Priority Grants Research Fund

Abstracts of Priority Research Project Funded for FY 1997

James Mahshie
Audiology
Toward understanding determinants of reduced speech intelligibility of deaf and hard of hearing individuals
Barbara Gerner-deGarcia
Educational Foundations
Becoming bilingual/bicultural: The experiences of minority graduate students
Thomas N. Kluwin
Educational Foundations
A pilot study of the effectiveness of the C-Print notetaking system
Cynthia M. King
Educational Foundations
A pilot study of student-created multimedia portfolios: Processes, products, and responses
Frances Ralston
Psychology
Validity study of the videotaped Ralston Test of Fingerspelled Pseudowords (RTFP) in identifying dyslexia among deaf college students
Thomas N. Kluwin, Carolyn Corbett, Catherine Andersen
Educational Foundations, Psychology, Undergraduate Studies
A longitudinal study of the retention of undergraduates at Gallaudet University: A proposal for Year 1
Kay Meadow-Orlans, Marilyn Sass-Lehrer, Donna Mertens
Educational Foundations, Education, Educational Foundations
Support services for parents and their deaf and hard of hearing children

Toward understanding determinants of reduced speech intelligibility of deaf and hard of hearing individuals
James Mahshie

This project is a pilot study aimed at establishing the feasibility of identifying and exploring speech production attributes of deaf and hard of hearing individuals that most contribute to reduced speech intelligibility. Indices of phonatory/articulatory gestures and coordination will be obtained from aerodynamic, acoustic and physiologic signals acquired during speech production by five to seven deaf and three hearing young adults. A panel of judges will also evaluate the perceived intelligibility of the utterances. These indices will be used to examine production correlates of reduced intelligibility, and will also be used to establish synthesis parameters to be used in a High Level, articulatory-based, control schema to adjust a KLSYN88 speech synthesizer. The High Level control of the synthesizer is based on a model of speech production (Stevens & Bickley, 1991) that employs a small number of control parameters that are closely related to speech articulation. A number of production parameters suspected of most affecting speech intelligibility will then be manipulated and their impact on speech intelligibility examined. The outcome will lead to an article, two presentations, and a proposal to NIH or DOE.


Becoming bilingual/bicultural: The experiences of minority graduate students
Barbara Gerner de Garcia

In U.S. schools, changing demographics have created an increased demand for minority teachers, counselors, social workers, school psychologists, and interpreters. Hearing graduate students entering Gallaudet University face the challenge of learning a new language and culture. It is not known to what extent the demands of learning a new culture and language affect the recruitment and retention of minority graduate students. The goals of this project include the collection of empirical evidence on the experience of minority hearing and hard of hearing graduate students gaining language and cultural competence in ASL and Deaf culture. The data will be used to inform recruitment and retention efforts aimed at minority graduate students and to determine if these students demonstrate need for additional ASL and Deaf culture training.

The research questions are:

  • What impact does the demand to become bilingual-bicultural in ASL and Deaf culture have on the recruitment and retention of minority hearing and hard of hearing students?
  • What do minority students see as facilitating/inhibiting their acquisition of ASL and Deaf Culture?
  • What are the characteristics of "successful" students?
  • What are the characteristics of less successful students?

Data will be compiled from in-depth interviews, focus group interviews, and questionnaires.


A pilot study of the effectiveness of the C-Print notetaking system
Thomas N. Kluwin

This will be a one semester feasibility study of the C-Print system in three graduate level classes. The purpose of the project is to field test the system in at least three graduate level classes and evaluate its suitability for real-time captioning and notetaking. C-Print is an enhanced word processing system which provides real-time captioning via laptop computer as well as detailed class notes.

The project has several goals. First, the project will produce at least one trained and experienced C-Print operator for future employment in more specific studies of the usefulness of the system at Gallaudet. Second, the study will generate preliminary information about student reactions to this kind of system. Third, the study will generate preliminary information about faculty reactions to this kind of system. Fourth, the necessary equipment system will have been put into place and field-tested so that larger scale testing or the testing of specific hypotheses can be done in AY97. Fifth, the project will develop a list of courses in which this technology would be suitable.

Three issues motivate this study of the improvement of notetaking in graduate level classrooms at Gallaudet. First, there is a need for better notetaking in the growing number of mixed communication methods classes. Second, the limits of current computerized notetaking systems are a motivating factor; and third, there are advantages offered by the C-Print system beyond simple notetaking.

The sample for this study will include the instructors and students in EDF710, EDF720, and COU748. The potential number of classes which could use the system is much larger than this and include other departments, but either the courses are not taught second semester or the instructors have not been identified as yet.

