Struggling or failing mathematics in high school often means that deaf learners cannot enter institutions of higher education.
Dr. Nolan Damon made innovative findings in a new study done at Stellenbosch University in South Africa as part of his Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies.
Dr. Damon, currently a math teacher at the Nuwe Hoop Centre for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, received his Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies at Stellenbosch University Faculty of Education. He explains that mathematics assessments or tests at school are done in writing (pen and paper-based assessment). This proved to be challenging to deaf learners as they struggle with language, reading and interpretation issues. Added to this challenge is the issue of language structure and limited mathematics sign language vocabulary.
As part of his research, Damon designed Online Mathematics Assessments (OMA) for Grade 8 learners at the Nuwe Hoop Centre.
He used a quiz module in Moodle, which is a free and widely used open-source software package, as well as two mathematic software plugins (GeoGebra and WIRIS) to test the learners' understanding of mathematical functions which are crucial in our everyday lives.
Moodle quizzes can be used for, among others, exams preparation, continuous assessments, and to measure learners' understanding of content knowledge.
Online Maths Assessments (OMA) allows learners to use smart phones, tablets and laptops to take the assessment. Sign Language can be incorporated within the OMA with ease which means these learners will be provided with assessments in their Home Language.
This OMA can assist these learners in their understanding of difficult concepts and can make their studies so much better if they have access to subject content in their own language, i.e. Sign Language.