hearing student population that will have a profound impact on the nature of postsecondary education and rehabilitation services they will require. Of particular importance among these changes are the overall declines that have occurred in the population of deaf students and the increasing proportion of students from minority backgrounds, particularly Hispanic. Between 1984 and 1994 the number of students reported to the Annual Survey of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children and Youth (AS) with severe to profound hearing loss decreased by over 8,500 students (from 33,556 in 1984 to 24,960 in 1994—a 26% decrease; Center for Assessment and Demographic Studies [CADS] 1984 [from unpublished tabulations]; CADS, 1994). This was due to a number of factors, including lower birthrates and the exiting from schools of students whose deafness resulted from maternal rubella. During the same decade, the number of students reported with less-than-severe hearing loss actually increased by over 2,500 students (from 18,121 to 20,630--a 14% increase). It is unclear why such an increase occurred for this subgroup of a population that was decreasing overall. Clearly, greater numbers of hard-of-hearing students have been identified and referred for special education services. According to AS figures, the percentage of students reported to the survey with less-than-severe hearing loss increased from 35% in 1984 to over 45% in 1994.

Regarding racial/ethnic background, the shifts have been no less astounding. In 1984, 5,720 students out of 53,184 reported to the AS were of Hispanic origin (11% of those with known ethnic background; CADS, 1984 [from unpublished tabulations]). In 1994, 7,381 out of 47,014 were reported to the AS as being Hispanic (16% of those with known ethnic background; CADS, 1994 [from unpublished tabulations]). Thus, while the overall number of students reported to the survey has decreased by 12% in the last ten years, the number of Hispanics has increased by 28%. The number of white, non-Hispanic students has decreased by 21% (from 35,069 in 1984 to 27,779 in 1994). Blacks have decreased by 15%, from 9,337 (18% of the total reported in 1984) to 7,935 (17% of the total reported in 1994).

During this same period, the nature of the students' elementary and high school experiences changed: many more deaf and hard-of-hearing students leaving high school today (compared to 10 years ago) have attended local educational programs (as opposed to center residential or day facilities) where they are more likely to have received some integration with hearing students during academic instruction (Schildroth & Hotto, 1994). During the decade from 1984 to 1994, the percentage of deaf and hard-of-hearing students reported to the AS who attended special schools decreased from 38% to 28%. (This finding is correlated with the shift in levels of hearing loss reported to the AS, as students with less than severe loss are more likely to attend local programs.) If we go back 15 years—to 1979—70% of the students reported to the AS were from special center schools. These figures indicate how pervasive the shift has been to local education for deaf and hard-of-hearing students over the last 15 years.

Another important social factor impacting the needs for postsecondary educational services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students pertains to the changing nature of the United States workforce. The current job outlook is one where more jobs are opening up, but these jobs require higher levels of English literacy and numeracy than those in the past, and the higher paying jobs among the emerging service industries require greater amounts of face-to-face interactions with coworkers and clients in the workplace (Silvestri & Lukasiewicz, 1989). These higher paying jobs from service industries have not traditionally been open to deaf individuals (Schildroth, Rawlings, & Allen, 1991).

Unfortunately, what is not changing so rapidly is the level of academic performance shown by deaf students leaving high school. Between 1983 and 1990 (years when national achievement testing projects were undertaken by CADS), only slight gains in median achievement levels of deaf students aged 17 and 18 have been reported (Allen, 1986; Holt, 1993). In both years, approximately half of the deaf and hard-of-hearing students leaving special education programs did so reading below the fourth grade level. Given the increases in the proportion of students from minority backgrounds, who have traditionally performed more poorly than white majority students on tests of academic achievement, there is reason to be concerned about the adequacy of current postsecondary training programs for deaf and hard-of-hearing youth who are leaving high school.

Given the rapidly occurring changes that are occurring within the population of deaf and hard-of-hearing students, it is difficult to plan for the future. This is particularly true presently, as those deaf students who have been in school during this period of rapid change are now entering postsecondary education. It is important that educational planners at the postsecondary level understand the demographic characteristics of the students they serve, particularly when the population has been in such a state of flux. It is to this understanding that the current paper is directed. Specifically, the present paper will examine one recent cohort of school leavers and describe their demographic and achievement characteristics. Normative information from the 1990 standardization of the 8th Edition of the Stanford Achievement Test (The Psychological Corporation, 1989) with deaf and hard-of-hearing students (Holt, Traxler, & Allen, 1992) will be combined with data from the 1992-93 and 1993-94 Annual Survey to examine the characteristics of deaf and hard-of-hearing students who are leaving school. Given the changes that we have witnessed in the population, this analysis will be important for those policy-makers interested in improving postsecondary educational services for these students.

