Date of Award

2-25-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Psychology and Special Education

First Advisor

Dr. Susan R. Easterbrooks - Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Kathryn W. Heller - Committee Member

Third Advisor

Dr. Kim Viel-Ruma - Committee Member

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Nicole Patton-Terry - Committee Member

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Phillip Gagne - Committee Member

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine if the frequent use of LanguageLinks: Syntax Assessment and Intervention (LL), produced by Laureate Learning Systems, Inc., as a supplemental classroom activity, affected morphosyntax structures (determiners, tense, and complementizers) in participants who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) and use American Sign Language (ASL). Twenty-six students from an urban day school for the Deaf participated in this study. Two hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) growth curve analyses were used to examine the influence of LL on the comprehension of morphosyntax based on two dependent variables: 1) the scores from LL’s Optimized Intervention (OI; Wilson, 2003) reports; and 2) the scores from a subset of the Comprehension of Written Grammar (CWG; Easterbrooks, 2010) test. The results of the HLM analyses revealed that time was a statistically significant indicator of progress on both dependent variables: 1) LL, t(25) = 4.510, p < .001, and 2) CWG, t(25) = 4.750, p < .001. Two independent variables served as predictors of where the participants started on the level-1 intercept of the growth curve: 1) Degree of Hearing Loss; and 2) Age. The results indicated that Age, t(23) = 2.182, p = .039, was a statistically significant predictor of the level-1 intercept. A second set of independent variables served as predictors of change over time on the growth curve: 1) Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation Norm-Referenced (DELV-NR; Seymour, Roeper, & de Villiers, 2005) pretest scores on the syntax and semantic subtest; and 2) the Basic Reading Inventory (BRI; Johns, 2008) scores. The results indicated that the BRI scores, t(22) = 3.522, p = .002, were statistically significant predictors of change over time on the LL program. A dependent t-test was used to examine the comprehension of morphosyntax based on the third dependent variable of the DELV-NR assessment, and revealed statistically significant results on the syntax subtest, t(25) = -2.394, p = .024. The daily use of LL affected the morphosyntax of the participants in this study and may be an evidence-based practice for students who are DHH and use ASL.

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