04 SES 13 B, Student Achievement
We report on two linked but independent research projects which both attempt to explore the achievement of a very wide range of deaf pupils. In both Sweden and Scotland pupils with mild or moderate hearing loss are usually educated in mainstream schools, but in Sweden severely and profoundly deaf pupils are more likely to attend a school for deaf children than in Scotland, where resource-bases in ordinary schools are more common for this group of deaf pupils.
The research in Sweden (N = 1,275) and Scotland (N= 540) focuses on young people at the age of 16 at the end of compulsory secondary schooling. Both research projects wanted to explore the factors leading to underachievement in deaf pupils. These have been attributed to late diagnosis, failure to establish a fluent first language in the early years, lack of access to the curriculum, having an additional impairment and possibly having teachers or support workers who don’t have the correct skills or experience (Marschark et al, 2011).
The research questions for the Scottish study were:
1. How do the academic, social, and vocational outcomes for deaf children compare to those in the wider population of children / school leavers in Scotland?
2. What patterns of intervention, support, and educational methods lead to the most successful outcomes for deaf children?
In Sweden The National Agency for Special Schools for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing aimed to analyse and report any differences in goal fulfilment between pupils at special schools. The goal of the first stage of secondary education in Sweden is to be eligible to progress to the upper secondary school, which 90% of Swedish pupils achieve. They Agency was concerned that fewer than expected deaf young people were studying at university (Rydberg et al, 2009).
Deaf pupils in Sweden may attend a special school (23%), which follows a sign bilingual approach, or if they are less severely deaf a school for partially deaf children (16%), or they may have a mainstream placement (61%) (Hendar, 2009). In comparison deaf pupils in Scotland may attend a special school, which includes schools for deaf children (10%), or they may attend a resource base in a mainstream school (6%) or be individually placed in their local mainstream school (84%) (Weedon et al, 2012).
In both studies the classification of deafness adopted was not just based on audiological thresholds. The Swedish study first received information from audiology clinics about children with at least mild deafness and then used parents’ functional assessment of their children’s hearing. The Scottish study included any deaf child who received at least two visits from a teacher of deaf children each year. During the period of these studies (2002 – 2006 in Sweden and 2000 – 2010 in Scotland) in both countries an increasing proportion of the profoundly deaf group has had a cochlear implant (CI), and the average age of implantation has also dropped during this period. The outcomes for this group of young people were of interest in both studies.
Grimes, M., Thoutenhoofd, E. & Byrne, D. 2007. “Language Approaches Used With Deaf Pupils in Scottish Schools: 2001–2004”. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education 12, nr 4: 530- 551. Hendar, O. 2009. Goal Fulfilment in Schools for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, Örebro: Specialskolemyndigheten (SPM) Marschark, M., Spencer, P. E., Adams, J., & Sapere, P. (2011). Evidence-based practice in educating deaf and hard-of-hearing children: teaching to their cognitive strengths and needs. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 26(1), 3-16. Rydberg, E., Gellerstedt, L. C., & Danermark, B. (2009). Toward an Equal Level of Educational Attainment Between Deaf and Hearing People in Sweden? Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 14(3), 312-323. Weedon, E., Ahlgren, L., Riddell, S. & Sugden, J. (2012) The Education of Children and Young People with a Sensory Impairment in Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Sensory Centre / Centre for Research in Education Inclusion and Diversity.
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