Method

Annual Survey of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children and Youth

In 1964, the "Conference on the Collection of Statistics of Severe Hearing Impairments and Deafness in the United States", sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness, recommended the establishment of a program for collecting information on the number and characteristics of hearing impaired persons in the United States. Based on this recommendation, the U.S. Office of Education, Bureau of Education for the Handicapped (BEH) awarded Gallaudet College a two-year grant to determine the feasibility of establishing a national data base on deaf and hard-of-hearing children. A pilot study was carried out in the District of Columbia and 4 surrounding states. In 1967, BEH provided additional funding to expand the survey to all 50 states, and in the 1967-68 school year, the first national Annual Survey of Hearing Impaired Children and Youth was carried out, and the Office of Demographic Studies (now the Center for Assessment and Demographic Studies) was established on the Gallaudet campus. Support for the project was later provided by the National Institute of Education; however, since 1974, Gallaudet University has provided the funding for survey activities. The 1994-95 Annual Survey, now underway, represents the 27th consecutive year for the survey.

Data from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands are submitted on deaf and hard-of-hearing students annually. As many programs as are known the Center to be offering special services to deaf and hard-of-hearing children are contacted each fall and asked to participate in the year's survey activities. To continually update its program mailing list, CADS contacts each state's Department of Special Education each fall to obtain a listing of all programs known to the state as providing services to one or more deaf students. In the 1993-94 AS, data for 47,014 students were received from 870 programs representing 10,425 different educational facilities. These facilities cover the full range of facility types, from special residential and day programs, where the deaf students receive special classes in institutions designed solely for deaf students, to local schools, where deaf students are integrated with hearing students for academic instruction.

Survey Coverage

We estimate the Annual Survey to have between 65% and 75% coverage for all deaf and hard-of-hearing students receiving special education services in the United States. This estimate is based on comparing each year's Annual Survey figures to those that are reported in aggregate by the states to the Federal government, as mandated by IDEA. In the 1991-92 school year the number of students aged 6-21 reported to the government as receiving special services in virtue of being deaf or hard-of-hearing was 60,763. That year, data on 44,758 individual deaf and hard-of-hearing students were submitted to the Annual Survey for the same age categories. This number represents 74% of the total number reported to the U.S. Department of Education for that year. However, some of the students reported to the Annual Survey have multiple disabilities, and they may have been reported to the government under different disability categories. As such, we make a conservative estimate of the survey coverage, and, in the current analysis, will weight the numbers reported the 1992-93 and 1993-94 survey data bases by 1.54 (based on an estimated coverage rate of .65) to adjust for the undercount and obtain estimates for the number of deaf students who entered the postsecondary pool after the 1992-93 school year.

Creating "Pseudo-Samples" of High School Leavers Using the 1992-93 and 1993-94 Data Bases

Two "pools" of exiting students will be estimated: Pool 1 (SP) contains only those students with severe to profound hearing loss (an average hearing threshold of 71 dB or greater in the better ear), and Pool 2 (MP) contains those with moderate to profound hearing loss (an average hearing threshold of 41 dB or greater in the better ear). Dual tables will be presented to show the impact of considering a pool containing only deaf students versus considering a pool containing both deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

The Annual Survey is not a longitudinal data base and does not systematically follow students beyond high school. To obtain an estimate of what the exiting pools of students looks like demographically, two weighted pseudo-samples were created using the following procedure: The students aged 17-21 with prescribed levels of hearing loss (for the SP and MP pools) were extracted from the 1992-93 data base. Then, the students with the same degrees of loss aged 18-22 were extracted from the 1993-94 data base. These students represented the same age cohorts, respectively. Six demographic variables --age (5 groups, ages 17-21 in 1992-93), geographical region (4 groups), ethnicity (4 groups), degree of hearing loss (2 groups -severe and profound- for the SP pool, and 4 groups - moderate, moderately severe, severe, and profound -for the MP pool), type of educational facility (2 groups, special facilities and local schools) and additional disability status (2 groups, those without additional disabilities and those with additional disabilities)—were used to define 640 demographic cells for the SP pool and 1,280 demographic cells for the MP pool. (There were twice as many cells in the MP pool because there were four, instead of two, hearing loss categories.)

