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Accountability-Based Reforms
The Impact on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

Stephanie W. Cawthon

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The First Volume in the Deaf Education Series

From the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Stephanie Cawthon is at the University of Texas and has presented at national conferences and written extensively on the impact of educational policies on students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Her recent book is a compelling examination of the issues arising from the implementation of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation in relation to school-aged children who are deaf or hard of hearing, their teachers, and their families. The author states that the intended audience is those who are directly affected by the NCLB legislation: teachers, school administrators, parents, psychologists, counselors, speech-language pathologists, interpreters, students in the educational system, or graduate students in deaf studies. I would add that agencies serving families with deaf and hard of hearing children, legislators, and federal and state policymakers would also find this book very valuable.

The author begins by providing a historical overview of deaf education including student demographics, changing trends in studentsí educational placements, and findings from literacy research. She then briefly outlines the history of education reform initiatives and describes the difficulty in obtaining accurate data on the number of children in the United States who have a hearing loss due to the statesí reporting requirements of categorizing students by only the primary and not the secondary disability. Several chapters include the authorís analysis of the complex topic of administering tests to students who are deaf or hard of hearing and the validity issues inherent in interpreting these assessment results. Each of the eight chapters provides thoughtful recommendations for educational policy. changes, additional research, and future action by educators and parents.

Throughout the book, the author clearly explains the challenges in implementing NCLB legislation when considering low incidence populations such as students who are deaf and hard of hearing. For example, she argues that the current discrepancies across states and at the local level for reporting progress of mainstreamed students as opposed to those attending schools for the deaf may inadvertently skew our understanding of the overall national progress of students who are deaf or hard of hearing. States may unintentionally bury test results of students who are deaf or hard of hearing by reporting these small numbers of scores with the overall districtsí results to avoid breaching confidentiality legislation. Another barrier she describes is the nonstandard methods used across states for interpreting assessment results when students use accommodations during administration of achievement tests.

This insightful book provides an analysis of the impact of NCLB policies on stakeholders involved in the education of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The author includes practical suggestions for reform, extensive resources, and references for further reading. This well-researched text is a valuable contribution to educators of students who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as the broader field of general education.

Stephanie W. Cawthon is Assistant Professor, School Psychology Program, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Texas, Austin, TX.

Print Edition

ISBN 978-1-56368-485-2, 1-56368-485-3, 6 x 9 casebound, 188 pages, tables, figures, references, index

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ISBN 978-1-56368-486-9, 1-56368-486-1

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