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Assessing Deaf Adults

Critical Issues in Testing and Evaluation

Judith L. Mounty and David S. Martin, Editors, Foreword by Oscar P. Cohen

Publication Year: 2005

Historically, deaf and hard of hearing people have demonstrated various levels of competence in a multitude of professions, but they also have experienced discrimination and oppression. In five critical sections, this volume responds to the tidal wave of high-stakes testing that has come to dominate educational policy and qualification for various occupations. It provides a digest of relevant research to meet the testing challenge, including work done by educational researchers, legal experts, test developers, and others. Section I frames the contexts facing deaf and hard of hearing individuals and those who test them, including a telling historical perspective. In Section II, chapters explore how deaf and hard of hearing candidates can meet the rigors of test-taking, how to level the playing field with a new approach to assessment, and what to consider to develop fully accessible licensing tests. The final chapter in this part examines the psychometric properties of intellectual assessments when used with deaf and hard of hearing people. Administrative issues constitute Section III, beginning with legal considerations related to equity testing for deaf adults. An exploration of the potential of sign language interpretation in the testing environment follows. Section IV provides case studies of deaf and hard of hearing adults from a variety of professions, including certification testing for therapeutic recreation, preparation strategies for university students, and ways to maximize access to licensure for social workers. A separate chapter addresses the impact of recent federal mandates on assessment of deaf and hard of hearing teachers and teaching candidates. The final section summarizes the current situation and presents recommendations to manage it, concluding with an epilogue on directions for the future.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press


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pp. vii-ix

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pp. xi-xiii

I’m a cautious guy. I want to know that my doctor, barber, and auto mechanic have passed tests before they work on me, my hair, or my car. The same applies to the neighborhood firefighters, police, and my grandchildren’s teachers. At the same time, I am a believer in equal opportunity and social justice. Historically, deaf and hard of hearing people have demonstrated various levels of competence in a multitude of jobs, in a ...

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pp. xiv

In any undertaking of the considerable breadth and depth as is this volume, a number of individuals are indispensable to its completion. We would like to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of these persons. First, we express gratitude to Ivey Pittle-Wallace of Gallaudet University Press, for her patience, guidance, and unstinting support throughout the entire process of assembling this book. Second, we would like to thank current ...

Section I. The Context

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Overview of the Challenge

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pp. 3-10

A significant part of the story of American education since the 1970s has been the steady growth in the access certain groups have to services and opportunities that were heretofore closed to them because of the lack of legal protections. For persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, that increase in legal access has resulted from three specific pieces of legislation: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act ...

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Historical Reflections on Testing Individuals Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

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pp. 11-23

For many years, I was a staff member at Educational Testing Service (ETS) in New Jersey, where (among other pursuits) I was intimately involved with test development issues related to accommodations and fairness for test-takers who have disabilities. My prior experience with deaf or hard of hearing individuals was only in relation to adults who had acquired difficulty with their hearing but had grown up as native speakers of ...

Section II. Test Development Issues

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Test-Taking for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals: Meeting the Challenges

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pp. 27-36

Even the most able and accomplished deaf and hard of hearing people often do not do well on standardized tests. The principal author remembers consoling a deaf college classmate whose Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores were very low. She was a straight-A student, well respected by peers and professors alike for her intellect and work ethic—but as she read her score report, she was devastated. She thought her dreams of graduate school were fading away.

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Access Considerations and the Provision of Appropriate Accommodations: A Research Perspective From a Testing Organization

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pp. 37-53

Fair assessment of examinees with disabilities has been a growing national concern since the early 1990s. The 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) made the regulations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973) mandatory for private agencies. The major focus of the new regulations was the removal of physical barriers. However, the regulations apply to, and have had great impact on, less overt barriers in educational settings.

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Use of Technology and Principles of Universal Design to Improve the Validity and Fairness of Licensure Tests

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pp. 54-64

I do not speak French. I studied French for three years in high school, but despite my parents hiring a private tutor to work with me, I found it a great struggle and almost failed. In fact, the only reason I passed is because the oral comprehension section—worth 40% of the test—was not standardized. Yes, everyone took the same questions (this was a New York State Regents Examination, so every French III student ...

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Considerations in Developing Licensing Tests That Are Accessible for All Candidates

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pp. 65-74

Currently, state licensing laws directly affect about one-fifth, and perhaps as much as one-third, of the workforce (Young, 2004). The position in favor of licensing has consistently been that it protects the public from incompetents, charlatans, and quacks in important occupations or fields of practice. Generally, a state licensing board, receiving its charter from the state legislature, enforces and maintains control over a licensed occupation.

