# The Deaf Using Test Wise Techniques Education Essay

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This practicum was designed to assist students who are Deaf who found it difficult to score average to high scores on tests. The goal was to get students to achieve high test scores using reciprocal questioning strategies during lessons and teaching students test wise techniques so that they could incorporate these during testing.

The writer used teaching and reinforcement as the method by which to get students to become more confident going into any testing situation. The sample thus applied these techniques to post test situations.

An analysis of the data revealed that students test scores had increased as a result of ReQuest and test wise techniques used; however, more reinforcement was needed for them to better develop these skills.

A significant part of a student's academic progress is his or her ability to take and do well on tests. There are many tests that are given to students to determine where they go in life; from the basic teacher written tests to nationwide standardized tests such as the Grade Four Literacy Test, Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) and CXC. How students perform on these tests, allow teachers and other major contributors to education to know at what level a child is performing. In a school for the deaf in St Andrew it was observed that children within the age group of nine and ten years have difficulties taking tests. During the test taking period it was observed that students did not take the time to read instructions, read the questions and re-read their finished work. Tests are a major part of our lives. However, if children do not have the basic test- taking or test preparation skills; such as reading instructions, reading questions with understanding and also the skills to re-read and correct mistakes they will be at a great disadvantage which may result in them being left behind. For students who are deaf, test- taking skills have to be continuously reinforced as these students tend to lack the basic skills in test- taking. Luckner and Bowen (2002) state that "in order to aid students with hearing loss in testing situations, it is important to know what students of this population tend to do while being tested. Knowing the behaviours students do during testing situations aid teachers in supporting students to continue, alter, or eliminate specific test-taking behaviours. Researchers such as the Gallaudet University have tried to identify solutions for this problem as stated by Mitchell (2011) before IDEA '97 and NCLB, the out-of-level testing procedures developed by the Gallaudet Research Institute provided at least a partial solution to the problem of valid measurement by employing a screening test.

Reciprocal Questioning and test wise techniques were used to help a group of students who are deaf in a grade three class within a school for the Deaf in St. Andrew to improve their test taking skills and thus improve their performances on tests.

## Background and Purpose of Study

Test taking has been a problem for the Deaf for many years. Many students who are deaf go through school not learning how to properly conduct themselves on an examination using the correct test taking procedures. The function and required skills students must bring to a test or assessment are critical when interpreting the meaning of test results and how the information will be used for a particular student within various curricular areas(Garrison, Dowaliby, & Long, 1992 cited in Luckner and Bowen, 2003).

This can greatly hamper the academic and emotional growth of the students as they may feel that they are under achievers because they do not know the contents of a particular subject area or they may lack confidence because they think they are not cognitively developed or in other words "dunce". As seen during this study, many of the students referred to themselves as "dunce" when they were unable to provide correct responses. Hence, we can see from this that testing plays a key role in the students' emotional and academic life. Evidence found by Hembree, 1988 cited in Pekrun, Maier and Elliot, 2009 indicates that anxiety impairs performance on complex or difficult tasks that demand cognitive resources, and correlates negatively with achievement across age groups and academic domains (Hembree, 1988 cited in Pekrun, Maier and Elliot, 2009). Hembree, states that anxiety indeed exerts a negative impact on students' achievement (Meece, Wigfield, & Eccles, 1990; Pekrun, 1992 cited in Pekrun, Maier and Elliot, 2009).

The purpose of this study was to identify and treat test taking problems among a group of grade three students using the reciprocal questioning method which is an aspect of the reciprocal teaching method. The need for proper test taking skills was a problem that was identified in a school for the Deaf in St. Andrew. All students at the school are at the primary level in the education stratum and are performing at different levels in all subject areas. At the grade three level it was found that students were not using the correct procedures while testing thus resulting in lowered test grades. Therefore, the researcher found a need for treatment at this level. At the early stages of schooling it is easier to get a child to develop a positive habit. This becomes more difficult as the child gets older and reaches the adolescent stage of their development . Hence, the researcher has rationalized that starting students off on a practice of test taking at this early stage would help these students as they get older and examinations become more challenging.

## Setting

The twelve weeks practicum took place at a school for the Deaf in St. Andrew, Jamaica. It was observed that a group of grade three students were having difficulty taking and passing tests. The school is in a quiet urban community and is surrounded by one high school, a university and three special education schools inclusive of a High School for the Deaf. Upon entering the school premises, you will see the main gate entrance which is located to the side of the school. This entrance also serves as the main exit from the school compound.

The School building is one storey high and is painted in two distinct colors with drawings on the walls outside each classroom of different areas of science, geography and so on. It consists of eight classes from grades one to six (1 grade 1 class, 1 grade 2 class, 2 grade 3 classes, 1 grade 4 class, 2 grade 5 classes and 1 grade 6 class). The Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD) Pre- School is also located on the school's premises. The buildings and corridor surround a quadrangle which is a grassy area with hedges along the border.

