An educational philosophy known as, Bilingual-Bicultural approach in ASL and English, began to emerge in schools during the late 1980s in the United States and in other countries such as Denmark (Hansen, 1994) and Sweden (Svartholm, 2010). The ASL/English bilingual-bicultural approach aim to support academic success and provide education to DHH students that emphasizes various language abilities. In other words, this model promotes the development of ASL as a medium for acquiring English literacy skills (Hoffmeister & Caldwell, 2014). Bilingual“bicultural philosophy argues that acquiring sign language as their first language can influence acquisition of reading skills. Cummins (1981) proposes a theory of Linguistic Interdependence which also argues that acquiring sign language as a first language can influence acquisition of reading skills as many literature show there is a correlation between ASL and English skills (Hermans, Knoors, Ormel, & Verhoeven, 2008; Hoffmeister, 2000; Padden & Ramsey, 1998, 2000; Strong & Prinz, 1997; Israelite et al., 1992; Rodda, Cumming, & Fewer, 1993).
Lange, Lane-Outlaw, Lange, and Sherwood (2013) examined DHH students whom were exposed to the model for at least 4 years and compared academic growth, using the Northwest Evaluation Association’s Measure of Academic Progress Literacy assessment, among a nationally normed group consisting mostly hearing students. They found that students who attended Bi-Bi school for approximately 8 years caught up and outperformed the comparison group consisting of mostly hearing students. Similarly, Geeslin (2007) found that reading comprehensions and language subtests scores of DHH students between ages 13 to 18 years old significantly improved when their school introduced the bilingual approach as opposed to before school switched to the bilingual model. Several other additional studies have also shown support for bilingual programs promoting literacy growth and achievement in DHH students (Hrastinski & Wilbur, 2016; Knoors & Marschark, 2012; Mayer & Akamatsu, 2003; Mayer & Leigh, 2010).
In the current study, DHH students in our sample are educated in curricular areas using the ASL/English bilingual model. While other studies limited the inclusion criteria such as students must have had exposure to bilingual model for a minimum amount of years, this study will compare variability of students’ length of time they attended the bilingual school. The school psychology team, over the years, have stored all academic assessments and school records in their archrivals. For researchers, an archival database like this offers a unique method for studying and collecting secondary data. This study will use archrival longitudinal data to investigate progress of DHH students’ academic achievements, particularly in the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) in English literacy. The MAP is a research-based assessment system administered to nearly 10 million students from more than 7,400 school systems (MAP fact sheet PDF). These assessments are important for teachers because they can track growth in basic skills and see where students’ strengths and weaknesses are in specific subject areas. Teachers use these assessment reports to help them develop instruction plans.
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