Access to University Success for Dyslexic Students: Mobiles, Old Computers, and Free Software Ira David Socol Michigan State University College of Education
Bringing down the cost of technology supports: Increases Access Opportunities Increases Lifespan Success Increases Independence
The Environment - Students US Vocational Rehabilitation Transition from Secondary to University Specific Learning Disabilities and “Attentional Issues” Reading Levels range – Age 8 – Age 13
The Environment - Students No technology support in “K-12” (used teachers as readers and scribes) 10 of 20 had almost no interaction with “regular” course curriculum
The Environment – US Education US 2-year college first-year persistence (complete 2 semesters) rates – 65% US university first year course “drop, failure, and withdrawal” rates 22% to 45%.
One measure of the impact of the College’s first year initiatives is the first-year retention rate. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, first-year persistence at public two-year colleges averages 65% (NCES Report No. 1999087). One-year persistence rates at LaGuardia are substantially higher than the national average: over the past five years, first-year persistence has averaged 65%. Successful completion of introductory courses is critical for first-year students, but typical failure rates in these courses contribute heavily to overall institutional drop-out rates between the first and second year. Although success rates vary by institutional type and by subject matter, Research I universities commonly cite a 15 percent DFW (drops, failures and withdrawals) rate in introductory courses. Comprehensive universities have DFW rates ranging from 22 percent to 45 percent in these courses. Community colleges frequently experience DFW rates of 40 percent to 50 percent or more.
The Environment – US Education for students with identified “disabilities” these numbers are much lower
“ the retention/completion rates of individuals with disabilities in higher education continues to lag substantially behind the retention/completion rates of their non-labeled peers” University of Wisconsin 2004
Pre-Project Evaluation Tested for functional literacy both ‘ink-on-paper’ and computer reading. Comparisons with differing fonts, colors, lines and words per page. Writing and Keyboarding Skills. Notetaking Skills. Organizational Strategies.
Pre-Project Literacy Evaluation NAEP comprehension at “4 th , 8 th , 12 th Levels Given both ‘ink-on-paper’ and in Microsoft Reader. Reading “environment” evaluations – fonts, colors, size, spacing. Evaluation of Alphabetic and Sight-Word Recognition Skills. Evaluation of new vocabulary acquisition: what strategies used – efficiency – effect on sentence comprehension. (National Assessment of Educational Progress, US Department of Education - http://nationsreportcard.gov/reading_2007/r0020.asp )
Students 12 Community College (2-year) 8 University (4-year)
Software installed on rebuilt used WindowsXP computers included free text-to-speech systems (WordTalk, NaturalReader), free web-based support structures such as Google Docs, Calendar, and Notebook, and Click-Speak in the Firefox Browser, as well as mobile-based speech-to-text systems.
Other tools included the Text-To-Speech Jott and Dial2Do systems, as well as ScanR text conversion to digital text.
Training was one-on-one, multiple session, with extensive use of text interaction (Students put notes in text after every paragraph, sometimes every sentence), in order to judge comprehension improvements.
Calendars and organizations tools were practiced, as were conversion systems.
Persistence After one year follow-ups 18 of 20 were continuing education: 90% 11of 12 Community College (2-year) 7 of 8 University (4-year)
113 courses begun by 20 students 96 completed (85%) 85 passed (75%) “drop, failure, and withdrawal” rate 25%.
Community College 68 courses begun by 12 students 57 completed (84%) 53 passed (78%) “drop, failure, and withdrawal” rate 22%. University 45 courses begun by 8 students 39 completed (87%) 32 passed (71%) “drop, failure, and withdrawal” rate 29%.
Inexpensive technologies moved a group of post-secondary students with low success expectations into the upper-end of the statistical model. These students showed better than US national average persistence and better than US national average success in courses, despite “disability” issues.