Approximately 89 students who are deaf or hard of hearing (46 boys and 43 girls) attend the school. Approximately 28 teachers are on staff which is inclusive of the Deaf Culture Facilitators (D.C.Fs). The grade three class (of which a sample was taken) is a small classroom located to the right of the school after leaving the offices; it is the first classroom along the corridor.

The classroom was a small area which was well lit and ventilated. The class consisted of eight students; five boys and three girls. Four students were Hard of Hearing, three Deaf and one student had a tracheotomy, but he was able to hear. The teacher of the class is a hearing teacher, who is assisted by a Deaf Culture Facilitator, who aids her in teaching Language Arts and assists in affirming concepts presented to the students in Jamaican Sign Language (JSL).

Based on the lack of proper test taking techniques displayed by these deaf students the researcher has formulated the following questions to help justify the remedy.

## Research Questions:

## The research was guided by the following questions, which will answered later in the study.

Will test wiseness help improve students' performance on tests?

Can reciprocal questioning be used to develop test wiseness?

What other methods have teachers used in order to achieve their goals concerning students who are Deaf's inability to use proper test taking techniques?

Will students benefit from reciprocal questioning/ test taking strategies in a grade three class in a school for the Deaf?

## CHAPTER 2

## Literature Review

Over the years, teachers of the deaf worldwide have been faced with the issues of students' inability to properly take tests; that is, they fail to read questions carefully before attempting them. Although, this could be due to literacy problems on the path of the student, or the student failing to interpret the questions; there are cases where students attempt questions without reading instructions. Liben, 1979 cited in Wachs and Sheehan (1998) provided support for examining tasks that children who are deaf are capable of solving, but do not solve because they may not draw on the correct strategies to solve the tasks. For the child who is deaf it is a question not of knowing which strategies to use, but of not using the appropriate strategy.

Tests are instruments or a set of systematic procedures for measuring a sample of behaviour or by imposing a set of behaviours in a uniformed manner, since testing answers the questions, 'how well the individual performs' (Epstein, Schweinhart, DeBruin-Parecki and Robin, 2004). In a study done by Hirano (2008), he found that many students used specific strategies during testing to help them to get the most appropriate answers. During multiple choice testing he found that "test takers reported matching words and phrases in the distracters or the stem with those in the passage, reading only part of the passage and then looking for a corresponding question, reading the questions before the passage, utilizing a quick, surface reading of the passage rather than a thorough reading, also stopping reading distracters when they found what they judged to be a correct answer" (Hirano, 2008 p. 237).

## What strategies are good when taking a test?

According to the book Test Taking Strategies written by McGuire and McArthur (2007), in order to gain high scores on tests there are strategies that students need to employ. According to the author the first strategy is "rest", getting sufficient sleep helps the test takers to feel relaxed as they go into an examination or test. When a student is relaxed in an examination he or she is able to put out a greater effort in attempting questions. Relaxation during testing also helps the test taker to feel more confident going into an examination.

The second strategy they have found in helping students to get the best results during testing is a strategy developed by The University of Kansas Center for Research on LearningÂ called PIRATE. "Students are encouraged to visualize a pirate who gets aboard a ship, goes for all the gold and quickly leaves. The same should be true for them when they enter a testing situation; go into the test, get all the possible points and exit." (Barrier, Schumaker, Deshler, Mercer, 1993).

## The Deaf and Testing

According to LaSasso (1997), Deaf or Hard of Hearing students use specific test- taking strategies which hearing students either do not use or use less extensively than their hearing peers. She states, when given a passage, "deaf students used certain skills they had already acquired such as visual matching, in which the students did not read the entire text to derive at an answer." The fault with this is that these students chose incorrect responses and used visual matching in an incorrect manner. For deaf students becoming test- wise can ensure that they use these skills that they have developed in the correct way to achieve high scores on tests.

Samson (1990) cited in (Watts, 1991) recommended that students be trained in test- taking skills in order to eliminate a possible handicap to low test- wise individuals. This training in test- taking skills through teaching students test- wise strategies can allow deaf students to become test savvy individuals. Testing in the life of the deaf means for them satisfaction, a sense of pride and accomplishment after having passed a test. From my own experience with a student attending a deaf high school in St. Andrew, who is currently doing CAPE, passing a test provided a feeling of pride and a motivational push for him to set his sights on The Gallaudet University in Washington. However, it is arguable that this method can help deaf students to be capable of properly taking tests.

## The need for test- wise teachers

Not only do students need to be test- wise but teachers too need to be test- wise. Teachers of these deaf students need to be cognizant of the fact that they are not teaching in a regular classroom so their students need more support when doing testing. For these students the time allotted for testing, the testing environment and the structuring of test questions are important. For teachers it is important for them to know where their students are and the projected path they are to take to get their students to a level of understanding and application of knowledge. Assessment tells the teacher when his or her objectives have been achieved and to what extent does he or she need to modify or make accommodations to his or her lesson for that child.

