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A century of research supports the negative impacts of hearing loss on the development of English language skills (i.e. reading and writing) between hearing children and children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing (DHH) (Marschark & Harris, 1996; Rose, McAnally & Quigley, 2004; Marschark, Lang & Albertini, 2002). Progress-monitoring systems currently used by teachers of DHHstudents are typically unreliable, complex, and time consuming (Esterbrooks & Huston, 2007), provide little functional information for feedback and instructional decision making, and do little to promote learning (Ewoldt, 1987). Likewise, standardized tools designed for the general population are insensitive to DHH students’ progress, lack validity and reliability (Kelly, 2005; Luckner & Streckler, 2007; Odom et. al., 2005), and are difficult to interpret (Yoshinago-Itano, Snyder, & Mayberry, 1996). Furthermore, available paper-pencil measures (e.g., grade level MAZE passages) are insensitive to small increments of growth exhibited by beginning DHHreaders (Rose et al., 2004).

Design Overview

Research suggests DHH teachers have difficulty using the results of existing progress-monitoring measures to determine if their instruction, assessments, and feedback lead to improved student progress in reading and writing (Yoshinago-Itano et al., 1996). Therefore, teachers of DHH children typically resort to subjective impressions and anecdotal information, often resulting in feedback and assessment information that is unused, misused, or misunderstood. This is the challenge we are addressing in the development of AvenueDHH, a universally accessible e-assessment environment for DHH teachers, students, and parents. The goal of AvenueDHH is to transform the assessment, feedback, and progress-monitoring strategies in reading, writing, and language development for DHH students in first through eighth grade. The system is comprised of seven categories of assessment tasks (i.e., picture naming, photo description, word slash tests, re-designed MAZE passages, signed/oral reading, story retell, and story completion) and supports the digital capture of multiple communication modalities (i.e., oral, signed, and Cued Speech) and languages (i.e., ASL and English) common to children with hearing loss in the U.S.

The feedback- and assessment-specific development for AvenueDHH includes (1) the implementation of teacher- and student-driven goal-setting, modification, and reflection tools; (2) the design of tailored interactive information visualization feedback components specific to the needs of teachers, students, and parents; and (3) the alignment of student feedback with the nature of each reading or writing assessment.


Miller, C. (2011). Aesthetics and e-assessment: The interplay of emotional design and learner performance. Distance Education, 32(3), 307-337.

Miller, C., Doering, A., & Scharber, C. (2010). No such thing as failure, only feedback: Designing innovative opportunities for e-assessment and technology-mediated feedback. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 21(1), 65-92.

Miller, C., Hooper, S., Rose, S., Montalto-Rook, M. (2008). Transforming e-assessment in American Sign Language: Pedagogical and technological enhancements in online language learning and performance assessment. Learning, Media and Technology, 33(3), 155-168.

Miller, C., & Hooper, S. (2008). Avenue ASL: Transforming curriculum through design, theory, and innovation. Tech Trends, 52(3), 27-32.


AvenueDHH research and design was supported in part by grants from Stepping Stones, US Department of Education.


Additional References

Esterbrooks, S. & Huston, S. G. (2008) The signed reading fluency of students who are deaf/ hard of hearing. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 13, 1, 37-54.

Ewoldt, C. (1987). Reading tests and the deaf reader. Perspectives for Teachers of the Hearing Impaired, 4, 10-13.

Kelly, R. (2005). Pebbles in the Mainstream: The future of research in the Education of the Deaf: Considerations to alternatives to traditional face-to-face data collection strategies. Montreal: American Education Research Association.

Luckner, J. J., & Streckler, P . (2007). Survey of teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing use and attitudes toward CBM and progress monitoring. Association of College Educators. Deaf/Hard of Hearing Annual Conference. Pittsburgh, PA: January.

Marschark, M., & Harris, M. (1996). Success and failure in learning to read: The special case of deaf children. In J. Oakhill & C.Cornoldi (Eds.), Children’s reading comprehension disabilities: Processes and intervention (pp. 279-300). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Marschark, M., Lang, H. G., & Albertini, J. A. (2002). Educating deaf students: From research to practice. New York: Oxford University Press.

Odom, S.L., Brantlinger, E., Gersten, R., Horner, R.H., Thompson, B., & Harris, K.R. (2005). Research in special education: Scientific methods and evidence-based practices. Exceptional Children, 71, 181-194.

Rose, S., McAnally, P. L., & Quigley, S. P. (2004). Language learning practices with deaf children (3rd ed.). Austin, TX: PRO-ED.

Yosinaga-Itano, Snyder, L. S. & Mayberry, R. (1996). How deaf and normally hearing students convey meaning within and between written sentences. The Volta Review, 98, (1), 9-38.



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