Several constituencies will benefit from this project. Deaf graduates who have difficulty taking notes will have access to better quality notes. Hard of hearing students who are new signers or who don't sign as well as "special" students who either don't sign or who have English proficiency limits will have a "supported" English environment via the notes and real-time display. All students in a class will benefit academically via access to electronic copies of the class lecture. The instructor can benefit through the development of better presentations by utilizing the electronic copy of the lecture. The University may potentially benefit because of a reduction in the need for interpreters. This project will not replace interpreting but may reduce some of the demand in specific situations.


A pilot study of student-created multimedia portfolios: Processes, products, and responses
Cynthia M. King

This study will examine processes, products, and responses to student-created multimedia portfolios. The emphasis will be on determining (a) the training and support needed for students to learn to create multimedia portfolios as extra-curricular activities, (b) responses of students, faculty, and potential employers to the portfolios, and (c) the role informal teaching of the process among students may have as a means for propagating portfolio development among the student body. Following this initial pilot study, it is anticipated that external funding will be sought and a number of experimental studies conducted to determine the effects of multimedia portfolios on employment opportunities, learning, motivation, and other factors.


Validity study of the videotaped Ralston Test of Fingerspelled Pseudowords (RTFP) in identifying dyslexia among deaf college students
Frances Ralston

The purpose of this study is to determine whether the Ralston Test of Fingerspelled Pseudowords (RTFP: Ralston, Morere, Miller, 1995) can identify dyslexia among people with prelingual and severe/profound deafness. The RTFP generally measures phonological decoding through receptive fingerspelling tasks involving pseudowords. The first subtest, Letterspan, measures accuracy of verbal information processing in short-term memory. The second subtest, Pseudoword, measures decoding accuracy at a fast fingerspelled presentation of pseudowords and identifies primary use of either phonological or visual strategy to decode words. The empirical relationship between these two subtests, general cognitive measures, and specific reading skill measures will be explored to provide evidence of concurrent validity based on a large sample of 60 deaf undergraduate students. The influence of word length and speed of presentation of both subtests of the RTFP will be compared between groups of low and high readers based on either the modified word reading instrument, the Reading Recognition subtest of the Peabody Individual achievement Test (PIAT), or the PIAT Reading Comprehension subtest, or both. Based on the literature (Ralston, Morere, & Miller, 1995), it is predicted that the RTFP Pseudoword and Letterspan subtests, and another subtest that involved phonological decoding abilities, the Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale Revised (WAIS-R) Digit Span, will accurately classify the low reader group. The Phonological Reading Disability Theory (Lyon, in press; Torgesen, 1993, 1994) will be applied to a sample of the deaf population of college students. Based on the literature (Wagner & Torgesen, 1987), it is predicted that phonological processing scores will distinguish impaired readers independent of general verbal ability. In addition, some exploratory analyses will be done to empirically figure out how a few students manage to adequately comprehend reading passages when they have poor phonological decoding strategies.


A longitudinal study of the retention of undergraduates at Gallaudet University: A proposal for Year 1
Thomas N. Kluwin, Carolyn Corbett, Catherine F. Andersen

This is the first year of a multiple-year study of the retention of undergraduate students at Gallaudet University. Using a "participation/identification" model, the Fall, 1997 entering students will be tracked for five years or until they graduate or drop out. During the first year, emphasis in the data collection will be on the formation of the student's identification with the institution and how the failure to develop an institutional identification results in student attrition. Data will be collected at several points during the first year through the First Year Seminar and through volunteer participation. At the same time, the members of the project staff will devise a plan for data collection in the following years.


Support services for parents and their deaf and hard of hearing children
Katherine Meadow Orlans, Donna M. Mertens, Marilyn Sass Lehrer

These investigators have distributed survey questionnaires to a sample of approximately 50% of parents of the 3,744 deaf and hard of hearing children born in 1989 and 1990, with funding provided by the Gallaudet Research Institute. This proposal requests funds to enter and analyze survey data on computer, and to conduct ten follow-up focus group interviews with parents in representative geographic regions.

Research questions include: (a) How and when are D/HH children diagnosed in various regions of the U.S.? When does intervention begin? (b) What intervention approaches are available, recommended, and accepted by parents? (c) What is the participation level of mothers, fathers, and other family members? (d) What is the level of parental satisfaction with support and services received to date? (e) How do parents assess their child's social adjustment and communicative development?

Data from this study should benefit parents and children, teachers, administrators, and policy makers concerned with early intervention services mandated by federal legislation.

[Last modified: 2011.12.05 16:50:38. 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.
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