The cases in each of the files were aggregated into files containing either 640 (SP) or 1,280 (MP) records. Each record contained the number of students fitting the demographic description of that cell. Then, for each sample, the 1993-94 data were merged with the 1992-93 data, matching 18 year-olds from the 93-94 data base with 17-year-olds from the 1992-93 data base, 19-year-olds with 18-year-olds, and so on. The resulting files contained, for each of a large number of demographic subgroups, the numbers of students reported in 1992-93 and 1993-94 who were in the same age cohort. The difference between these two numbers was taken to be an indication of the number of school exiters in each group.

This difference value was subjected to two additional modifications. When the difference value in a given cell resulted in a negative number (i.e., more students were reported in 1993-94 than in 1992-93), the number was set equal to 0. Second, all difference values were multiplied by 1.54 to adjust for the undercount in the Annual Survey, as described above.

Finally, these adjusted estimates of the number of school leavers were used to weight each of the records in the aggregated data sets. These weighted files were then used to compute the tables that are presented in the analysis below.

Analysis Plan

The analysis will be presented in three sections: in the first, the weighted frequencies of the categories representing each of the variables used in the aggregation will be presented. These provide descriptive information of those students who had left school between the 1992-93 and 1993-94 school years. The characteristics age, racial/ethnic background, hearing loss, high school facility type, and additional disability status will be examined for both the SP and MP pools. Second, the demographic characteristics of the SP pool will examined in a little more depth. The characteristics racial/ethnic background, high school facility type, and additional disability status will be crosstabulated with age. Given the variation of age noted in students leaving school, it is important to examine how the different age cohorts differ on other characteristics. Finally, we will estimate the SP and MP pools for different racial/ethnic groups if different academic criteria are applied in the context of college admissions. The purpose of presenting these analyses pertains to the enormous impact of setting academic criteria on pool demographics.

Results

Using the above procedure yielded a sample size for the SP pool of 2,757 students. For the MP pool, the size increased to 3,815. The numbers are estimates of the number of deaf (SP) or deaf and hard-of-hearing (MP) 17-21-year-old students who left high school after the 1992-93 school year.

1. Demographic Characteristics of School Leaver Samples

Table 1 presents the weighted breakdowns for the two pools according to age, racial/ethnic background, hearing loss, facility type, and additional disability status. Findings are highlighted below:

Table 1 Selected Characteristics of Deaf School Leavers, 1993.


                         SP Pool                       MP Pool                    
                        (Severe to                   (Moderate to                 
                         Profound                      Profound                   
                          Loss)                         Loss)                     

                            N              %              N              %        

Age                                                                               
  17                       610             22             909            24       
  18                       978             36           1,347            36       
  19                       650             24             855            22       
  20                       337             12             459            12       
  21                       182              7             245             6       

Ethnic                                                                            
  White, non-                                                                     
    Hispanic              1,575            58           2,121            56       
  Black, non-                                                                     
    Hispanic                567            21             812            22       
  Hispanic                  411            15             587            16       
  Other, Multi              172             6             254             7       

Hearing Loss                                                                      
  Moderate (41-55             0             0             514            13       
             dB)                                                                               
  Moderately Severe           0             0             544            14       
    (56-70 dB)              824            30             824            22       
  Severe (71-90 dB)       1,933            70           1,933            51       
  Profound (91 dB+)                                                               

Facility Type                                                                     
  Special Schools         1,515            55           1,676            44       
  Local Schools           1,240            45           2,136            56       

Additional                                                                        
Disability                
     No                   1,942            72           2,581            69       
    Yes                     755            28           1,155            31       



Age. Age was computed as of December 31, 1992, i.e., 6 months prior to the end of the school year after which the students left school. Table 1 reveals considerable diversity in the ages of leaving students. The largest number of leaving students were 18 (36% for both samples); however, there are over 600 17-year-old students in the SP sample and over 900 17-year-old students in the MP sample reported as leaving school. These figures are significant, for national cross-sectional studies of achievement levels of deaf and hard-of-hearing high school students reveal that 17-year-old students have higher median levels of achievement than 18-year-old students (Allen, 1986; Holt, 1993). This indicates that 17-year-olds who leave school have higher levels of achievement than those who return to high school as eighteen-year-olds. It is also important to note a significant number of 20 and 21-year-olds leaving school (19% of the SP sample and 18% of the MP sample.) These students are likely to be lower achieving students who have remained in schools to take advantage of educational entitlements, particularly in vocational training areas. Finally, age is intercorrelated with the other characteristics studied; e.g., the 17-year-old school leavers are more likely to be white. These interrelationships are discussed more fully below.

