#CER100 #2: Exploring alternative assessments for signing deaf candidates (O’Neill et al)

O’Neill, R., Cameron, A., Burns, E., & Quinn, G. (2020). Exploring alternative assessments for signing deaf candidates. Psychology in the Schools, 57(3), 344-361. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22326

This paper describes two related studies, and the second is considered here; namely exploring the use of video questions in assessment of chemistry. As with much work grounded in accessibility, the paper prompts lots of ideas that could be valuable in mainstream.

The project was a feasability study looking at developing sign videos that could be incorporated into an examination paper for scottish school children as part of their national examination. Text and video (signed in British sign language) were presented to students. Amazingly, the interface also allowed pupils to record their signed response. Among the analysis, some interesting findings. Pupils were generally positive about the signed exams, with one comment noting that it can be embarrassing to ask interpreter to repeat the question; whereas the video allows students to replay as often as they like. Pupils and teachers noted that the quality of signing was much better. Pupils also finished the exam without needing the extra 25% time allowance.

I think apart from the obvious benefits for Deaf and hard of hearing pupils, this system opens up a lot of opportunity in digital assessment. Immediately I imagine interactions where a question could involve watching a practical procedure and being asked to comment, or listening to two chemists discuss a reaction mechanism and being asked to discuss what aproach is feasible. Quite a lot of interesting approaches could emerge from this. One to watch!