Priority Grants Research Fund

Abstracts of Priority Research Project Funded for FY 1998

Carol J. Erting
Education
Language, Literacy and Cultural Development in Bilingual Homes and Classrooms
Thomas N. Kluwin
Educational Foundations
Longitudinal Study of the Retention of Undergraduates at Gallaudet University
Jane Freiburg Nickerson
English
Using Literacy Portfolios to Promote Self-Assessment Activities in English
Cynthia Neese Bailes
Education
The Strategic Use of American Sign Language by Teachers in English Language Arts Classes for Deaf Primary Grade Students in Bilingual School Settings
Brandt Culpepper
Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
Test Operating Characteristics and Pass/Refer Criteria for Hearing Screening Using Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions
Dennis Galvan
Psychology
The Acquisition of Narrative Discourse Competence in Deaf Children with Deaf or Hearing Parents
Jan Hafer
Education
An Investigation of Maternal Behaviors Which Support and Facilitate Symbolic Play of Young Deaf Children
Donna Morere
Psychology
Measuring Phonological Processing in Deaf Readers and Determining Its Importance to Reading Comprehension
Barbara J. White
Social Work
Deaf-parented Adoptive Families: The Effects of Perceptions of Entitlement and Perceptions of Social Support on Family Functioning

Language, Literacy and Cultural Development in Bilingual Homes and Classrooms
Carol J. Erting, Ben Bahan, Charles B. Reilly, Carlene Thuman-Prezioso

This interdisciplinary, longitudinal study examines cultural, linguistic, and cognitive development in 50 diverse deaf and hard-of-hearing children from birth to five years of age. The goals are to (1) describe the language, literacy and cultural development of deaf and hard-of-hearing children in bilingual deaf homes and in classrooms where ASL and English are the languages of instruction and (2) to describe the pedagogy, including the philosophy and teaching strategies of the 11 teachers, as well as the parenting strategies and beliefs of the deaf parents. The central focus is on how ASL and cultural knowledge are acquired at home and in school, how the parents', teachers', and children's use of ASL is linked to and supports emerging English literacy, and how this linguistic and cultural knowledge contributes to academic achievement during interaction with adults and peers. By analyzing empirical data on the nature of everyday interactions among children, parents, teachers, and peers, (collected through videotaping in homes and classrooms and interviewing parents and teachers) we hope to better understand the relationships among physical and demographic characteristics of students, languages of home and school, social identity and cultural knowledge, and academic achievement, especially in emerging reading and writing.


Longitudinal Study of the Retention of Undergraduates at Gallaudet University
Thomas N. Kluwin, Carolyn Corbett, Catherine Andersen

This is the second year of a multiple year study of the retention of undergraduate students at Gallaudet University. Using a "participation/identification" model, the Fall, 1995 entering students are being tracked for five years or until they graduate or drop out. In 1996-97 the 1996 students were added to the data base. The project will add the 1997 entering students to the data base and permit the first multi-year comparisons. Emphasis in the data collection is 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 are collected at several points during the first year through the First Year Seminar and through volunteer participation.


Using Literacy Portfolios to Promote Self-Assessment Activities in English Classes
Jane F. Nickerson, Leslie Rach

This study will examine how the use of literacy portfolios can influence deaf students as they learn to assess their reading and writing abilities. This study will be an extension of a study conducted with deaf preparatory students and will strengthen the research base in regard to using literacy portfolios for self-assessment purposes. Literacy portfolios will be used as tools in several freshman English classes during fall and spring semesters 1997-98, where students will learn to assess several aspects of their reading comprehension as well as their writing process and products. A variety of field research techniques will be used to ascertain the uses and influences of portfolios on student reading, writing, and reflective thinking. These research techniques include surveys, interviews, and items in the students' literacy portfolios.

Throughout the study, students will assess their reading and writing abilities as they develop their literacy portfolios. The students will work on many assignments which will encourage them to become more successful readers, more confident writers, and more reflective learners.

After the study is concluded, the work of several students will be analyzed using a case study approach. The constant comparative method of data analysis will be used in order to write a description of what occurs in the classroom. This description will enable other researchers and members of the English Department to examine the use of literacy portfolios as another tool which can be used to promote students' engagement in self-assessment.


The Strategic Use of American Sign Language by Teachers in English Language Arts Classes for Deaf Primary Grade Students in Bilingual School Settih Language Arts Classes for Deaf Primary Grade Students in Bilingual School Settings
Cynthia N. Bailes

This study will examine the strategies primary grade teachers in a bilingual school for deaf children use to teach the English language arts through ASL. Semi-structured interviews of primary grade teachers are the primary data source. Secondary data sources include interviews of administrators and parents, observations of selected teachers, and document reviews. Data will be analyzed for themes in the perceptions and teaching practices of these teachers. The following research questions will be addressed:

  1. How do teachers of primary-aged deaf and hard-of-hearing children in a bilingual program conceptualize the utilization of 'ASL as the language of instruction' to teach the English language arts?
  2. What strategies and practices have emerged in the teaching of the English language arts to primary-grade deaf and hard-of-hearing children as a result of the adoption of ASL as the language of instruction?

