Effects of real -time captioning and sign language interpreting on the learning of college students who are deaf or hard of hearing

Valorie Smith-Pethybridge, Florida International University


College personnel are required to provide accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing (D/HoH), but few empirical studies have been conducted on D/HoH students as they learn under the various accommodation conditions (sign language interpreting, SLI, real-time captioning, RTC, and both). Guided by the experiences of students who are D/HoH at Miami-Dade College (MDC) who requested RTC in addition to SLI as accommodations, the researcher adopted Merten’s transformative-emancipatory theoretical framework that values perceptions and voice of students who are D/HoH. A mixed methods design addressed two research questions: Did student learning differ for each accommodation? What did students experience while learning through accommodations? Participants included 30 students who were D/HoH (60% women). They represented MDC’s majority minority population: 10% White (non-Hispanic), 20% Black (non-Hispanic, including Haitian/Caribbean), 67% Hispanic, and 3% other. Hearing loss, ranged from severe-profound (70%) to mild-moderate (30%). All were able to communicate with American Sign Language: Learning was measured while students who were D/HoH viewed three lectures under three accommodation conditions (SLI, RTC, SLI+RTC). The learning measure was defined as the difference in pre- and post-test scores on tests of the content presented in the lectures. Using repeated measure ANOVA and ANCOVA, confounding variables of fluency in American Sign Language and literacy skills were treated as covariates. Perceptions were obtained through interviews and verbal protocol analysis that were signed, videotaped, transcribed, coded, and examined for common themes and metacognitive strategies. No statistically significant differences were found among the three accommodations on the learning measure. Students who were D/HoH expressed thoughts about five different aspects of their learning while they viewed lectures: (a) comprehending the information, (b) feeling a part of the classroom environment, (c) past experiences with an accommodation, (d) individual preferences for an accommodation, (e) suggestions for improving an accommodation. They exhibited three metacognitive strategies: (a) constructing knowledge, (b) monitoring comprehension, and (c) evaluating information. No patterns were found in the types of metacognitive strategies used for any particular accommodation. The researcher offers recommendations for flexible applications of the standard accommodations used with students who are D/HoH.

Subject Area

Higher education

Recommended Citation

Smith-Pethybridge, Valorie, "Effects of real -time captioning and sign language interpreting on the learning of college students who are deaf or hard of hearing" (2009). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3380847.