## The Reciprocal Teaching method

According to Carolyn and Richard Kazelskis (1987) students gain more from text when they generate their own questions as opposed to responding to teacher- produced questions. They state that having students prepare an actual test after reading can help them determine main points, relevant information and main points. For deaf students this would be of great aid to them. Getting them involved in the process of creating their own questions based on lessons allows them to think about what was taught and what information they have gathered from a lesson.

Reciprocal teaching (RT) is an instructional procedure to teach students cognitive strategies that might lead to improved reading comprehension. This is a dialogue between the teacher and the students using four research based strategies that good readers use to comprehend text, these four strategies are Predicting , Questioning , Clarifying and Summarizing. (O'Connor and Vadasy, 2011) Reciprocal teaching is a four step teaching method to increase comprehension through strategies based on scaffolded instruction, influenced by Vygotsk (1978) in which teacher and student take turns leading discussions about a section of a text. (O'Connor and Vadasy, 2011) The main focus here is on reciprocal questioning or ReQuest.

Reciprocal questioning is a variation on theÂ reciprocal teachingÂ strategy. Here, students take on the role of the teacher by formulating their own list of questions about a reading selection. The teacher then answers the students' questions. This exercise assists reading comprehension at two levels. Students deeply analyze the reading selection to extract their "teacher" questions. The teacher, in turn, reinforces learning by answering the questions and, if necessary, helping students to refine their work into more focused questions. (O'Connor, 2011)

Reciprocal questioning can be used to help students better understand what they are to do before, after and during a test. Through questioning, the teacher can encourage the students to think about the behaviours they are to portray when taking a test. Deaf learners learn through interaction, repetition and extensive questioning. If deaf learners do not learn the proper test- taking skills needed they will be at a disadvantage when it comes to transitioning into secondary and post- secondary institutions. Therefore, this method can be used to develop test taking abilities within these learners.

Different teachers may use other methods in order to achieve their goals concerning deaf student's inability to improve their test taking skills. Extensive researches have been conducted by many researchers and many strategies such as self monitoring strategies, question and answer relationship (QAR), error-avoidance and time-using strategies have been developed. Teachers who are faced with this problem may pull on some of these strategies and implement them in their practices to improve their students' test- taking skills. Up to today no one is really sure of the best method to solve this problem and so research on test- taking continues.

In a research done by Amer (2004), Test- wiseness and test- taking strategies; comparison between test-wise and test- naive students; it was observed that difference in approach between the test-wise and test-naÃ¯ve students could be explained by differences in cognitive monitoring. Test-wise students experience metacognitive success while test-naÃ¯ve students experience cognitive failure. Research on Test-wiseness indicates that test-wise students: receive more points than they would have predicted, feel more relaxed and better organized while taking tests, are able to complete tests in the allotted time, manage their test time appropriately, and seldom leave out important information from answers. Research also indicates that Test-wiseness is an important correlate of test anxiety: test-wise students tend to perceive tests as less threatening than test-naÃ¯ve students.

On the other hand, test anxiety is closely related to self- efficacy: an individual's perceptions that he can successfully perform behaviours necessary to produce a desired outcome. When compared to their hearing peers, deaf students, although seemingly relaxed in their environment lack the self- efficacy skills when they are being tested. These students tend to stop trying when they encounter difficulties as I have observed. Teaching these students correct test taking skills can allow them to reach their full potential.

In conclusion, deaf students need to be taught how to take tests as assessment is one of the key ways that teachers know the level at which these students are performing. Testing is an important aspect of a child's life as it judges where that child will be in the future. If the correct test taking skills are not taught to deaf children their performance on test will be greatly hampered. Using a reciprocal questioning approach to help students to get meaning from questions can help these students to think critically when they encounter a question. Although other methods have been tried and proven effective there is no method better than children engage the learning process themselves.

## CHAPTER 3

## Methodology

Teachers from the beginning of time have been trying to teach appropriate test taking skills to deaf students. Over the years many teachers and researchers have also faced this issue and have found various ways of correcting deaf students' inability to properly take tests. But allot of researchers have chosen to use the tactic of reciprocal questioning and so one can see based on their research that this problem can be solved and that the goal is not unattainable.

According to Kazelskis (1987), students gain more from text when they generate their own questions as opposed to answering teacher produced questions. While LaSasso (1997), states that reciprocal questioning helps students to understand how to ask questions, set a reading purpose and integrate reading information. These researchers have therefore proven the accuracy of this research. The strategy that was chosen was reciprocal questioning in order to aid the sample group in becoming test wise students. Some of the tasks that were chosen were questioning on instructions, student made questions and drawing inference from text. Based on the completion of these tasks the researcher was able to determine how effective the solution was.