Ethnic background. The ethnic distribution of school leavers (considering either the SP or the MP pools) parallels the deaf and hard-of-hearing student population as a whole. In the 1992-93 Annual Survey, 60% of the population of elementary and secondary school students were reported to be white, non-Hispanic; 18% were black; 16% were Hispanic; and 6% were other/multi-ethnic. The corresponding percentages in the current MP sample are 56%, 22%, 16%, and 7%, respectively. The higher percentage of blacks in the sample is related to the age distribution, as blacks are more likely than whites to stay in school beyond the age of 17. The most significant aspect of the ethnic distribution relates to academic achievement. As academic criteria are applied to the pool in an attempt to define a subset who are "college material", the ethnic distribution changes dramatically. Data related to this finding are presented below.

Hearing loss. Among the SP pool, close to 2,000 are profoundly deaf, and they account for 70% of the sample; among the MP sample, profoundly deaf students only account for 51%, indicating the shift in the nature of the population when hard-of-hearing students are included in the counts with deaf students. Students with moderate and moderately severe hearing loss comprise more than one-fourth (27%) of the larger MP pool.

Facility type. When the pool is limited to those with severe to profound hearing loss, 55% attend special educational facilities that serve only deaf students. When the pool is expanded to include those with moderate and moderately severe hearing loss, 56% attend local schools that serve both hearing and deaf students. The shift is due to the greater likelihood that hard-of-hearing students will attend local schools.

2. Demographic Characteristics By Age

The characteristics just described for the school leavers are interrelated in important ways, most notable of which are the associations of ethnic status, additional disability status, and facility type with age. As the following figures will show, the seventeen year-old deaf students leaving high school are markedly different from the 20 and 21-year-old deaf students leaving school, and point to the need for developing a variety of services and programs for deaf students leaving school and entering postsecondary education at different ages.

Fig 1 goes here (GIFS coming)

Demonstrates that a significant number of the older students leaving high school programs are from minority backgrounds. Services targeted at minority students must take into account the differential age and educational backgrounds of the minority students entering postsecondary education for the first time.

Fig 2 goes here

Figure 2 shows the differential distributions of additional disability status among deaf students (SP sample) of different ages who are leaving high school. The relationship between age and additional disability status is clear and unambiguous: the older the school leaver, the more likely he/she has an additional disability. A large majority of 17-year-old school leavers (81%) have no additional disabilities, whereas the majority of 22-year-old leavers (62%) have one more additional disabilities. The cohorts of older students leaving school are increasingly likely to have an additional disability.

Fig 3 goes here

Figure 3 shows the association of age with type of educational facility in which the deaf student (SP sample) was served in the year prior to leaving high school. The percentage of students attending special facilities increases through age 19, then decreases at ages 20 and 21. Among the 17-year-old severely and profoundly deaf students leaving high school, roughly one-half attended local schools and one-half attended special schools. In contrast, 62% of the 19-year-olds in the sample attended special schools, but only 46% of the 21-year-olds in the sample attended special schools.

3. The impact of applying achievement criteria to the ethnic make-up of the pool

As part of the norming of the Eighth Edition of Stanford Achievement Test with deaf and hard-of-hearing students in 1990, percentiles by age, by race, and by hearing loss were computed. For the current analysis, the Stanford norming data were reanalyzed, and percentile information, based on the same groups which define the SP and MP pools was extracted. Based on this information, it was possible to determine what percentage of each pool could be expected to achieve, in reading comprehension, at or above certain levels of achievement. Breakdowns by racial/ethnic background allowed an estimation of the percentage of each racial/ethnic group within each pool who could be expected to achieve in reading comprehension at or above certain levels. Based on these percentages, estimates of the number of students in a particular racial/ethnic group achieving at or above a particular level were computed.

