Assessment Equity for Deaf Students: The Nexus between Disability and English Language Learners, Stephanie Cawthon and Jennifer Higgins
Presentation Summary: Designing accessible assessments for deaf students involves considerations of both accessibility of tests and language-learning experiences of deaf students. This presentation will address decisions on accommodations and language translations of assessments. The presenters will share perspectives on test accessibility for deaf students and sample cases of complex intersections of accessible assessment and accountability.
Dr. Stephanie Cawthon is a leading scholar in the field and has a deep grasp of the fundamental issues that affect postsecondary success for deaf individuals. With bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her training is world class. She examines factors related to deaf individuals and their preparation for postsecondary settings, as well as designing accessible learning environments, effective professional development, and culturally relevant and rigorous research design. She has taught deaf postsecondary students in both face-to-face and online platforms. Her personal experience as a deaf person is integrated into her understanding of what it means to navigate academic and professional contexts. Her Deaf and Hard of Hearing Institute within the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk (MCPER) at The University of Texas at Austin was designed specifically to provide the highest-quality research-to-practice translation and support to professionals and individuals in the field.
Jen Higgins has 15 years of experience managing research and development programs that focus on accessibility. Over this time, she has led the coordination of three Enhanced Assessment Grant (EAG) projects and has directed all activities for a fourth, which focused on research and development of guidelines for American Sign Language (ASL) and audio representation of K-12 assessment content. At NDC, Jen coordinates the process of identifying, studying, and disseminating practices at sites across the country that support positive outcomes for deaf individuals. Jen has published more than one dozen articles and has co-authored one book on high-stakes testing. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia and a Master’s Degree in Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation from Boston College.