Research Journal Articles

ResearchCategory:Research Journal Articles

Specialized Writing Instruction for Deaf Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) involves teaching cognitive writing strategies and apprenticing novices within collaborative writing communities. It is responsive to deaf students’ diverse language experiences through embedded metalinguistic/linguistic components. A randomized controlled trial of SIWI was conducted with 15 teachers and 79 students in grades 3-5. Recount, information report, and persuasive genres were taught across three 9-week periods. Writing samples analyzed for writing traits, language clarity, and language complexity were collected prior to instruction for the genre, immediately following, and 9 weeks after withdrawal of instruction for the genre. Standardized writing measures and motivation surveys were collected at the beginning and end of the academic year. Genre-specific writing outcomes were statistically significant for recount and information report writing, with substantial effect sizes for treatment and maintenance. Standardized writing outcomes mirrored these results. All others variables demonstrated small to moderately large treatment effects, although not all statistically significant.

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ResearchCategory:Research Journal Articles

Transfer of Writing Skills Across Genres

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Thirty-seven deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) students in grades four through six participated in a year of Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction, an approach to writing instruction designed to be responsive to DHH students’ unique language experiences and profiles. The current study investigated the transfer of writing skills between genres by analyzing participants’ recount, information report, and persuasive writing samples at four time points: at the beginning of the academic year, immediately before genre-focused instruction, at the end of 9 weeks of instruction in a genre, and 9 weeks after the conclusion of instruction in a genre. Results from the study demonstrate that DHH students transfer genre-specific writing skills between genres.

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Does Teacher Efficacy Predict Writing Practices Of Teachers Of Deaf And Hard of Hearing Students

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Forty-four elementary grade teachers of deaf and hard of hearing students were surveyed about how they taught writing and their beliefs about writing. Beliefs about writing included their self-efficacy to teach writing, attitude toward writing, and epistemological beliefs about writing. These teachers from fifteen different states in the United States slightly agreed that they were efficacious writing teachers and they were slightly positive about their writing. They slightly agreed that learning to write involves effort and process, moderately disagreed that writing development is innate or fixed, slightly disagreed that knowledge about writing is certain, and were equally split about whether writing knowledge comes from authorities and experts. On average, teachers applied the twenty-two instructional writing practices surveyed at least once a month. They reported their students wrote weekly, and their writing was supported through goal setting, feedback, and prewriting activities. Writing instruction mostly focuses on teaching grammar and how to plan compositions. Teacher self-efficacy uniquely and statistically predicted reported teaching practices after attitude toward writing, and epistemological beliefs were first controlled. Recommendations for future research and implications for practice are presented.


ResearchCategory:Research Journal Articles

Written language outcomes of deaf elementary students engaged in authentic writing

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This study explores the impact of Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) on six students’ written language skills through the application of a multiple-baseline probe single case design with embedded condition. This was part of a larger Institute of Education Sciences (IES)-funded project focused on the development and feasibility of implementation of SIWI. For the majority of skills analyzed, there were improvements in the mean level of performance with the implementation of SIWI, as well as more consistent responding and positive trends in the data. The study also revealed that teachers are in need of additional tools to aid the systematic identification and tracking of syntax skills in children’s written language development, and to distinguish these from other writing skills such as conventions or handwriting.

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Beyond the red pen: A functional grammar approach to evaluating the written language of deaf students

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Deaf students often differ from their hearing peers in written language development.  Providing developmentally appropriate instruction is ideal, yet current methods of writing assessment do not provide teachers with sufficient information regarding the written language (i.e., syntactic) development of deaf students.  In this research, we use a Systemic Functional Grammar (SFG) approach to language analysis to provide teachers a way to evaluate deaf students’ writing. This project consisted of two studies.  The first study focused on whether SFG analysis could be helpful for teachers of the deaf.  The second study focused on mapping a trajectory of the written language development of deaf students and the development of written language inventory for teachers of the deaf. This inventory, along with additional evaluation tools, has the potential to impact both objective setting and instruction.
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The Language Zone: Differentiating writing instruction for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

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Interactive Writing is a powerful support for language and literacy development; however, its emphasis on using oral language to construct written language can present challenges for deaf students due to their unique and diverse language experiences. Teachers (n = 14) using Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) in grades 3–5 were observed using a space referred to as ‘the language zone’ (LZ) to address the needs of deaf students. The LZ is a space in a classroom where the creation, translation and revision of ideas is made visible. Researchers developed a flowchart with three tiers to document the purposes for which teachers use the space. Accompanying scenarios provide concrete examples. Teachers can use the LZ flow chart as a tool to recognize, analyze and select instructional moves that may positively impact the language and literacy proficiencies of deaf students.

