Access to Postsecondary Education through Sign Language Interpreting
Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
Year of publication
Despite the importance of sign language interpreting for many deaf students, there is surprisingly little research concerning its effectiveness in the classroom. The limited research in this area is reviewed, and a new study is presented that included 23 interpreters, 105 deaf students, and 22 hearing students. Students saw two interpreted university-level lectures, each preceded by a test of prior content knowledge and followed by a post-lecture assessment of learning. A variety of demographic and qualitative data also were collected. Variables of primary interest included the effects of a match or mismatch between student interpreting preferences (interpreting vs. transliteration) and the actual mode of interpreting, student-interpreter familiarity, and interpreter experience. Results clarify previous contradictory findings concerning the importance of student interpreting preferences and extend earlier studies indicating that deaf students acquire less than hearing peers from interpreted college-level lectures. Issues relating to access and success in integrated academic settings are discussed as they relate to relations among student characteristics, interpreter characteristics, and educational settings.