## Design

The researcher used a pre- test and post test design to improve students' testing performances. This design allowed the researcher to compare the final post-test results between two variables; giving the researcher an idea of the overall effectiveness of the intervention or treatment. (C). The researcher saw how the group changed from pre-test to post-test, whether or not the group had improved over time. The control group also showed a significant improvement, for which the researcher uncovered the reasons behind this. (A and A1). The researcher compared the scores in the pre-test and post, to ensure that theÂ randomizationÂ process was effective. (B).

## Sample

The type of sampling used was random sampling. A random sample is one selected in a way that ensures that every element in the population has an equal, probability of being chosen. This Radom sampling in the classroom eliminates biases and ensures that each individual within the population has an equal opportunity to be chosen. It allows the sample to be allotted safer and ensures the rights of students are not forgotten. The sample size the researcher had chosen was a sample size of four Deaf/ Hard of Hearing students, performing at the grade three level. The sample consists of two boys and two girls (one profoundly Deaf boy and one profoundly Deaf girl and one Hard of hearing boy and one Hard of hearing girl). The average age of the sample group was nine years (9 yrs.). The samples were taken from a school for the Deaf in St. Andrew where the research was carried out. The population is hard of hearing with two severely deaf students and one vocally challenged. The students' current reading, Mathematics and English levels are at the frustration levels.

The sample group of four students are currently reading at primmer to the grade one level. Three of the students are performing at the grade one level and one student is performing at a primmer level. The student performing at the primmer level has difficulty complete work as she writes much slower than her peers. Therefore, during testing and class work the time to complete the tasks was modified to accommodate her lack of speed. The students lack vocabulary that they need to understand many of the topics they are being taught. The sample group it was seen was unable to complete the pre tests as they were uncertain of many words used in the instructions.

The students are of financially stable homes as it was reported to the researcher by the classroom teacher. Each student was always well groomed and as always well prepared for classes. One of the students however seemed to have problems at home and was sometimes angry. However, when asked during a session what he wants for his future he stated what he wanted to attend one of the top hearing high schools and become a soldier. The students are taken to school daily by persons chartered to take the students to school as drivers. These drivers stay until school is out so that students get home on time as many of the students live in the Portmore region. The students are given a balanced meal by the school every day and they also brought snacks and sandwiches for break.

## Instruments

To conduct this research the researcher used an observation questionnaire, covert observation, paper and pencil pre- test and post- test, interviews and a test wise rating scale. Random sampling was used as the main method by which participants were chosen. The researcher first administered a pre test to the students which was done to assess the students' knowledge, facts they may recall skills they may possess and also the procedures they used while taking tests. This method required students to think, read and write answers to questions that appropriately match or that they recall from a lesson. This method is generally accepted as a form of assessment. It allowed the researcher to have a sample of tests done by the students and also permit the researcher to observe what strategies these students used when taking tests. From this a sample of the group was chosen for treatment.

An interview was done with the teacher of the participants to find out her own point of view on the students' test taking skills as well as to identify methods used by the teacher in treating the same problem. The interview was conducted in the classroom while the students were on break and away from the class to allow for privacy and reliability. The researcher made note of the teacher's comments as they were geared towards each students' progress on tests. The researcher used this information to identify the sample group and to compare the researchers information to that of the teacher's to ensure accuracy and validity of the research as the teacher having firsthand knowledge of the students' abilities is a credible source of information.

A test wise rating scale consisting of thirteen (13) listed test taking behaviours, was developed by the researcher using a list of test taking techniques. This was used to track the students' skills during testing. It was therefore used as a measure of finding out how many of the skills necessary for testing were portrayed by the sample group. The rating scale is rated from one to five in order to deduce the frequency of testing taking behaviours. This observation was done covertly and was not made known to the participants. Covert observation was used due to the fact that it was often observed that students often showed behaviours that were expected of them when observation was overt. Thus causing the information gained to become unreliable and inaccurate.

During observation an observation questionnaire which consisted of two closed ended questions and eight open ended questions, was used to evaluate the students as well as the effectiveness of the reciprocal questioning method chosen. The questionnaire allowed the researcher to track the students' own responses to tests through their body language and their signings, for instance "Participant B" seemed less relaxed than "Participant A" during testing, therefore the researcher could deduce that the participant is having difficulty taking the test.

The researcher administered a post test at the end of the treatment period which was compared to the pre- test results. This was done as a channel to track the changes after treatment of the sample group, for instance where "Participant C" scored a percentage of 30% on the pre- test she now scored a percentage of 61% on the post test. Post test results were used to show if treatment was successful or if further treatment was needed.

## The Treatment

In the first week of the action research the researcher introduced herself to the students and ensured that all the desks and chairs were arranged so that each child had a clear view of the researchers' signs. The researcher then proceeded to inform the students that they would be doing a test. The tests were issued and researcher observed the students during the test to see what test taking techniques they portrayed during the pre- testing procedure. The students were given an allotted time in which to complete the tests. However, this time was modified due to some students' disabilities; some students worked at a slower pace than others. The students' behaviours and signs were noted and the sample chosen from these results as well as those results acquired from the tests.

