Benefits of sign language interpreting and text alternatives for deaf students' classroom learning

Marc Marschark*, Greg Leigh, Patricia Sapere, Denis Burnham, Carol Convertino, Michael Stinson, Harry Knoors, Mathijs P J Vervloed, William Noble

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Four experiments examined the utility of real-time text in supporting deaf students' learning from lectures in postsecondary (Experiments 1 and 2) and secondary classrooms (Experiments 3 and 4). Experiment 1 compared the effects on learning of sign language interpreting, real-time text (C-Print), and both. Real-time text alone led to significantly higher performance by deaf students than the other two conditions, but performance by deaf students in all conditions was significantly below that of hearing peers who saw lectures without any support services. Experiment 2 compared interpreting and two forms of real-time text, C-Print and Communication Access Real-Time Translation, at immediate testing and after a 1-week delay (with study notes). No significant differences among support services were obtained at either testing. Experiment 3 also failed to reveal significant effects at immediate or delayed testing in a comparison of real-time text, direct (signed) instruction, and both. Experiment 4 found no significant differences between interpreting and interpreting plus real-time text on the learning of either new words or the content of television programs. Alternative accounts of the observed pattern of results are considered, but it is concluded that neither sign language interpreting nor real-time text have any inherent, generalized advantage over the other in supporting deaf students in secondary or postsecondary settings. Providing deaf students with both services simultaneously does not appear to provide any generalized benefit, at least for the kinds of materials utilized here.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-437
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006
Externally publishedYes


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