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The Psychometric Properties of Intellectual Tests When Used With Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals: Practices and Recommendations

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pp. 75-89

Suppose a young, motivated deaf man, named Michael, seeks assistance from the state vocational rehabilitation agency. Michael hopes to attend Gallaudet University to study accounting. He sees a rehabilitation counselor for the deaf, Ruth, who is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL), but who has no advanced training in psychological assessment or measurement. The psychologist under contract tests Michael, as part of the eligibility determination for services. The psychologist is not trained to work with ...

Section III. Administrative Issues

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Equity in Testing Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals—Legal Considerations

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pp. 93-108

A spectrum of laws supports individuals with disabilities and protects them from discrimination based on their disability. The three primary federal laws that affect individuals with disabilities are the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).1 The thrust and impetus of these laws is inclusion: providing ...

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Sign Language Interpretation in Testing Environments

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pp. 109-122

As a professional sign language interpreter, I was once assigned to interpret the written portion of the driving test for a young deaf adult. We met at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and after an extensive wait, entered the testing area. Although I had long since forgotten most of what was asked on the driver’s test, I still had a general sense of the content. (If this had been a test on “Queen Anne-Style Architecture” or “Physical Properties of Suspension Bridges,” that would most certainly not be the case.) Content knowledge is just one of many important factors to consider for successful test interpretation.

Section IV. Cases From Specific Professions

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Certification Testing for Therapeutic Recreation: Equity, Access, and Preparation

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pp. 125-137

Therapeutic recreation is a discipline that is grounded in the idea of leisure, recreation, and the enhancement of one’s quality of life. As such, it is practiced in health care, human service, and community settings. One can find therapeutic recreation professionals in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, community recreation and park agencies, group homes, day care programs, and corrections facilities. According to the National Therapeutic Recreation Society (2000),

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GRE Performance and the Deaf Community

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pp. 138-148

This chapter focuses on Deaf community experiences, perspectives, and concerns related to performance on the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). The GRE is administered by the Educational Testing Services under the direction of the Graduate Record Examinations Board, which is affiliated with the Association of Graduate Schools and the Council of Graduate Schools. The study on which this chapter is based arose as an incidental activity resulting from a National Science Foundation (NSF) ...

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Maximizing Access to Licensure for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Social Workers

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pp. 149-155

Early studies on the testing of individuals from diverse ethnic groups reported that “minority group children suffer intellectual deficits when compared with their ‘more advantaged’ peers” (Cole & Bruner, 1971, p. 868). One might suggest that today’s testing procedures are more refined, better developed, and more rigorously studied. While that suggestion may be true, evidence suggests a continuation of differential testing patterns among individuals from various cultural and ethnic groups (McDowell, 1992).

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New Hurdles: The Impact of Recent Federal Mandates on the Assessment of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teachers and Teacher Candidates

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pp. 156-168

Few educators or laypersons would quarrel with the goals of two recent federal mandates that affect teacher education: Title II of the Higher Education Act of 1998, and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. It is doubtful that anyone would argue with the underlying premises that (a) teacher education can and should be improved, or that (b) every child deserves a highly qualified teacher in the classroom. However, how one goes about achieving these goals has been a source of controversy over the years, as well ...

Section V. Summing Up

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Summary and Recommendations

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pp. 171-173

When we review the numerous chapters by well-qualified authors in this book, including their penetrating analyses and proposals for needed directions in the field of assessing adults who are deaf or hard of hearing, we see a wide variety of messages. Yet, we also see some commonalities and, by inference, a number of long overdue recommendations, policies, and practices. Let us look first at a synthesis of these various analyses.

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Epilogue: Fort Monroe Revisited

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pp. 174-179

Many deaf and hard of hearing adults today are experiencing great difficulty passing professional certification and licensing examinations—what we call “high stakes” tests. This situation is most unfortunate considering their great strides in achieving professional status in recent decades in many fields. Today, there are deaf and hard of hearing K–12 teachers, university professors, social workers, clinical and school psychologists, certified public accountants, ...


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pp. 181-186


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pp. 187-193

E-ISBN-13: 9781563683343
E-ISBN-10: 1563683342
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563683237
Print-ISBN-10: 1563683237

Page Count: 208
Illustrations: 4 figures
Publication Year: 2005