COGNITIVE FOUNDATIONS OF MATHEMATICS LEARNING IN DEAF STUDENTS: A SYSTEMATIC LITERATURE REVIEW
CICANT - Lusofona University (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:Research on deaf and hearing children’s academic achievement demonstrates that deaf children whose level of hearing loss is greater than moderate show a delay in mathematics achievement comparing with hearing students (e.g. Gottardis, Nunes, & Lunt, 2011). Studies from cognitive science and educational research have been focused on language (e.g. phonological skills) to find answers regarding deaf student’ academic underachievement to find new ways of giving deaf students access to mathematics but it is not productive enough (Marschark et al., 2011). For instance, deaf students with cochlear implants still lag behind hearing students even when having more access to language. Using a systematic literature review on the last two decades, this study aims to synthesize the information about the cognitive foundations of mathematics learning of deaf students. More specifically, what are the cognitive abilities differences between deaf and hearing learners (and among deaf learners), and what are the predictors of mathematics achievement on deaf students. With a systematic review of the literature using EBSCO database with the descriptors “deaf”, “cognitive”, “achievement” and “mathematics”, we were able to identify 51 relevant publications. The domain-general cognitive abilities likely to influence learning outcomes for deaf students are related not only with language. Domain-general cognitive abilities such as memory (sequential memory, visual-spatial memory, working or short-term memory, and semantic or long-term memory), visual information processing and executive functioning (mainly, inhibition control) are considered the cognitive foundations of mathematics learning. Preliminary results show that working memory, short-term memory, and executive functioning were significantly lower on deaf students comparing with hearing students. Although some studies indicate poorer visual-spatial memory between the two groups, further studies found no significant differences between deaf and hearing students. These inconsistent findings indicate that deaf students may perform as well or better than hearing students on a variety of visual-spatial tasks. This literature review analysis also indicate that deaf students performed less on verbal and nonverbal memory tasks comparing with hearing students, especially when the information is presented sequentially. Other studies focus on numerical cognition show that the delay in mathematics does not appear when non-symbolic number representations tasks are used. On the contrary, non-symbolic number representations are stronger in deaf students than hearing students. Concerning symbolic number representations tasks, studies indicate that deaf children have lower performance in abstract counting and symbolic addition and subtraction problems tasks. The association between these cognitive foundations of mathematics learning on deaf students will be discussed with further detail. This study is included on a research project which explores the impact of an educational/serious videogame on deaf children´ mathematics learning.
Keywords: Deaf students, mathematics achievement, learning, cognitive factors, comparisons with hearing children.