Online mathematics assessment (OMA) could help improve the mathematics performance of deaf and hard-of-hearing learners in South Africa.
This is one of the key findings of a new study at Stellenbosch University (SU).
"OMAs can help deaf and hard-of-hearing learners to understand difficult mathematical concepts and provide them with equal opportunities to do well in formal mathematics assessments," says Dr Nolan Damon who is a mathematics teacher and ?blended-learning designer and trainer from Worcester. He recently obtained his doctorate in Curriculum Studies at Stellenbosch University.
Damon investigated the use of OMAs as an alternative form of assessment to current pencil and paper-based mathematics assessments which do not provide deaf and hard-of-hearing learners with a fair chance to showcase what they have learnt.
"Deaf and hard-of-hearing learners perform poorly in mathematics pencil and paper assessments because they struggle to read and understand written texts and to interpret mathematics questions posed in Afrikaans or English since neither Afrikaans nor English is their home language," says Damon.
He adds that since these learners communicate through Sign Language, they struggle partly because of the difference between the structure and grammar of Afrikaans/English and Sign Language, the absence of a mathematics vocabulary in Sign Language, and their limited language skills.