How Ready are Postsecondary Institutions for Students who are d/Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing?

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Educational policy in the United States is increasingly focused on the need for individuals to be academically ready for postsecondary education experiences. The focus of these initiatives, however, centers primarily on individuals and their competencies and characteristics, and not on the capacities of postsecondary institutions to serve them. This article uses the lens of students who are d/Deaf or hard-of-hearing (DHH) to explore ways in which college readiness can be conceptualized as overlapping continuums of preparedness for both individuals and institutions. The article first summarizes research on students who are DHH and their readiness across core domains of academic preparation, language and communication, and soft skills. The article then discusses considerations at the institutional level such as accommodations, direct vs. mediated communication, student disclosure rates, and their level of accessibility for students who have a different academic, linguistic, and cultural experience than most institutional infrastructure is designed to serve. We conclude with considerations for future investigation and an expansion of the dialog around readiness and postsecondary education. 


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How to Cite
Cawthon, S. W., Schoffstalll, S. J., & Garberoglio, C. L. (2014). How Ready are Postsecondary Institutions for Students who are d/Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing?. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 22, 13.
Author Biographies

Stephanie Washbourn Cawthon, The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Stephanie Cawthon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin. Cawthon a national expert on issues related to standardized assessment and students who are deaf or hard of hearing, particularly in the context of accountability reforms such as No Child Left Behind. Her research explores issues related to accessible assessments such as the effects of accommodations or item modifications on test scores for students with disabilities and English Language Learners. She is currently the Associate Director for Research and Evidence Synthesis for Pepnet2, a federally funded project to improve system capacity to support transition to postsecondary settings for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Sarah Joanna Schoffstalll, The University of Texas at Austin

Sarah Schoffstall is a doctoral student at The University of Texas at Austin in the School Psychology program and a Graduate Research Assistant for pepnet2. Her research looks at social and emotional functioning of students who are deaf or hard of hearing in both school and clinical settings. 

Carrie Lou Garberoglio, The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Carrie Lou Garberoglio is a postdoctoral fellow at The University of Texas at Austin and a Research Associate for pepnet2. She graduated with a PhD from the Department of Educational Psychology, with a focus on the Learning Sciences. Her research examines deaf individuals’ psychological processes in a variety of contexts: teaching, language learning, computer-mediated communication (CMC), and transition from secondary to postsecondary settings.

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