In the second week of the research the researcher made a decision not to give students feedback about the test as the students' attitudes and signings during the pre test showed that the students were frustrate and that they thought the test was hard, the students also informed the researcher of this. Hence, the researcher decided, to interview the classroom teacher in order to get information on the sample chosen. The researcher conducted the interview in the classroom while the students were away on break.

Based on the results received from the tests the researcher introduced a new topic in Mathematics and use reciprocal questioning during discussions. The researcher used reciprocal questioning to help students better understand and interpret questions as they would come on a test paper by teaching the students how to read instructions to gain understanding. Students responded by demonstrating their knowledge of different topics in Mathematics. The students also demonstrated their understanding as they attempted to answer questions based on their prior knowledge and what was taught to them. A worksheet was issued to the students which served as a mini test to see how well students did against the rating scale once more.

The researcher gave students an in class test after teaching to see how well students had progressed since the start of the intervention. The researcher used the observation questionnaire to identify students' problems while taking tests. Based on the results the researcher noted that it would be beneficial to the students to continue with the same procedure. After testing the researcher allowed the students to read a book of their choice for the last five minutes of the class period and formulate questions based on the book that they wish to ask, thus reinforcing a habit of questioning in the students.

For the fifth phase of the intervention the researcher placed students into groups. All four participants were divided between groups. The researcher then played a game with the students called class challenge quiz. At this point the researcher issued instructions which were thoroughly explained to the students after which the game was started and more instructions issued during the game. The aim was to see how well students understood and followed instructions. Although, this was not what the researcher had planned the game made the instruction process more enjoyable for the students and easier for them to understand. The first plan was changed because the researcher saw that this would have been far too advanced for the students to carry out. Lastly, the researcher gave students a post test after teaching a lesson to see if the implementation had worked. The researcher observed the students' behaviours during the test to see if they are portraying the correct test- taking behaviours. The time allotted for the test had to be modified for those students who are slower workers.

## CHAPTER 4

## Results and Discussion of Findings

## Before Treatment

The researcher used the pre and post test methods to garner results about students' inability to take tests which therefore allowed the researcher to devise appropriate strategies to correct the students test taking problems. It was found that in the beginning of testing that all students felt the same about tests before the treatment process began. From checklists done while the students were being tested it was shown that students operated at a higher level of anxiety before and during tests. Figure 1 shows the level of anxiety shown by each student at different levels of difficulty in questioning as noted in the article Reducing test Anxiety (Borba, 2012). The students emitted strong emotional and cognitive signs of anxiety thus allowing the researcher to derive the levels of anxiety in each student. More confident students emitted less anxiety while less confident students emitted all signs of anxiety as shown in Figure 1.

Figur1. Showing the anxiety levels of students during the pre- test phase.

Borba (2012) states that if teachers are to reduce students test anxiety thus increasing test performance; students need to be test wise. She highlights several tips that help students such as, ask questions, quickly flip through, answer what you know and check answers. These are skills that students need in order to be successful on tests and these are skills which were lacking in the students in grade three in a school for the Deaf. Based on an observation rating scale done during the pre test phase the researcher found that students had little or no knowledge of the proper techniques they needed to incorporate to pass tests (See Figure 2 below).

During the pre testing phase students found it frustrating to move from question to question without completing the questions. Students did not understand the concept of doing harder questions first and returning to simpler questions instead the students' level of frustration grew as the questions got harder. Students need to learn this strategy as it is one of the major processes performed during testing.

From the pre- test phase the sample was chosen and treatment was started on the sample group to see if reciprocal questioning methods and test wise techniques will help improve students' performances on tests. Students were also able to ask more structured questions about what they read and thus were able to retain more information as they had their questions explained thoroughly. Hence, understanding increased as students were able to discover what some words usually written in instructions meant. As the treatment continued students no longer asked as many questions during the testing process.

During the pre test phase students asked questions for every question because they were unable to understand key vocabulary that they needed to know in order to complete the tests correctly. It was found that students usually stopped doing the test due to frustration because they were uncertain of a word. This the researcher found to be one of the key factors in students being unable to pass tests. Vocabulary is a much needed skills that the researcher worked on with the sample group. The researcher used the ReQuest method to help students to better understand the meaning of words. It was found that after students asked questions about a particular word and these questions were answered it was equally important to provide students with visual representations of vocabulary where possible. This helped the students to understand what certain words mean and also helped to reinforce concepts.

Figure2. Showing the results from the testing techniques observation checklist.