The results of this analysis are presented in Table 2 (for the SP pool) and Table 3 (for the MP pool). According to the 1990 norming data only 40% of the pooled 17-21 year old deaf students with severe to profound hearing loss demonstrated reading levels at the fourth grade equivalent or above, as indicated in Table 2. When applied to the total of 2,726, it yields an estimate of 1,090 students in the SP pool leaving school and reading at that level. When racial/ethnic subgroups are examined (for the SP pool), Table 2 reveals that the 4th grade criteria is achieved by 52% of the whites, but only 22% of the blacks, and 19% of the Hispanic students. Translated to Ns, based on the numbers of blacks and Hispanics estimated to be in the school leaving sample, it can be seen that the pool of severely and profoundly deaf contains small numbers of minority students.

It is instructive to establish the relative frequency distributions of students in different ethnic groups, as the pool becomes more and more restrictive with respect to reading achievement. For example, while the full SP pool is comprised of 58% whites, 21% blacks, and 15% Hispanics, the pool of students reading at the fourth grade level or above is comprised of 77% whites, 12% blacks and 7% Hispanics. At higher levels of achievement, the pool becomes more and more disproportionately white. At the eighth grade level of achievement, of the 218 students overall judged to be achieving at this level, 88% were white, 3% were black (only 6 students), and 7% were Hispanic.

Another way to view academic criteria for postsecondary training is to consider the percentage of a subgroup excluded by the establishment of a particular cutoff. As Table 2 indicates, an eighth grade admissions cutoff excludes 99% of the black and 96% of the Hispanic students in the pool. Even a fourth grade criteria excludes approximately 80% of the blacks and Hispanics.

Shifting to the MP pool, Table 3 shows that including students with moderate to profound hearing loss increases the number of students meeting the 4th grade criteria to 1,736 students and the number meeting the 8th grade criteria to 377. However, the racial/ethnic distributions remain similar to those shown for the SP pool. Applying strict reading level criteria as a means of identifying segments of the deaf and hard-of-hearing student population capable of performing college level work disqualifies the vast majority of minority students. Even when the pool includes those students with moderate and moderately severe hearing loss, applying an eighth grade reading criteria yields a pool that is nearly 90% white, in spite of the fact that whites account for only 56% of the deaf students leaving school.

Table 2 Estimates of Proportion and Number of Deaf College Students at Specific Reading Levels from SP Pool of Traditional Students for Different Ethnic Groups


Proportion of pool                                                                  
qualified if              All       White,       Black,     Hispanic   Other/Multi  
standards are set      Students   non-Hispanc non-Hispanic                          
to:                                                                                

Students reading at                                                                 
4.0 or above              .40         .52         .22          .19         .23      

Students reading at                                                                 
5.0 or above              .27         .37         .13          .10         .15      

Students reading at                                                                 
6.0 or above              .15         .22         .05          .06         .04      

Students reading at                                                                 
7.0 or above              .12         .18         .03          .05         .02      

Students reading at                                                                 
8.0 or above              .08         .12         .01          .04         .02      




                                                                                        
                       All         White,        Black,       Hispan       Other/       
Estimated number of   Studen       non-His                      ic         Multi        
qualified students      ts          panic        non-Hi                                 
if standards are set                             spanic                                 
to:                                                                                     

                        #      %      #      %     #      %     #      %     #      %   
                      2,726   100   1,575   58    567    21    411    15    172     6   

Students reading at                                                                     
4.0 or above          1,090   100     819   77    125    12     78     7     40     4   

Students reading at                                                                     
5.0 or above            736   100     583   81     74    10     41     6     26     4   

Students reading at                                                                     
6.0 or above            409   100     346   85     28     7     25     6      7     2   

Students reading at                                                                     
7.0 or above            327   100     283   87     17     5     21     6      3     1   

Students reading at                                                                     
8.0 or above            218   100     189   88      6     3     16     7      3     1   



Pool = Students 17-21, severe to profound loss, using pseudo-sample of school leavers after1992-93 school year.

Pool estimated from comparison of 1992-93 and 1993-94 Annual Survey of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children and Youth.

Proportions of students reading at various levels based on the standardization of the Stanford Achievement Test, 8th Edition, with deaf and hard-of-hearing students, conducted by CADS in 1990.

