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IES Grant

Title: Building Math Readiness in Young Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing Children: Parents as Partners
Center: NCSER Year: 2009
Principal Investigator: Kritzer, Karen Awardee: Kent State University
Program: Early Intervention and Early Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 7/1/2009 through 6/30/2012 Award Amount: $794,087
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324A090145

Purpose: Despite a national focus on school readiness and mathematics achievement, deaf and hard-of-hearing (D/HH) students continue to demonstrate low-levels of achievement in various areas of mathematics involving both computation and problem solving. Although there is limited research documenting precisely when these low achievement levels begin, recent studies indicate that D/HH children may begin formal schooling already performing at levels below their hearing peers. There is a national need to intervene early with young D/HH children in order to close the gap in mathematics achievement that exists between this population and their hearing peers.

The purpose of this project is to develop and document the feasibility of an online program that will help parents of pre-school D/HH children increase their child’s readiness for school mathematics. The rationale for using an online program is the low-incidence and vast geographical distribution of the deaf population. The intervention will be based on natural, daily activities and increasing parents’ awareness of their role in mediating their child’s learning. The project will investigate whether involvement in the program influences parent behavior in their interactions with their children to stimulate early mathematics learning in the home, the degree to which this impacts D/HH children’s understanding of fundamental mathematics concepts, and the extent to which the presentation of that intervention (in-person vs. online) is related to that change.

Project Activities: In the first year, the research team will recruit Phase I (in-person training) participants, collect and code baseline data on the children, develop and implement five in-person, full-day workshops, collect and analyze implementation and post-intervention data on children, and revise the intervention based on the Phase I results. The project team will also begin to recruit for the next phase and develop the on-line version of the Parents as Partners intervention. For Phase 2 conducted in the second year, the team will gather and analyze baseline data, complete and implement the online version of the intervention, and collect and analyze implementation and post-intervention student data. In the third year, the team will complete the analysis for in-person and online interventions, and revise and refine the intervention, materials, and procedures, and prepare an online prototype of the intervention. Measures developed for this study will also be refined.

Products: This project will result in an online program that is intended to help parents of pre-school D/HH children increase their child’s readiness for school mathematics. Data on the feasibility and promise of the online approach for improving preschool D/HH children’s math readiness as compared with an in-person intervention will also be available.

Structured Abstract

Setting: In-person workshops will be conducted in Kansas. The subsequently developed on-line parent program will be offered to families in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

Population: Ten families with D/HH children between the ages of 3-5 years will be recruited for Phase 1 (in-person) and approximately 20 families for Phase 2 (online).

Intervention: A series of five workshops or online modules will each focus on a theme: math in cooking and mealtimes; math in daily routines (bedtime, morning rituals, etc.); math out in the world (while shopping, traveling in the car, etc.); math in cultural events (holiday celebrations, religious events); and math in games and activities. Parents will learn to visually communicate mathematics language related to the themes (e.g., measurement and quantity vocabulary related to cooking). Parents will learn to recognize indications of their children’s awareness of number concepts, geometry/spatial sense, measurement, categorization, and problem solving. The program will include authentic (live and videotaped) examples to model targeted concepts and skills including questioning, eye contact, and proper signing.

The workshops will also focus on the following mediation and interaction techniques: (1) Intentionality and reciprocity—communicating with a purpose, obtaining visual attention, responding to communication attempts, and focusing on stimuli that are engaging to the child; (2) Transcendence and meaning—asking questions that encourage critical thinking or comparison with previous experience; and (3) Mediating feelings of competence and regulating behavior—encouraging children to slow down and think rather than respond impulsively, encouraging planning and persistence, and using specific praise that is focused on the child’s attempts at learning.

Research indicates that a valuable feature of effective programs is the opportunity for parent collaboration with peers and experts, so the workshops/modules will be supplemented by regular discussions and “chats” via personal video conferencing and Wikispace technology.

Research Design and Methods: The Parents as Partners online intervention will be developed iteratively in two phases. In Phase 1, five in-person workshops will be developed and implemented with parents of deaf or hard of hearing preschoolers. The workshop content and materials will be revised based on parent feedback during and after the workshops. In Phase 2, the workshops will be transferred to an electronic format and posted on an established website for parents to access. As in Phase I, the online workshop modules will be revised based on parent feedback during and after parents have completed the modules. For both the in-person and online implementation of the intervention, data will be collected on the feasibility and usability of the Parents as Partners intervention, as well as on the promise of the intervention to stimulate early mathematics learning and improve parent-child interactions.

Control Condition: There is no control condition.

Key Measures: Parent measures include videotapes of parent-child interactions during specified activities in the home (e.g., bathing routines), electronic daily logs and journals documenting children’s awareness of early math concepts, exchanges during wikispace collaboration/coaching sessions, and parent surveys. Child measures include a standardized measure of developing mathematics ability and a set of mathematically-oriented performance-based tasks focused on number/counting, geometry/spatial sense, measurement, categorization, and problem solving.

Data Analytic Strategy: Data will be analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative methods. For children, pre- and post-intervention comparisons will be made across both the standardized test and performance assessment data, looking for promise that children’s knowledge and their use of mathematical language and problem-solving strategies have changed over the course of the intervention. Parent data will be analyzed to evaluate the promise of the success of the intervention in training strategies for developing mathematics skills and use of mathematics concepts in the home; and to continue development of the intervention. Parents’ evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the workshops/modules and the research team’s analysis of trained strategies that are not being used in the home observations are examples of ways that the data will inform intervention revisions and refinements. Findings from each phase will also be compared to assess differences between in-person and online intervention implementation.

Products and Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Kritzer, K. L., and Pagliaro, C. M. (2013). An Intervention for Early Mathematical Success: Outcomes from the Hybrid Version of the Building Math Readiness Parents as Partners (MRPP) Project. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 18(1): 30–46. doi:10.1093/deafed/ens033 Full text

Pagliaro, C.M., and Kritzer, K.L. (2013). The Math Gap: A Description of the Mathematics Performance of Preschool-Aged Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing Children. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 18(2): 139–160. doi:10.1093/deafed/ens070 Full text