## During Treatment

During treatment it was found by the researcher that students were unable to clearly understand instructions due to limited knowledge of words used in instructions, poor memory for words not used in their daily language and dependency on teacher. These were some of the problems that hindered students' progress in tests. The researcher incorporated the reciprocal questioning strategy along with test wise techniques to help students develop proper test taking skills. The students were questioned on instructions and the meanings of words related to the main parts of the instructions were explained by the researcher.

It was also discerned that during classes the researcher gained the attention of treated students at least 4 out of 5 times more than the untreated group whose attention was gained 2 times out of 5 and hence showed more understanding of the topics that were taught as they were able to get the gist of what the researcher was teaching. The treated students answered more questions and also asked more questions than their untreated peers. The group asked 1% more questions than their untreated peers and thus they were able to gather more information about topics in which they were lacking understanding.

Figure3. Pie Chart showing the number of times researcher was able to gain students attention before, during and after treatment.

Hence, the researcher observed from the students' test papers the treated group scored within a 3% margin above their untreated peers or equalled the scores of the untreated group as seen in figure4. Thus, allowing the researcher to recognize the underlying cause of students' inability to take tests properly. From observations made the attention span of the entire class is 7 out of 15 times shorter than that of regular public school students. It was seen that students were easily distracted by each other and hence, the researcher had to rearrange the classroom several times over the span of one week before students were able to settle down and focus on the lessons.

It was also observed that the sample group paid more attention to instructions and interpreted instructions more accurately on the post test than on the pre test and in many cases the sample group scored equal scores as the untreated group or above the untreated group. Due to the use of test taking techniques the treated group was more comfortable during testing and showed a greater level of understanding of instructions and questions as the group asked fewer questions than their untreated peers. Hence, Instructions were followed more accurately than the untreated group.

Figure4. Showing the scores from the post test for both the treated and untreated groups.

It was duly noted that students also needed more activities and less signing in order for them to be fully engaged, as a result the researcher developed more activities for students which allowed them to become more engaged in the teaching and learning process after which the students were asked various questions about what they have learnt from the activities and the lesson. During activities students were also free to ask questions about what they learnt and the activities themselves. By allowing students to question the information they have been given increases understanding of any particular area being taught as students get more in-depth knowledge based on questions asked.

During Mathematics students responded by demonstrating their knowledge of different topics. The students also demonstrated their understanding as they attempted to answer questions based on their prior knowledge and what was taught to them. Therefore it can be seen where reciprocal questioning has aided in the treated group becoming more informed about topics that were taught to them, thus, allowing them to do well on post tests as opposed to pre tests.

During treatment the researcher was able to introduce students to new words and different meanings of topics based on the questions students asked. Therefore the students were able to incorporate their own meaning to different topics taught; sometimes correct or incorrect meanings. Hence, it was proven that reciprocal questioning helped students to become test wise as students began to pay more attention to information they did not understand entirely. It was observed that the classroom teacher incorporated test wise techniques and reciprocal questioning techniques in her lessons and so was able to get students to score high grades on tests. It was also noted that the teacher used other methods by which to help students to obtain high scores. She used a Deaf Culture Facilitator to give more meaning to texts and different areas of the lesson that the students could not understand as well as other non traditional methods such as allowing students to see concrete evidence of information where necessary.

## After Treatment

After the completion of the treatment period the control group showed a significant improvement. For instance the sample group was more likely to ask questions and respond to questions than their peers thus, allowing them to grasp more of a concept. The four participants that were chosen from the group showed significant improvements on the post tests, for instance where "Participant C" scored a percentage of 30% on the pre- test she now scored a percentage of 61% on the post test. Participant D also showed significant changes as he now moved from more difficult questions to easier more manageable questions without frustration. After completing this he was able to go back to the more challenging areas, hence, less time was wasted trying to complete one question.

After treatment it was found that Participant C who was lacking in speed was able to finish a little faster in her allotted time. It is important for her to be given more time to complete work as she is naturally slower than her peers. Therefore, it was noted that Participant C be given individual attention when lessons are being taught. The researcher gave the participant the attention needed to allow her to understand concepts where she was lacking understanding. Participant A who had a short attention span was now able to pay attention at least 5 times for every ten minute intervals. Participant B who was a very participative student was able to score high marks on the post test as opposed to his performance on the pre test. Where he got a score of 17% due to his lack of understanding of the instructions he now got a score of 83% on the post test. Therefore, it can be seen where students have benefitted from the treatment administered to their specific test taking problems.

Figure5. Showing The Pre and Post test results of treated group after reciprocal questioning/ teaching methods and test wise techniques were introduced.

## CHAPTER 5

## Conclusion:

## Did students who are Deaf benefit from reciprocal questioning/ test taking strategies in a grade three class in a school for the Deaf?

