Deaf and Hard of Hearing College Students’ Cognitive Strategies for Equal Sharing Problems

ID: 4083
School: School of Language, Education, and Culture
Program: Education
Status: Completed
Start date: August 2020
End Date: August 2021


Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) students’ performance on fraction story problems is a cause for concern given that knowledge of fractions in the elementary grades is essential for learning Algebra in secondary school and advanced mathematics in college. Using grounded theory, the current study investigated DHH college students’ cognitive strategies for solving equal sharing story problems presented to them in two distinct conditions: Interpreted and Co-constructed. Students watched the American Sign Language (ASL) renditions in pre-recorded videos of the English version of the equal sharing story problems in the interpreted condition. In the co-constructed tasks, the researcher and each participant co-constructed equal sharing story problems. Thirteen DHH college students who were at least 18 years old participated in the study. Data were collected through Think Aloud Protocol and interviews in which students explained their strategies for solving six interpreted and four co-constructed equal sharing mathematical tasks. Data were analyzed through coding and constant comparison analyses. Findings of the study indicated DHH college students used a broad range of cognitive strategies similar to the existing framework on students’ cognitive strategies for equal sharing. In particular, the study yielded four broad themes (a) No-Link to Context (NLC) defined as students who used the wrong values or operations or who saw the problem as unsolvable; (b) Non-Anticipatory Coordination (NAC), defined as students who failed to pre-coordinate the number of individuals with the number of items being shared from the onset of the sharing activity; (c) Emergent Anticipatory Coordination (EAC) defined as students who pre-coordinated the number of shares with the number of items being shared right from the onset of the sharing activity, but they shared one item or group of items at a time; and (d) Anticipatory Coordination (AC) defined as students who used the long division operation or multiplicative a/b operation. In addition to these four broad cognitive strategies, this study identified emerging strategies such as executive function skills, fraction conversion, and efficacy of the two conditions based on students’ comments. Implications for practice and recommendations for research are discussed.

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