LCAI: Exploring the potential of an independently usable, internet-based multimedia software system for self-Paced assessment, instruction and practice in listening comprehension skills for non readers
Department of Education
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Small Business Information
AbleLink Technologies, Inc.
528 N. Tejon St., Suite 100, Colorado Springs, CO, 80903
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThe most recent data available from the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) indicates that 4-6% of adults in the United States have insufficient reading skills to even attempt participation in the NAAL’s literacy assessment in 1992 (Literacy in the Labor Force, p. 310- 320). While there are approximately 8 million individuals with intellectual disabilities (e.g., mental retardation) in the United States, there is no data specific to the subset of this population whose cognitive limitations prohibit the acquisition of functional reading skills. For these students and adults, the lack of reading skills in our largely text-based society puts substantial emphasis on development of listening comprehension skills as primary to independent functioning in community environments such as schools and work settings. Research and development of assessment and instructional tools in this area have been targeted at populations such as English as a second language (ESL) learners or individuals with learning disabilities, all predicated on the assumption of the inherent ability to eventually acquire functional reading skills. However, as school children with significant intellectual disabilities proceed through elementary grades, it becomes increasingly apparent for many of these individuals that functional literacy is not an attainable goal. This gap, combined with recent initiatives such as the No Child Left Behind Act, demonstrates a significant need for research that focuses on evaluating and improving listening comprehension skills within this underserved population. Current tools and methods of assessing and instructing listening comprehension skills generally involve a facilitated process such as requiring an evaluator to read passages, ask questions and record responses. Predominant response methods may include multiple choice, auditory response, or gesturing (e.g., pointing at a designated picture), while response content can proceed from simple fact recall to the ability to make logical inferences from passages. However, this method involves the high cost associated with one-to-one facilitator/learner ratios, which may be in part attributable to the lack of attention toward this problem. To address these issues, this project proposes development and evaluation of an internet-based multimedia Listening Comprehension Assessment and Instruction (LCAI) system that is independently usable by individuals whose intellectual or other cognitive disabilities have prohibited the acquisition of functional reading skills. The project will build upon proven multimedia and error minimization software development techniques and will involve three specific tasks, including 1) system requirements development, 2) prototype design and software development, and 3) a pilot study to assess the efficacy of the approach. The long term goal will be to develop and test a comprehensive system that provides age-appropriate, independently usable multimedia software modules that enable self-paced listening comprehension instruction and progress assessment for students and adults whose cognitive limitations prohibit the acquisition of functional literacy skills.
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