“Accuracy of Sign Interpreting & Real-Time to Deaf Students” – Karen Sadler, Ph.D., Part 2

“Accuracy of Sign Interpreting & Real-Time to Deaf Students” – Karen Sadler, Ph.D., Part 2

By Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.

Originally published: NCRA JCR, Beyond The Comfort Zone, April 2010

Monette:  Last month I shared “A Number of Firsts In Science Education With Karen Salder, Ph.D.”

Karen created ‘firsts’ graduating with a BS in Neuroscience and acceptance to the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh for graduate work.

Karen was born severely hard of hearing. She lost almost all hearing by 1991 and had a cochlear implant which failed. Then Karen “had to learn ASL, American Sign Language, to be able to get information in school.” Karen Sadler used ASL through her bachelor’s and master’s degree. When she started her Ph.D. work, Karen began to work with CART providers.

Now we share details within Karen’s May 2009 science education doctoral work: “Accuracy of Sign Interpreting and Real-Time Captioning of Science Videos for the Delivery of Instruction to Deaf Students.”

As a preface to Karen Sadler’s doctor of philosophy work I want to share that the term “Deaf” (big D) is a reference for individuals who typically use sign language as their first language. My opinion is this detail will assist court reporters and students to have a greater understanding within Karen’s research.

Karen Sadler: When I started, I worked on the interpreters first. Interpreters were easy to find. I had a horrible time for two years with different people I hired to ‘translate’ tapes with me. One girl sat on it for a year and did hardly anything, and a professional interpreter I know also didn’t do much of anything for a year. I ended up translating the majority of the interpreter tapes with assistance to ensure it was being done correctly.

CART personnel [CART captioning] were easier, except trying to find them. I located some via word of mouth, but had to talk to a couple of groups that do court reporting here. They were all very professional.

In a silent world, Deaf students must rely upon others to get their information in the classroom, especially in public school classrooms, where teachers will be unfamiliar with ASL, American Sign Language, and cannot spend significant time teaching one student with special needs.

It has become necessary to use third-party communicators to convey classroom information. Until recently, sign language interpreters were the usual choice for Deaf students.

With the advent of the computer and court reporting, more and more Deaf students in college, as well as Deaf professionals, are choosing to use court reporters in the classroom.

The drive is on to utilize court reporters in schools from K through 12. But just because third-party communicators are available in a classroom does not guarantee accuracy of delivery, especially in classrooms involving science and math.

With the continuing closure of schools for the Deaf in the United States, and placement of these Deaf students into public schools, it has become necessary to find means to ensure these students obtain the same amount and the same quality of information available to their hearing peers.

Steno-based services are becoming more common in secondary schools, but research is needed to determine how accurate the information is that these students are receiving, especially since Deaf students continue to have problems meeting national standards in science and math.

Since Deaf students must rely upon support services such as interpreters and steno-based systems, it was obvious that the first step was to find out exactly how much science information is actually conveyed to the Deaf students.

In my study, several NASA videotapes were used. Each interpreter and each captioner [CART captioning] were tested separately.

Karen Sadler’s dissertation abstract lists: “The purpose of this study was to quantitatively examine the impact of third-party support service providers on the quality of science information available to deaf students in regular science classrooms.

Three different videotapes that were developed by NASA for high school science classrooms were selected for the study, allowing for different concepts and vocabulary to be examined.

The focus was on the accuracy of translation as measured by the number of key science words included in the transcripts (captions) or videos (interpreted) …”

Interpreters were videotaped, so that what they signed could be documented and translated.

CART personnel [CART captioning] delivered their transcript to me. They were not allowed to correct their mistakes as I wanted to see exactly what Deaf students would see in the classroom.

Many Deaf students lag in reading skills and would not read the voluminous notes given to them. So what they obtained in the classroom, on the screen from a steno-based system, would be the information they would retain.

Three people involved in science ‘scored’ the transcripts. The number of key science words correctly delivered by each individual and each group was counted.

There was a significant difference between what the interpreters were able to deliver versus what the captioners [CART captioning] delivered.

CART providers [CART captioning] had an accuracy of 98% compared to the interpreters’ accuracy rate of 73% and were found to be significantly more accurate in the delivery of science words as compared to sign language interpreters in this study.

The few mistakes made by CART providers [CART captioning] was probably due to the fact that most often a legal dictionary was the software program used, and certain science terms were not recognized by those dictionaries.

Background information provided by all the participants indicated that the amount of training received by court reporters, as well as the fact that the training is standardized across the nation, made a huge difference in the information that would be conveyed to Deaf students.

Interpreters for the Deaf do not receive the same quality of training, nor are they required to meet the same national standards. It varies from state to state and from certification program to program.

So according to this information from this study, does that mean schools should rush out and hire court reporters instead of sign language interpreters for Deaf students? Not necessarily.

Deaf students come at the English language later in life than hearing students.

Their vocabulary is often smaller, and the reading skills required to follow a steno-based system in the classroom may make these systems difficult for some students to follow.

It has yet to be determined if and how much real-time captioning improves learning in Deaf students.

One thing that will determine how much these systems can be used in secondary classrooms, is the speed with which the student will see the captioning on the screen.

Previous research has shown that the faster the rate of captioning, the less understanding there is of the material.

Information that is moved too quickly off the screen not only decreases comprehension, but frustrates Deaf students. If students can be given some type of control over this rate, it may allow for more complete understanding.

Equal access and opportunity in education for Deaf students will not be achievable until they are able to receive the same information as their hearing peers.

Since they depend upon information given to them through third-party communicators, it is vital that that information is correct.

This preliminary research demonstrates that steno-based systems could increase the amount of information that Deaf students receive in public classrooms, and that would probably lead to better achievement in science and math on standardized tests.

Dissertation, details and abstract direct link: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-07212009-201144/

Karen Salder, Ph.D., may be reached: klseduethics@hotmail.com

~~  Named the Court Reporting Whisperer by students, Monette may be reached:  Monette.purplebooks@CRRbooks.com

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Monette Benoit, B. B.A., CCR, CRI, CPE, Paralegal, CART Captioner, Instructor, Consultant, Columnist

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About Monette Benoit:    As a 30+ year court reporter, CART captioner, author of NCRA and State test-prep material, instructor, public speaker, Monette Benoit has taught multiple theories, academics, all speed classes, and 225-homeroom within NCRA-approved schools and a community college. She understands challenges many adults face in our industry.

In 1993, she began to CART caption to a large screen for a Deaf mass, San Antonio, Texas.  Wonderful opportunities then presented from Big D, Little D, Oral Deaf, HOH consumers -each with special moments.

Monette Benoit has worked with thousands of professionals, court reporters, CART captioners, students, instructors. She has helped to create new court reporting training programs, worked with federal grants, and assisted instructors in developing curriculum for both in-class and at-home students.

Her one-on-one tutoring, private coaching, has assisted thousands of students, novice and experienced professionals to reach the next level.

Monette’s Musings is an informative, motivational, and funny blog for busy professionals and students who seek to create their success and who seek to enjoy this special path.

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