Performance of deaf children on tests of cognitive linguistic, and academic achievement

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1976

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The purposes of this study were to examine the pattern of cognitive and linguistic abilities of a group of orally trained deaf children to determine the degree of interrelationship among these abilities and to compare the usefulness of abilities and clusters of abilities in the prediction of achievement. The Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities (ITPA), Hiskey-Nebraska Test of Learning Aptitude, and the Stanford Achievement Test, Special Edition for Hearing-Impaired Students (SAT), were administered to 61 children, ranging in age from 6 to 12. It was hypothesized that the test results would show strength in action-oriented skills and weakness in areas involving language, either verbal or nonverbal. This hypothesis was supported by the pattern of scores obtained on the ITPA and Hiskey-Nebraska subtests. On the SAT, performance decreased consistently as age increased. It was hypothesized that cognitive and linguistic abilities would be more separate for this population of deaf children than for normal-hearing children. Clustering of cognitive and linguistic abilities as determined by factor analysis formed five distinct factors. Further evidence of lack of interrelatedness of abilities was found in the large number of subtests useful in predicting achievement in multiple regression analyses. Six to ten subtests were needed to predict the achievement test performance scores, whereas, only one or two subtests have been needed in similar research with normal-hearing children to reach similar levels of prediction. The third hypothesis was that those subtests involving visual speech ability, i.e., the auditory subtests, would be chosen in multiple regression analysis as more useful predictors than overall intellectual ability because of their relatedness to the highly restricted academic curriculum. Although these speech/language subtests were important predictors, they could not be considered more important than visual subtests. ITPA subtests alone were not so effective as the combination of subtests, but the ITPA Psycholinguistic Age proved more useful a predictor than the Hiskey-Nebraska Learning Age. The least useful predictors were found to be the clusters of abilities or factor scores based on previous factor analysis. The need for several areas of research was suggested by the results of this study. Major areas include the need for adaptation and extension of the ITPA to increase its usefulness with deaf children .and the parallel assessment of a similar group of children who have received continuous training in total communication.

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