Date Approved

2012

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Special Education

First Advisor

Alicia Li

Second Advisor

Dr. Carole Gorenflo

Abstract

"Achievement in mathematics among blind and severely visually impaired persons is, and always has been, extraordinarily low" compared to students with sight (Kapperman & Sticken, 2004, p. 1). In fact, according to Kapperman and Sticken, many people who are blind are unable to perform mathematical operations in "real-life" situations, such as calculating change or doubling a recipe. There are many reasons this is so, including the visual nature of math, delayed development of concepts needed to understand math, and lack of necessary knowledge among teachers of students with visual impairments. In this research, the researcher aimed, first, to show that practice will increase math learning in students with visual impairments, and second, to find out whether different practice approaches result in different outcomes. Participants in Part I of this study were six students with visual impairments in the sixth and seventh grades, all of whom where behind their sighted classmates in math. Participants in Part 2 of this study were five students with visual impairments in the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades, all of whom were behind their sighted classmates in math. To test these hypotheses, the researcher met with each student for 30 minutes daily to practice math skills, randomly assigning students to rote practice, multisensory practice, or a combination of the two in Part I, and with the students in Part 2 as a group, for 15 to 45 minutes daily for math skill instruction and rehearsal, and recording observational data to gauge the students' attitudes toward math. Findings indicated that all of these students benefited from extra practice both in math performance and in attitude toward mathematics.

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