The Ns in each row do not add up to the total N in "All Students" column because they are estimated from the percentile distributions from the 1990 norming sample, which had a slightly different ethnic distribution than the current sample.

Table 3 Estimates of Proportion and Number of Deaf College Students at Specific Reading Levels from MP Pool of Traditional Studentsfor Different Ethnic Groups


Proportion of pool                                                                  
qualified if              All       White,       Black,     Hispanic   Other/Multi  
standards are set      Students   non-Hispanc non-Hispanic                          
to:                                                                                

Students reading at                                                                 
4.0 or above              .46         .58         .30          .27         .24      

Students reading at                                                                 
5.0 or above              .32         .43         .15          .14         .13      

Students reading at                                                                 
6.0 or above              .18         .26         .06          .07         .03      

Students reading at                                                                 
7.0 or above              .15         .22         .04          .05         .02      

Students reading at                                                                 
8.0 or above              .10         .15         .02          .03         .01      




                                                                                        
                       All         White,        Black,       Hispan       Other/       
Estimated number of   Studen       non-His                      ic         Multi        
qualified students      ts          panic        non-Hi                                 
if standards are set                             spanic                                 
to:                                                                                     

                        #      %      #      %     #      %     #      %     #      %   
                      3,773   100   2,121   56    812    22    587    16    254     7   

Students reading at                                                                     
4.0 or above          1,736   100   1,230   73    243    14    158     9     61     4   

Students reading at                                                                     
5.0 or above          1,207   100    912    79    122    11     82     7     33     3   

Students reading at                                                                     
6.0 or above            679   100    551    85     49     8     41     6      8     6   

Students reading at                                                                     
7.0 or above            566   100    467    88     32     6     29     5      5     1   

Students reading at                                                                     
8.0 or above            377   100    318    89     16     5     18     5      3     1   



Pool = Students 17-21, moderate to profound loss, using pseudo-sample of school leavers after 1992-93 school year.

Pool estimated from comparison of 1992-93 and 1993-94 Annual Survey of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children and Youth.

Proportions of students reading at various levels based on the standardization of the Stanford Achievement Test, 8th Edition, with deaf and hard-of-hearing students, conducted by CADS in 1990.

The Ns in each row do not add up to the total N in "All Students" column because they are estimated from the percentile distributions from the 1990 norming sample, which had a slightly different ethnic distribution than the curent sample.

Summary and Discussion

The first major theme underlying the present analysis is that of heterogeneity and diversity. The group of deaf and hard-of-hearing students leaving schools is comprised of students who range in age from 17 to 21; range in racial/ethnic status (to a greater extent than the population of hearing students as a whole); range in degree of hearing loss; range in additional disability status; and range in type of high school experience. The rapid changes in the demographics of the population over the last decade have served to emphasize and increase this diversity. A higher percentage of the population is now hard-of-hearing; a higher percentage come from minority racial/ethnic backgrounds; a higher percentage leave with the bulk of their educational experiences in programs that serve hearing, as well as deaf, students. This increased diversity means that postsecondary planners must also diversify their planning. The days are gone when the vast majority of planning can be aimed solely at white, profoundly deaf children from residential schools.

The second major theme is that the numbers of deaf students leaving special education programs is not huge. A recent statistical report from the National Center for Educational Statistics (Lewis, Farris, & Greene, 1994) estimates that there were, in the 1992-93 school year, 20,040 deaf and hard-of-hearing students enrolled in roughly 2,000 2- and 4-year colleges (exclusive of Gallaudet University and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf). However, within this large number, only 4,520 were specifically described by college personnel as being deaf. This number is consistent with the current estimate that roughly 2,700 severely to profoundly deaf students left high school in the same year. In a 1991 CADS survey to severely to profoundly deaf high school graduates, two-thirds of the respondents reported that, within four years of leaving high school, they had attended some type of postsecondary educational program (Rawlings, 1994). A total estimate, therefore, of approximately 7,000 for the number of severely to profoundly deaf students (adding back in the 2,500 undergraduates enrolled at Gallaudet and NTID) currently in college is a sensible estimate, particularly if non-traditional students (adult, returning, transfer, part time, etc.) are included in the totals.