To conclude it can be seen from the results garnered that students who are Deaf have benefited from the reciprocal questioning strategies and test wise techniques. The sample used from a grade three class in a school for the Deaf in St. Andrew showed that with work and understanding students will be able to improve on tests. The reciprocal questioning approach that was used enabled students to ask questions and thus, gain more understanding from the topics they were being taught as students were able to get clarification for those aspects of a topic they did not understand. The aid of test wise techniques allowed students to develop a routine that would aid students with taking any test. Therefore, students will be able to tackle the challenges of tests that come their way by applying the strategies they have learnt to any test taking situation. Hence, all the research questions have been answered and results have proven that the research is credible. Students can now look forward to taking the much anticipated Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) as they are now knowledgeable about the strategies they can use to take tests such as these. Tests as the important aspects of a student's life help students to know where they are going in the future. For students who are Deaf it is important for them to be test wise. Therefore, the researcher can conclude that becoming test wise for students who are Deaf is of vital importance.

## Implications:

Dealing with the inability of students who are Deaf to properly take tests is a situation that will continue in many schools for the Deaf if the problem is not addressed. However in order to get the best out of our students it is imperative that teachers take into consideration the little faults that students have that hinder them from learning or performing to the best of their ability. According to Case (2005), Accommodations in assessment and instruction are especially important to students who are deaf or hard of hearing because they do not have ready access to standard English as they enter school. Hence, the lack of tests taking skills in our students is of great concern to all stake holders. We all know that this lack of test wiseness most times leads to students believing that they are not capable of doing well or that they are dunce, thus allowing them to give up on their goals. Working with the students on their test taking skills helped the researcher to better understand the students. The students would try to improve on their grades because the researcher built a relationship with the students in which the students saw that the researcher believed in their ability to do well. The students later realized that the researcher actually cares about their progress as an individual and as a result they would not want to disappoint.

Working with these students on their test taking skills was a new experience for the researcher and as a student teacher. Based on the feedback received from the students, It is believed that the intervention was a very fair attempt, thought much more could have been gained from the intervention if it was done over a longer period of time; also it would have been more effective if the families of these students were also involved in the process of treatment. Engaging the students at first was a challenged, however the researcher managed to pull through and the students were able to see the importance of being prepared for tests and through this when they scored higher than previous tests they understood that they had the ability to perform well.

This was an empowering experience for the researcher because the students responded positively by following instructions and working with the researcher to help them. I believe that this intervention was very necessary for these students at this level as they are now at a critical stage in their school lives where they will be sitting several tests to determine their future.

Effective planning was very important during this Intervention. There were many important factors that had to be considered during this intervention which includes ethical issues such as confidentiality of students test results. The researcher also had to ensure that all students were given equal attention and each participant was doing what he or she was to do. The other issue was getting the permission of the principal to work with this group of students.

Through this all I have come to appreciate the experience which I gained from this research; one particular area in which I'm sure that I have grown which is the ability to reflect on my experiences as a practitioner. Overall the students put some effort in trying to practice some of the test taking skills, and as a result they were able to score high grades on tests.

## Recommendations:

After doing this research the researcher has come to realize that without continued practice students will relapse into their previous state. The researcher therefore, recommends that students get continued reminders of what they are to do when sitting a test. The researcher would also recommend that students be allowed to ask questions about whatever topic they are doing as this will allow the students to gain more information on the topic thus allowing them to be in command of their own learning. It is said that students learn when their curiosity is peaked. Using the reciprocal questioning method in most classes along with other methods will allow students to retain what they have leant. Hence, the researcher recommends that students be given instructions in test taking at least once a week.

## APPENDIX A

## Structure Of Treatment

Test Wiseness

PRE- TEST

## Mental Connections:

---- RECIPROCAL QUESTIONING

Test students' knowledge of subjects using paper and pencil test

Observe students' test taking skills during test

RECIPROCAL QUESTIONING

## Mental Connections:

---- POST TEST

---- PRE- TEST

Implement question and answer sessions during teaching time

Allow students to formulate their own questions for the teacher and classmates

Allow students time to answer teacher made questions

Give students the opportunity to think about questions

POST TEST

## Mental Connections:

---- RECIPROCAL QUESTIONING

Give paper and pencil test to students on subject areas

Observe studdents test taking skills to see if their is any improvement

## Summary of Mental Connections in map:

## PRE- TEST -> -> RECIPROCAL QUESTIONING

## RECIPROCAL QUESTIONING -> -> POST TEST

PRETEST AND POST TEST DESIGN OF RESEARCH

## APPENDIX B

Pre and Post Test Model used in Gaining Data For Research

## APPENDIX C

Implementation Matrix showing how treatment was carried out

## Implementation matrix

## Weeks

## Teachers task

## Students task

## Evaluation

## 1

Teacher administered a pre- test to students at the beginning of the final term of school.

Students completed this test not within the allotted time. Modifications had to be made and time had to be extended to students.

Tests were marked and results noted.

## 2

Teacher decided not to give students feedback on tests as the teacher received students' feedback on the test during the testing period.

Teacher interviewed the classroom teacher for information on different students testing abilities.