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The assessment of written phrasal constructs and grammar of deaf and hard of hearing students with varying expressive language abilities

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The purpose of this study was to examine the written phrasal constructs and grammar usage of deaf and hard of hearing students with varying expressive language skills. Twenty-nine d/hh middle school students attending a residential school for the deaf were divided into three language groups: students using spoken English, ASL/English bilinguals, and language delayed learners. Personal narrative writing samples were collected at the beginning, middle, and end of the academic year. The samples were divided into T-units and coded for language variables, including word efficiency ratio (WER) scores according to the Structural Analysis of Written Language (SAWL) and phrasal errors. The repeated measures ANOVA for WER III showed a statistically significant main effect with no between-subjects factor, demonstrating that students from all three language groups made positive gains in their written outcomes over one academic year. There was a reduction in phrasal errors over the course of the year for all language groups. Differences in word efficiency ratio scores by language groups are discussed. Findings from this study suggest that SAWL is an effective tool in assessing the grammatically of written compositions for d/hh students with varying language abilities over time. Instructional implications are discussed.

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Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction: An efficacy study in grades 3-5

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A quasi-experimental study was conducted to examine the impact of Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction on 3rd-5th grade deaf and hard of hearing students’ writing and written language compared to a business-as-usual condition (treatment group N = 41, comparison group N = 22). A total of 18 hours of instruction was provided for each of two types of writing—personal narrative and persuasive. Writing samples, collected prior to instruction and after, were scored for writing traits, written language accuracy, and complexity. Data were analyzed using a two-level, mixed-effects regression. Results show the treatment to be effective for personal narrative and persuasive writing traits, and personal narrative written language variables, with effect sizes ranging from 0.46 to 2.01. Treatment effects were also substantial for persuasive writing written language outcomes (0.38 to 1.06), although not all were statistically significant at the 0.05 level. The findings suggest the importance of apprenticeship in writing and consideration for the specific language needs of students with hearing loss.

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ResearchCategory:Research Journal Articles

Practices and Routines In SIWI Lessons That Develop Reading Proficiency For D/HH Learners

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The average performance of Deaf and hard of hearing (D/hh) students on tests of reading comprehension is several grade equivalents below their high school hearing peers. This study explored how the reading-writing connection evident in instruction driven with a high fidelity to the principles of Strategic Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) addresses the literacy challenges of D/hh learners. The video footage of SIWI lessons in two grade three classrooms were examined using a comingling of inductive and interpretive analysis and utilizing Spradley’s nine semantic relationships to determine the instructional and learner practices and routines that supported development of word recognition skills. The following instructional and learner practices and routines were identified: engaging students in cognitively demanding discourse that featured extended discourse and persistence in questioning; a high volume of repeated and wide reading; high volume of writing; multiple representation of words with an emphasis on fingerspelling; and attending to language input.

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A three-year study of a professional development program’s impact on teacher knowledge and classroom implementation of Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction

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A professional development (PD) program for Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) integrating effective PD features was implemented with teachers over three years. Using a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), it was examined whether length of participation in PD impacted knowledge and ability to faithfully implement. Findings indicate significant improvements with each year of PD; those who participated for three consecutive years received the highest possible ratings on knowledge as measured by the Levels of Use (LOU) and instruction as measured by the SIWI observation and fidelity instrument. Additionally, because of modifications to the PD program, it was examined whether the year of one’s PD involvement impacted outcomes. Findings reveal that outcomes were strongest during the last year when SIWI mentors were present.

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