Achievements Of Deaf Pupils In Scotland

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There has been considerable concern over standards within the education of deaf pupils for many years. In 1979, a major piece of research involving deaf school leavers, carried out by Reuben Conrad, revealed a mean reading age of 9.0 in a sample of 469 pupils. This research also showed that deaf children were no better than "untrained hearing children" at lip-reading. (Conrad, p189) Amongst many other depressing conclusions, Conrad argued that "...many deaf students leave school massively disabled with respect to their ability to understand speech, to be understood when they speak, or to comprehend meaning in written language." (p xi)

Of course, this research was carried out over twenty years ago and we might expect that there has been positive progress since that time. However, we still do not know whether this is the case or not. In 1998, the DfEE commissioned a literature review of the Educational Achievements of Deaf Children. This review confirmed the lack of any major research studies of the achievements of deaf children since Conrad's work. The writers therefore argue that "We have no evidence to demonstrate an overall significant improvement in the education of deaf children since Conrad's study." (p8) It is also worth pointing out that the majority of the research articles and reports covered in the DfEE review, were carried out outside of the UK, particularly in the USA and there is no specifically Scottish-oriented research.

Concerns that deaf children are not being enabled to achieve their full potential have also been expressed by the Deaf voluntary organisations. Reports of HMI in Scotland have also raised matters of concern. It is against this background that the application to carry out a major study into the achievements of deaf pupils in Scotland was developed. The research team are obtaining accurate information about deaf pupils' attainments and about standards in, for example, language, literacy and numeracy. However, the team are also developing mechanisms for feeding back in a positive way to pupils, parents and teachers on assessment outcomes.

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Maintained by ADPS Webmaster | Last updated on 05 March 2013

University of Edinburgh

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