This accounting leaves many hard-of-hearing students unaccounted for. In the current analysis, we have specifically excluded students reported to the Annual Survey with mild hearing loss because we know that the Annual Survey data base underestimates the number of students with low levels of loss, primarily because these students are not receiving special educational services in elementary and secondary schools. Recall that, nationally, only 60,763 deaf and hard-of-hearing students, aged 6 to 21, were reported to the US Department of Education by the states, as mandated by IDEA. It is clear that many hard-of-hearing students, who have not received special services in elementary and secondary schools, are self-identifying on college campuses and requesting services. Further study is needed for this large group of hard-of-hearing students.

The third major theme pertains to the low levels of academic readiness displayed by the majority of deaf students leaving school. If two-thirds of the severely to profoundly deaf students leaving school attend some type of postsecondary institution for training, but only one fourth read at the fifth grade level or above, then it is fairly obvious that a large number of deaf students are enrolling in colleges with very limited skills. An important aspect to these data is that, if admissions criteria are established that are too high, the vast majority of black and Hispanic students will be excluded from the pool of potential college students. Unfortunately, the expansion of postsecondary educational opportunities for deaf students in the past 20 years has not been accompanied by the necessary improvements in academic preparation at the elementary and secondary levels. This has left many postsecondary institutions in a quandary as to how best to serve an eager, but under-prepared pool of students.

References

  • Allen, T. (1986). Patterns of academic achievement among hearing impaired students: 1974 and 1983. In A. Schildroth and M. Karchmer (Eds.), Deaf children in America (pp. 161-206). Boston, MA: College-Hill Press.
  • Center for Assessment and Demographic Studies. (1984). [Annual Survey of Hearing Impaired Children and Youth]. Unpublished tabulations, 1983-84 school year. Author.
  • Center for Assessment and Demographic Studies. (1994). [Annual Survey of Hearing Impaired Children and Youth]. Unpublished tabulations, 1993-94 school year. Author.
  • Holt, J. (1993). Stanford Achievement Test--8th Edition: Reading comprehension subgroup results. American Annals of the Deaf, 138(2), 172-175.
  • Holt, J., Traxler, C., & Allen, T. (1992). Interpreting the scores: A user's guide to the 8th Edition Stanford Achievement Test for educators of deaf and hard-of-hearing students (Technical Report 92-1). Washington, DC: Gallaudet Research Institute.
  • Lewis, L., Farris, E., & Greene, B. (1994). Deaf and hard of hearing students in postsecondary education (NCES 94-394). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
  • The Psychological Corporation. (1989). Stanford Achievement Test, Eighth Edition. San Antonio, TX: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.
  • Rawlings, B. Postsecondary education: Its impact and outcomes. In T.E. Allen, K.H. Lam, B.W. Rawlings, D.E. Rose, & A.N. Schildroth (Eds.), Young deaf adults and the transition from high school to postsecondary careers (pp. 17-31). Washington, DC: Gallaudet Research Institute.
  • Schildroth, A., & Hotto, S. (1994). Deaf students and full inclusion: Who wants to be excluded? In R.C. Johnson & O. Cohen (Eds.), Implications and complications for deaf students of the full inclusion movement(Occasional Paper 94-2). Washington, DC: Gallaudet Research Institute.
  • Schildroth, A., Rawlings, B., & Allen, T. (1991). Deaf students in transition: Education and employment issues for deaf adolescents. In Cohen, O., & Long, G. (Eds.). Selected issues in adolescence and deafness [Special issue]. The Volta Review, 93(5), 41-53.
  • Silvestri, G., & Lukasiewicz, J. (1989). Projections of occupational employment, 1988-2000. Monthly Labor Review, 112(11), 42-65.

[Last modified: 2011.12.05 16:50:34. by Kevin Cole]

DISCLAIMER: This website contains documents with terms that may be considered by today's reader as outdated and even offensive. For example, the term "hearing impairment" is sometimes used as a category for levels of hearing loss, such as hard of hearing and deaf. Some people now see cultural identification and communication preference as defining characteristics behind terms such as hard of hearing and deaf, and they do not favor terms conveying medical distinctions and loss. Yet we recognize that removing and changing terms may alter the precise meaning of the scientific author. A solution may be found by expanding the scope of future research to include non-medical perspectives.
Valid HTML 5 Valid CSS 3 WAVE (WebAIM) Approved
[Logo]