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Education Research International
Volume 2018, Article ID 2139626, 10 pages
Research Article

The Assessment of Written Phrasal Constructs and Grammar of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students with Varying Expressive Language Abilities

1Communication Disorders, University of Arkansas, 606 N. Razorback Road, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA
2Department of Curriculum & Instruction, University of Connecticut, 249 Glenbrook Road, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
3Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, University of Tennessee, 1122 Volunteer Blvd., BEC A214, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
4Washington School for the Deaf, 611 Grand Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98661, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Lisa M. Bowers; ude.krau@srewobml

Received 21 October 2017; Accepted 10 January 2018; Published 13 March 2018

Academic Editor: Darcy Miller

Copyright © 2018 Lisa M. Bowers et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purpose of this study was to examine the written phrasal constructs and grammar usage of deaf and hard of hearing students with varying expressive language skills. Twenty-nine d/hh middle school students attending a residential school for the deaf were divided into three language groups: students using spoken English, ASL/English bilinguals, and language delayed learners. Personal narrative writing samples were collected at the beginning, middle, and end of the academic year. The samples were divided into T-units and coded for language variables, including word efficiency ratio (WER) scores according to the Structural Analysis of Written Language (SAWL) and phrasal errors. The repeated measures ANOVA for WER III showed a statistically significant main effect with no between-subjects factor, demonstrating that students from all three language groups made positive gains in their written outcomes over one academic year. There was a reduction in phrasal errors over the course of the year for all language groups. Differences in word efficiency ratio scores by language groups are discussed. Findings from this study suggest that SAWL is an effective tool in assessing the grammaticality of written compositions for d/hh students with varying language abilities over time. Instructional implications are discussed.