Students gave the teacher feedback on the test during testing and showed how they felt about the test. Body language of the students showed frustration while doing the test.

## 3

The teacher introduced a new topic and used reciprocal questioning during discussions. Teacher used reciprocal questioning to help students better understand and interpret questions as they may come on test papers.

Students responded by demonstrating their knowledge of different topics in Mathematics.

Students attempted to answer questions based on their prior knowledge and what was taught to them. Students completed worksheets consisting of test like questions.

## 4

After teaching The teacher gave students a mini test. The teacher used observation questionnaire to identify students' problems with tests before, during and after testing.

Students read quietly for the last ten minutes of the class.

Students created their own questions about the passage read which the teacher answered.

## 5

Teacher placed students into groups. All four participants were divided between groups. The teacher then played a game with the students called class challenge quiz. Here the teacher issued instructions which were thoroughly explained to the students after which the game was started and more instructions issued during the game. The aim was to see how well students understood and followed instructions.

Students played the game class challenge quiz each student understood and followed instructions. When students did not follow instructions they lost points. Each team monitored their team members.

Students followed instructions.

## 6

Teacher gave students a post test after teaching a lesson.

Treated students completed this test within an allotted time.

Tests were marked and graded and compared to pre- test results.

## APPENDIX D

Test Wise Rating Scale used to determine how many test wise skills students portrayed during the Pre and Post Test Phase.

TEST- WISE RATING SCALE

## Grade _______

## Date __________________________

## Population ___________________

## Description of Population ________________________________________

Please rate each and every staement by putting an 'x' in the appropriate square after the statement. The square are numbered from 1-4 and represents the degree to which you have noticed the describe behaviour. The basis for making a judgement are given below:

Never

Seldom

Sometimes

Often

Always

## 1

## 2

## 3

## 4

## 5

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

Before Test

Students have all necessary equipment prepared for test

Students get into a relaxed state for test

Students wait for instructions from teacher

Students follow teacher's instructions

During Test

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

Instructions are read carefully and with understanding

Instructions written on the test papers are followed accurately

Context clues are used to aid in defining unfamiliar words

Students ask for help where they lack understanding of directions

Easy questions are answered first

Hard questions are skipped and looked at again if time allows

After Test

Students look over and make corrections

Students sit quietly and wait for papers to be collected

After papers are collected students leave the room in a quiet and orderly fashion

TEST- WISE RATING SCALE

## Grade _______

## Date __________________________

## Population ___________________

## Description of Population ________________________________________

Please rate each and every staement by putting an 'x' in the appropriate square after the statement. The square are numbered from 1-4 and represents the degree to which you have noticed the describe behaviour. The basis for making a judgement are given below:

Never

Seldom

Sometimes

Often

Always

## 1

## 2

## 3

## 4

## 5

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

Before Test

Students have all necessary equipment prepared for test

Students get into a relaxed state for test

Students wait for instructions from teacher

Students follow teacher's instructions

During Test

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

## âˆš

Instructions are read carefully and with understanding

Instructions written on the test papers are followed accurately

Context clues are used to aid in defining unfamiliar words

Students ask for help where they lack understanding of directions

Easy questions are answered first

Hard questions are skipped and looked at again if time allows

After Test

Students look over and make corrections

Students sit quietly and wait for papers to be collected

After papers are collected students leave the room in a quiet and orderly fashion

## APPENDIX E

Observation Questionnaire used to garner information about how well students are able to perform during tests based on the attitudes students portrayed towards tests.

OBSERVATION QUESTIONNAIRE

Class: ____3md______

Average Age: ___9_____

Type of Test: Mathematics

Date: April 18, 2012

Duration of Observation: 1 hour

Are students settled before testing begins?

Yes

No

Observed:

Before the students begin the tests they seem nervous and

Are test challenging or too challenging for students?

Too challenging

Challenging

Not Challenging

Observed:

## __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

How do students approach tests?

## ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Do the students take time to read and understand the instructions on the test paper?

## ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Do students try to complete all questions? If not, what is the observed cause?

## ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What is observed as the main reason for students' low passes on tests?

Understanding instructions

Vocabulary

Forgetfulness

Instructions not clearly written

Observed:

Would test wiseness help improve students' performance on tests?

Could reciprocal questioning/ reciprocal teaching be used to develop test wiseness in Deaf students?

What other methods has the teacher used in order to achieve proper test taking techniques in these students?

Would students benefit from reciprocal questioning/ reciprocal teaching?

## APPENDIX F

Interview questions posed to the teacher classroom teacher to gain information about students and methods she has used to get students to be test wise.

INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE

How often do the students take tests?

Response: _______________________________________________________________

When the students take tests do they show signs of using any test taking techniques? Which?

Response: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

How have you tried to aid the students in test taking skills?

Response: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Would test wiseness help improve students' performance on tests?

## ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

## APPENDIX G

Results of Post Test