Test Operating Characteristics and Pass/Refer Criteria for Hearing Screening Using Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions
Brandt Culpepper

Although autoacoustic emissions are used routinely in clinical audiology, there are still many unanswered questions about optimal protocols when used to screen different clinical populations for hearing loss. This pilot project is designed to investigate pass/refer criteria and test operating characteristics for Transient Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions (TEOAEs) and Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions (DPOAEs). For this project, 500 complete data sets obtained using the Otodynamics Model ILO292 DPEchoport will be analyzed. For TEOAEs, indices to be evaluated include response intensity, wave reproducibility, band reproducibility, and band signal to noise ratio (S/N). For DPOAEs, absolute and relative intensity levels of the 2f1-f2 distortion product will be investigated. Test operating characteristics, including sensitivity, specificity, false positive rate, false negative rate, and overall agreement, will be generated using different pass/fail criteria for varied response indices.


The Acquisition of Narrative Discourse Competence in Deaf Children with Deaf or Hearing Parents
Dennis Galvan

With the Bilingual-Bicultural model in deaf education currently gaining support across the country, it is important to investigate how deaf children become proficient users of ASL. This project will investigate the development of narrative discourse competence in deaf children with deaf or hearing parents, mostly between the ages of 3 and 9 and adults. Narrative discourse competence involves knowledge of vocabulary and grammar and an awareness of what information the listener needs to understand and to stay interested in the story. This entails the ability to construct a narrative that is logically structured in terms of clauses and sentences and that has a hierarchical global structure. Long term goals of this project include: to establish mileposts in deaf children's narrative discourse competence that can be used by teachers, and to investigate whether any differences between deaf children with deaf parents and those with hearing parents exist in terms of the development of narrative discourse competence. In the short term, we will be looking at only two or three factors that contribute to narrative discourse compeat only two or three factors that contribute to narrative discourse competence in deaf children. Implications for curriculum development involving narratives could be profound if deaf children with differing linguistic backgrounds are acquiring ASL in very different ways.


An Investigation of Maternal Behaviors Which Support and Facilitate Symbolic Play of Young Deaf Children
Jan C. Hafer, Patricia S. Spencer

The goal of this project is to define and describe maternal communication strategies that support deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH) children's cognitive-symbolic and linguistic development in the context of play. We know that play supports cognitive and linguistic development by providing the opportunity through which children explore and act on their world. In order for the child to receive maximum benefit from play situations, a more experienced play partner must be involved. Certain maternal behaviors and interactive characteristics promote development in play settings. Although it would seem that similar strategies would support the play of D/HH children, there have been no published reports of the effects of specific maternal behaviors on these children's play. Using both qualitative and quantitative analyses, this study will identify and describe the maternal behaviors that support child symbolic behaviors in play across diverse groups including African-American, Hispanic/Latino-American, Native-American and Euro-American subjects recruited from early intervention programs from across the United States. Results will promote more effective parent involvement in and support of D/HH children's development.


Measuring Phonological Processing in Deaf Readers and Determining Its Importance to Reading Comprehension
Donna Morere, Leonard Kelly, William Kachman

This is a project to conduct library research and pilot testing in preparation of a competitive outside funding proposal to study phonological processing in deaf readers. The ultimate undertaking has two related goals: (1) to determine conclusively whether competence in phonological processing constitutes a component of cognition that is critical to effective comprehension by deaf readers, and (2) to identify, modify, or develop instrumentation for effectively measuring phonological competence in deaf readers. In pursuing these two goals, the project adresses Gallaudet Research Priorities #1, English Language Literacy, and #4, Assessment. The study constitutes a collaboration among three Gallaudet units: the Psychology Department, the Mental Health Center, and the Gallaudet Research Institute. Team members will conduct a thorough literature search, solicit the advice and possibly the participation of authorities in this area of research, meet regularly to evaluate the alternative research methods, administer and analyze pilot versions of measurement instruments and experimental tasks, and prepare a funding proposal to an apropriate agency.


Deaf-parented Adoptive Families: The Effects of Perceptions of Entitlement and Perceptions of Social Support on Family Functioning
Barbara J. White

The purpose of this ex post facto, multi-method study is (1) to quantitatively measure the effect of Deaf adoptive parents' perceptions of entitlement and their perceptions of social support on their perceptions of family functioning, and (2) to triangulate the findings by qualitatively describing the post-adoption experiences of Deaf parents, their sense of entitlement to their Deaf child, their use of social support, and their perceptions of their adoption experiences. The quantitative hypothesis is: controlling for child's age and additional disability, the stronger the social support and the stronger the perception of entitlement in Deaf-parented adoptive famillies, the higher the level of family functioning. Qualitative questions will evolve around the issues of informal and formal support networks of Deaf adoptive families, the nature of Deaf adoptive parents' feelings of entitlement to their Deaf child and their perceptions of resource availability before and after the adoption is finalized. Entitlement will be an important theme for Deaf adoptive parents due to their strong sense of Deaf cultural identity and cultural continuity. Social support, in the form of both informal and formal support systems, will also be important; it is expected that informal networks will take on more importance than formal support systems due to cultural and communication barriers with adoption agencies and their inexperience with Deaf people and Deaf culture. A qualitative methodology adds richness to the investigation of a population of adopters since there is no empirical research on Deaf adoptive families.

[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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